Friday, February 23, 2007

Sox spring in full swing: plenty of insanity at 11:00

Schill may never wear the Red Sox again after this season, and an absent Manny wants to attend a car auction-in New Jersey.

A week into spring training and the never-ending circus that is the Boston Red Sox is already in awe-inspiring, Big Top form.

America's favorite (or most despised, depending where you're from) hardball soap opera added a few new chapters Friday down in sunny Fort Myers with no fewer than two major stories unfolding on an otherwise tranquil late February afternoon:

-Curt Schilling demanded, and was refused, a contract extension for 2008

-Manny Ramirez, who is not scheduled to report until March 1st, will not make a previously scheduled appearance Saturday at car auction in New Jersey.

As Dan Shaughnessy so aptly stated in his scathing Schilling article today, "covering this team is like doing layup drills on an 8-foot rim."

First the deal with Schill. After dropping hints for the better part of a year that 2007 would most likely be his swan song, what does the man who never met a microphone he didn't like do promptly upon arriving at camp? Announced to the world (and his bosses) via his radio program that he did in fact intend to suit up next season and he was going to need a new contract in order to do so, pronto.

To which Red Sox brass replied "huh, what? You're doing what and you need what?"

Theo the Gorilla had this to say about Schilling's demand: "Curt's going to be 41 and at that age we get a little more conservative. There's a bit of a sliding scale based on age," Epstein said. "The deeper you go into your career, I think the more hesitant the club might be to guarantee salaries years in advance."

Translated: "Although Curt nearly gave his right foot for this club, at his age we cannot advocate giving him a truckload of money due to the fact that said surgically-repaired foot may eventually detach from his leg, prohibiting any chance of a decent R.O.I. from any future deal."

Look, I'm not saying Congressman Curt should have taken his contract situation to the pulpy pulpit of sports talk radio, but I do know that as much as this guy has done for this club (namely back up his guarantee to bring a title to Boston) he deserves any final contract he wants, decreasing contributions and declining health be damned. Much like Patriot legend Adam Vinateri should never have been allowed to leave New England, Schilling should end his career in Boston.

As for the latest in the ongoing Univison variety show known as MannyBeingManny, the delinquent Dominican is still "helping his mother recover from her recent surgery" and unable to make it to FM until next week. Yet he was scheduled to appear at a car auction in New Jersey that is featuring a car of his that was customised for him by famous car crafter Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy.

Word quickly spread that ManRam was definitely set to appear at the show, along with other celebs like Reggie Jackson, Saturday at noon in Atlantic City; needless to say coming on the heels of the whole "Manny quit on the team" fiasco of last September" the "I'm unable to make it to camp yet I can travel to Jersey to make some extra bank off an appearance fee and a car sale" story went over like a lead balloon in the organization.

So Manny finally begged out of the appearance, yet still stands to make a tidy profit off the sale of the car. Which brings this story to a humorous conclusion. In researching the importance of this car to Manny I came across this Globe article from August 2004. It is meant to show that despite the chaotic life Manny leads, he still made time to travel to rural Illinois to pick out the color for the soon-to-be-painted '67 Lincoln Continental convertible he planned on giving to his father as a birthday present.

Obviously confident with the importance of the car to Ramirez as well as his creations' important place in the grand scheme of things, Trepanier offers up this little nugget regarding Ramirez and the metal masterpiece he was creating for him:

"This is a car you're going to keep for the rest of your life. You're not going to sell it. It is a big project. It is a car you're going to rebuild, new engine, new interior, brakes, suspension. You've got to be patient. I think he's going to love it."

Rad Troy was completely oblivious that he was in Manny Land.

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