While the Yankees and Red Sox play Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots at Fenway, newly minted Hall of Famer and born-again bigmouth Jim Rice has been in Williamsport at the Little League World Series.
As Saturday’s Boston Globe reported, Rice delivered a pre-game pep talk to the local LLWS entry, the (pride of) Peabody Western All-Stars. (Given that they promptly went out and lost 14-1, Jim Ed might consider lowering his fee for motivational speaking gigs.)
As part of his effort to rev up the Little Leaguers, Rice decided to run down some major leaguers, most notably the execrable Manny Ramirez.
Red Sox Hall of Famer Jim Rice swung away yesterday in criticism of the approach current major leaguers have to baseball, telling youngsters at the Little League World Series that players such as Manny Ramirez set a “bad example.’’
“We didn’t [have] the baggy uniforms; we didn’t have the dreadlocks; that’s not part of the game,’’ Rice said after mentioning Ramirez, who played nearly eight seasons for the Red Sox and is known for his large uniform and hair style. “It was a clean game, and now they are setting a bad example for the young guys.’’
Of course, Rice didn’t leave it at that; he had to take a shot at the Yankees to even the score.
At the same time, Rice mentioned New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter as he described a baseball culture dominated by huge contracts and the acquisition of wealth, with players more interested in Rolex watches than the game.
“What you see right now is more individuals; it’s not a team,’’ said Rice, a newly minted Hall of Famer who played for the Red Sox from 1974 to 1989. “Now you have guys coming in. They pick the days they want to play. They make big money. The first thing they see are dollar bills.’’
I’ll stipulate to any criticism of Rodriguez. Mr. September is all about himself, and I’ve long said the Yankees will never win anything while he’s on the team. He’s bad luck.
But the shot at Jeter was totally unwarranted. Sure, Jeter makes good money, but even Red Sox fans (at least the sentient among them) concede that Jeter is a class act who comes to play every day.
(Just recall Jeter’s heedless-dive-into-the-stands-to-catch-a-foul-pop in July of 2004 vs. NoMas Garciaparra’s no-show in the same Sox-Yankees series.)
Rice needs to talk less and think more, methinks.