Some friends who know of my attachment to the Boston Red Sox have recently emailed to inquire my thoughts on the Manny Ramirez trade. Well here was my response … relieved.
Manny has been a great offensive force for the Sox, but his demand for a contract extension has become a team nuisance and his play under the shadow of the Monster has been horrific.
One play captures his “fielding.” In a game in late July, Manny misjudged a blooper to LF and slid past the ball missing it by a couple feet! Manny got up and ran back to where the ball had come to a complete stop and pulled something of an old stop, drop, and roll routine like he was on fire (never the case in LF) finally coming to a stop laying flat on his back with the ball under his butt. The guys at SportsCenter were in tears it was so bad (you can see the entire blooper here).
To top off this season with the Sox, Manny was recently listed by Mike Freeman as one of the top 50 athlete jerks of all time [article includes some rough language].
Manny will, however, be a useful example in our home and to my son as I teach him that the stats on the back of his Upper Deck baseball cards cannot capture the whole story of a ballplayer’s worth. There is teamsmanship, an effort on the field, and (most importantly) an attitude each player brings.
Manny’s uniform color has changed but Manny will always be Manny. He will continue to hit well but bring his poor attitude and clueless fielding. Sadly the “Manny will be Manny” chant fits because of how many people have given up hope that his attitude will ever change. I for one think it can change, and know of One who can radically transform the heart. But it will take more than a change in leagues, a change in teams, and a change in coasts, for this to happen.
For now Manny is still Manny (look carefully at this picture) …