Manny Ramirez: I may hate you sometimes, but I’ll always love you

I enjoy a good conversation or debate as much asanyone–okay, perhaps a little more.  I might even have a bit of a rep for
not letting up until I’ve won, although with age the virtue of diplomatically
agreeing to disagree has become more of a goal.  But there are a few
subjects I find I can’t discuss rationally with folks who disagree with me, to
the point that I just won’t debate them at all.  The legitimacy of sharing
copyrighted music on the Internet, for one.  The Mooninite scare in Boston, for
another.  And… Manny.

I can’t stand the media frenzy over when Manny will show up to camp.  I
can’t stand the knee-jerk reaction of fans to defend him, saying that as long
as he plays during the season it doesn’t mean anything if he breaks all the
rules.  And I can’t stand that a man possessing both phenomenal baseball
skills and one of the most lucrative contracts in MLB cannot take the rules seriously
enough to avoid setting in motion this whole yearly charade.

I am fond of rules.  I admit this.  I enjoy precision in language,
from composition to rules of grammar and punctuation.  (A former colleague
once wrote me from her new job despairing that she no longer had anyone with
whom to debate comma usage!) And so I
will admit that it gets my back up when someone stakes a claim to be treated
specially. Manny is already treated
specially. With his contract.

I am well aware of what Manny brings to the Boston Red Sox,
both in the power that shows up in the stats and in the entertainment factor
that makes so many fans want to sit in left field. I don’t have an issue with time he has needed
for injuries, and I particularly think he was unfairly vilified for his knee
issues last year. But at the same time…

Jon Lester, a pup, making a pup’s salary, gets blindsided by
cancer. He’s at camp early.

David Ortiz, a lion, a bull, a man whose power is comparable
to Manny’s, who is (I would argue) more beloved than Manny in Boston—he reports with the position players.

I don’t want the Red Sox youngsters absorbing the lesson
that if you are good enough you can flout the rules with impunity. I don’t want fans across MLB laughing and shaking their heads the way I do when I think about Barry Bonds, whose excesses (and yes I know Manny’s are not criminal) are excused in parallel form by his
numbers.

In the end, of course—he’s ours, and no one will give us a Miggy Cabrera or an Andruw Jones for him, so we’ll make the best of it. And as you’ll see below, I’m not immune to the appeal of “Manny being Manny.” But I wish it didn’t have to be this way.


September 10, 2006.


An Oakland Raiders do-rag?  September 8, 2006.


August 13, 2006.


Hail the conquering hero! August 12, 2006.


August 11, 2006.


July 29, 2006.


July 14, 2006.


June 29, 2006.


Manny takes an interesting lead.  May 23, 2006.


It’s good!


Getting saucy with Alex Cora. April 2, 2006.

Going back to the old pictures, one of my favorite "Manny" days was July 31, 2005.  Tensions were high around the trade deadline.  On July 29, with the fans unhappy that he wanted to be traded, Manny was booed.  July 30, he was in the original lineup but was pulled by gametime, and twenty thousand people whipped out cellphones in shock–had he been traded?  July 31 there was no sight of him before the deadline passed… but perhaps both Boston and Manny had had long enough to imagine life life without each other, and found it lacking.

Do you think you could treat me
Like somebody special
I can’t be everything to everybody
Could I at least be something to you?

Ah, Manny.  You’ll always be special to us!

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5 comments

  1. Kellia

    As long as he reports by March 1 he is within the rules according to the players CBA. And as long as he arrives in shape and on schedule to be ready to play on Opening Day, he’s really not doing anything wrong. A tad inconvenient maybe
    (and then maybe not, if Francona is used to it), but not wrong.

    Fans and press pay so much attention to who is reporting early, and what the first official report day is, that we forget that there’s a range of report days, and Manny is reporting at the end of the range.

    ByrnesBlogger1

    Life, Baseball & Eric Byrnes

    http://byrnesblog.mlblogs.com

  2. Kelly

    Kellia, most citations I’ve seen of the reporting date in this year’s CBA state February 27. (It’s based on days until Opening Day, which varies year to year, of course.)

    But I still disagree with you on whether he’s doing anything wrong–that’s my point. AFAIK he didn’t give the Sox a heads-up when his mother fell ill, as I certainly would have done for my employer. He put them in an awkward position, which he didn’t have to do, and which most if not all of his teammates would not have done. As I understand it, he basically announced his reporting date; he didn’t ask for it.

    IMO calling it “inconvenient” is making excuses for him.

    We all know there are things that are illegal and there are things that are just not good. For example, theft is illegal; selfishness isn’t, but that doesn’t make it good. My point about Manny is that it wouldn’t be so hard for him to be good.

  3. FANSONTHEFIELD.net

    I also heard the actual reporting date is February 27. The whole “mother sick” thing was fine. But he is scheduled to be at a car show in Atlantic City on Saturday. I doubt his sick mom will be there too.

    If the sick mom thing were true, or even just half-true, then I am fine with it. We’re used to this with Manny. But the car show is a slap in the face to the whole team. It is a big deal, because if he can blow off spring training, why can’t everyone else? It sends a bad message to the rest of the team.

    -Dan

    http://fansonthefield.mlblogs.com

  4. mlblogosphere@yahoo.com

    cool post. during the course of this year there will be some massive changes and use of media will be one…but still cool how you showed all the manny pics.

    you’re showing up fine in the mlblogs active roster now. i think when you commented on my blog it was just waiting for changes to go to Production server. had noticed it had no actual URL in the field. first error of our careers. ha!

    mark

    http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

  5. redsox8585@earthlink.net

    Kelly,

    My little girl loves Manny.Why? According to her, “he makes me laugh”. I grit my teeth and bear it with Manny, but he’s so likeable it’s hard to stay mad. I don’t think he is a malcontent, or a clubhouse lawyer. He’s just a goofball. Bill Simmon’s say’s in his book that Manny was breast fed until 4. That may explain it better than anything I’ve ever read. Great post, and great pictures as usual. You need to be getting paid for your work!

    Ted

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