|Gammons Talks Manny, A-Rod on The Big Show||10.21.09 at 6:09 pm ET|
ESPN Senior Writer Peter Gammons checked in with The Big Show on Wednesday to take stock of the postseason. Gammons discussed the blown calls during the playoffs this year, the breakout Octobers by CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez, and the latest installments of drama surrounding Manny Ramirez.
Gammons suggested that the Dodgers were probably unconcerned about the fact that Ramirez was showering in the ninth inning while his team was suffering its walk-off loss to the Phillies, but he did suggest that other incidents — including a failure to hustle after a Shane Victorino triple in the sixth inning of L.A.’s 5-4 loss on Monday — were of greater concern.
“I don’t think [showering during the ninth inning] plays badly in the clubhouse. Some of the younger players have been laughing with me for a year about, ‘Manny’s a leader.’ Please. Manny is Manny. He wasn’t a leader. Casey Blake is the guy Matt Kemp and all of them follow everywhere. I don’t think it bothers them,” said Gammons. “I remember in 1986. When the ball went through Bill Buckner’s legs, Keith Hernandez was sitting in front of his locker in his underwear drinking a beer.
“I don’t think it bothers them that much. Manny kind of goes his own way. It bothered me more on the ball that Victorino hit down the line that Manny kind of sauntered over and lobbed the ball in. To me it was a little bit of lack of respect for the situation, not unlike the whole business of not running a ball out when John Lackey had a no-hitter in Fenway Park.
“What’s interesting is there’s no doubt in my mind, considering all that will be hitting the gossip pages of L.A. over the next few months in the McCourt divorce, there’s no doubt in my mind that if there weren’t a player option, there’s no way the Dodgers would pick up the option of Manny Ramirez. They would say, ‘Good bye, good riddance.”
Gammons, who also conducted the ESPN interview in which Alex Rodriguez admitted in February that he used steroids, suggested that Rodriguez’ dominant postseason (in which he is hitting .407 with a 1.469 OPS, 5 HRs and 11 RBIs in 7 games) is the byproduct of a great player who is suddenly unburdened of the weight of “the need to pretend that he was perfect.”
“Alex said to me several times during the year that once he was basically stripped naked in that interview, sweating and hyperventilating and all the rest and had to admit that he wasn’t perfect, he went back to being a normal human being. That need to pretend that he was perfect I think drove him half-crazy,” said Rodriguez. “Now he’s just another guy. Plus, I remember him saying this to me in April, he said, “You know what? The steroids or whatever, if the Yankees win, it will all be forgiven. It’s not about me, it’s about the Yankees.’ It’s a lot easier to go play when you’re thinking about the team and not yourself. I think he stopped thinking that everyone in the world was watching him, and I think it’s helped a lot. It’s been a remarkable transformation. It really has.”
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