Friday, July 18, 2003

Baseball News

The Boston Sports Media, as chronicled on the Boston Sports Media Watch by Bruce Allen, has been up in arms over the Manny and Pedro break from the team. Having seen Pete Rose on Mock Trial on ESPN last night (with appearences by two of my least favorite Boston Sports Media members Dan Shaugnessy of the Boston Globe and Eddie Andleman of 1510 WWZN), I started thinking that we should bring the jury back in, recall Alan Dershowitz and Johnnie Cochrane, and put Pedro and Manny on a more official mock trial than what has been going on in the papers and on the radio recently. We could even recall some of the same witnesses, both Bill James and Bill "Spaceman" Lee showed up on the stand last night.

In a quick aside, Bill James could not have come across worse after being torn apart by Alan Dershowitz regarding the Dowd Report. While Bill "Spaceman" Lee may have been the most entertaining part of the event as well as the key witness for the victorious defense of Pete Rose by Cochrane. Lee was witty, self promoting, and as eccentric as ever while coming across charming and informed. If an ESPN contract isn't in negotiations to be a cross between Steve Lyons and Kenny Mayne for Baseball Tonight features, I would be very suprised. Can we get Bill Simmons working on this for ESPN6?

But I digress; back to the point at hand and the trial of Manny and Pedro, not in the court of Massorotti and Shaughnessy, but in the court of public appeal.

I could see the opening statements now:

Alan Dershowitz,Prosecuting Attourney: Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, honorable Judge Henry (someone had to preside), the defense will attempt to prove that we live a striated society where those that have are afforded things that those who have not can not possibly concieve. They will talk to you about late flights, sick relatives, and injured hamstrings. They will tell you that the actions of the defendants will destroy team chemistry and plunge the Red Sox into the swoon that everyone expects they will. But I urge you to overreact to minute details. I urge you to hang these players who have received preferential treatment above and beyond the treatment that the average millionaire baseball player recieves. Most of all, I urge you to talk about this subject, regardless of the outcome of this trial, for the remainder of the season.

Johnnie Cochrane, Defense Attourney: Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, honorable Judge Henry, I will tell you the tale of a son, worried about his aging mothers health while nursing an injury that prevented his play regardless. I will tell you the tale of a pitcher from another land that went to his home country to visit his family and the delayed flight that caused a late return. I will show you the documentation that each player had permission from the organization to go on these trips, leaving the team to fend for themselves against the vaunted Detriot Tigers. By the end of this trial, you will see that not only did their break not impact the team's past, present, or future performance in any way, but that it has been commonplace throughtout time for people to leave the team a day early around the all-star break when not participating in that game. In fact, I will go out on a limb and leave you with the thought that it is in fact the Boston Sports Media and thier response to these events that has had more of a negative impact on the organization that the perpetrators of these "crimes" in the first place.

I can imagine the parade of Boston Sports Media that would be trotted out by prosecutor Alan Dershowitz to answer the question, "Did the break by Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez have a negative impact the Boston Red Sox?"

Dan Shaughnessy: This is so cool. "Pedro is enjoying his seven days off before the break. Good for him. Bad for Sox fans.

He should have pitched last night. A true stopper would have pitched on regular (four days') rest, the first game after the break -- that's the way it's been done for the last half century -- but that's too much to ask of the fragile one. Pedro has become like the classic auto that stays in the garage because it's just too good to drive.

Free of job obligations, Martinez went home to the Dominican Republic for the All-Star break. Naturally, he cut it close on both ends. With permission, he bailed on Saturday after his grueling 105-pitch stint against the Tigers. With permission, he left the team before it lost to the Tigers Sunday afternoon, and he was still gone when the Sox came out to practice for last night's game."

Steven Krasner: "It was Red Sox lite without Pedro (and) Manny. The Red Sox had only 23 of their 25 players on hand for yesterday's first-half finale against the Tigers."

Gordon Edes: "Had he remained in town, he would have been available to pinch hit in a game the Sox lost to the Tigers, 3-0, while the Yankees were winning, allowing New York to open a two-game lead going into the All-Star break."

Bruce Allen: "Bob Neumeier was at his pompous worst yesterday in declaring Manny's absence responsible for everything except causing world hunger. (I believe Neumy is working on that connection for today's show.)"

Johnnie Cochrane, sick of the Boston Media being brought out one at a time, concedes to Judge Henry that numerous talk radio people and newspaper columnists have negative things to say about his clients. But that they have a conflict of interests, as they are paid to create contraversy and bring readers/listeners in for thier employers. The real people to ask about this situation and its impacts are the players. Johnnie begins to call Red Sox players to the stand.

Johnny Damon: "Any time Manny's not in the lineup we miss him, but we want him to get rested and ready to play on Thursday. If you miss Manny for a game, it's OK. We have a good enough team to go out there and win without Manny."

Kevin Millar: "Let me tell you something about Manny. He's the greatest teammate I've ever had. He's the greatest hitter I've ever seen. There are a lot of people out there who say they care about other guys, but they really only care about themselves. This guy cares, trust me. He's the real thing."

Ramirez Associate: "Manny was real worried, but it turns out she had heat exhaustion. She's OK, which is good news, of course. But it turned out to be a false alarm."

And finally, Cochrane calls defendant Pedro Martniez to the stand.

Pedro Martinez: "What controversy? Everything I did I talked with Grady [about]. I did whatever I had to do. I had my permission. I had my time to leave. I had everything and I was there. I left on Sunday. I did whatever Grady and [assistant trainer] Chris [Correnti] and [interim pitching coach] Dave Wallace suggested to me to do. We talked. I left when I left because they told me to. I'm not the one with the problems. My teammates, they all know what I did."

Judge Henry: I have heard enough! As Principal Owner of the Boston Red Sox, I have the final say in this matter. "Any time we can get them an extra offday that does not adversely affect the team's chances to win, well, we absolutely have to do that. I applaud Grady for being sensitive to that." Case Closed! The defendants are not guilty....everyone please move on!