600 more words about Manny

Here are a couple of quotes from two people who were both at the game last night and who both work for the same newspaper:

Nick Cafardo:

When he sauntered to the on-deck circle in the first inning, Ramirez was booed pretty loudly. When the second inning rolled around and he made his way to the plate as the leadoff hitter, there was a mixed ovation.

Amalie Benjamin:

He made his way to home plate, the ballpark roiled with sound, a nearly equal amount of cheers and boos greeting him in his return to his former home.

I wasn’t at the game. Hell, I didn’t start watching the game until it was halfway over (thank you dvr!). What I heard and saw via NESN was an almost exact amount of cheering and booing with a few people not doing either. NESN doesn’t always pick up all the noise at Fenway so I was hoping for the writers to give us a good account of what happened. I know that, when you’re sitting at Fenway, the noise is different for everyone. There have been nights there where I’ve heard booing and people I know who were in different parts of the park didn’t hear anything or where I was embarrassed by booing and when discussing it with friends was told they couldn’t hear it on NESN. So it IS difficult to gauge the noise in Fenway sometimes. But two people presumably sitting side by side giving slightly different accounts of what happened last night leads me to believe some folks will just write what they want, reality be damned.

We went into this knowing that the fans had mixed feelings about Manny coming back and I think the crowd reflected that well.  (I welcome folks who were actually there and don’t need to change the truth to fit their narrative to let me know if I’m wrong.  I trust the fans much more than the writers when it comes to this subject.)  I realized last night that the fans needed to do what they needed to do.  I’m not embarrassed by those fans who booed because Manny got his cheers by the boatful while he was in Boston.   While I’ve already written how I feel it’s a mistake to judge Manny’s time with the Red Sox solely based on what happened in 2008, I also think it’s acceptable to remember that Manny wasn’t exactly forced out of this town.  A good friend who is much less judgmental of things like this than I said to me the other day “I don’t hate Manny and I’d probably never boo him but cheering him feels like rewarding him for bad behavior”.  That’s not so crazy to me because, regardless of the 2004 and 2007 Championships, much of his behavior in 2008 was “bad”.  Fine for the players to forgive and forget (after all, they got Jason Bay in their clubhouse in the exchange and things worked out pretty well with him around) but I can’t fault the fans who felt like this was their one true chance to make their own voices heard without them being filtered by the media.

Today’s and tomorrow’s games are both nationally televised.  The Fox team has a history of giving Manny a hard time and the ESPN team has always been more understanding of “Manny being Manny”.  It will be interesting to hear how each broadcasting team reacts to Manny and to the reactions of the fans.

And now, unless he punches someone on the field or does something truly noteworthy this weekend, I’m pretty sure I’m done writing about Manny for a while.

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