Tuesday, September 24, 2002

More news from Boston:

Towards the end of the life of Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, he was lauded and celebrated so much that people had to pause every once in a while to consider how the reporters of his day could possibly have written all those nasty things about him --- as they did, in abundance.

Manny Ramirez is rapidly shaping up as the Ted Williams of his generation. Not as the best pure hitter ever (though he's among the best of his generation). But in so many other ways.

Like Williams, he plays left field, but he's an indifferent fielder at best --- by which I mean not so much that his skills are mediocre (though they are), as that he just doesn't seem to care. (Williams was notorious for rehearsing his swing in the field between pitches). That's compounded by what's perceived as disrespectful gestures towards the fans --- Williams famously refusing to tip his cap, Ramirez sending a song with drug references to be played as intro music on the stadium PA.

It's a comparison which could be stretched too far. The personalities, at least in public, are completely different --- Williams, intense, driven, and abrasive; Ramirez, who is infamous among reporters for dismissing just about any question with a shrug and a cheerful "don't matter". (Though some of that could be an act; Ramirez, like Williams, is reported to prepare intensely for his at bats, putting in hours of work studying film and working on his swing in the batting cage).

And, oh yes, the press hates his guts, and isn't shy about showing it.


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