A Trip Inside Manny Ramirez’ Head
By David A. Lane
This space is devoted to going where no man has gone before- and honestly, I hope no one really cares to go either given the demented opportunity. There’s no doubt that in outfielder Manny Ramirez’ egotistical mind, he’d like nothing more than to face his old pals and former teammates on his ‘beloved’ Boston Red Sox in the ’08 World Series and would love to do nothing less than lead his new underdog Los Angeles Dodgers team to a long shot victory over the defending champs- probably more for spite than for success. Though one might think that most ordinary people in his position would be just a tad bit grateful for all the blessings that were laid at his feet during his eventful seven and a half year tenure with the Sox- they did put up with his antics for a long time after all- the Manny being Manny act obviously wore thin on management and fans alike in Boston, who were all finally in agreement that it was time for him to go.
Many felt he was dogging it, forcing management to work a deal to trade him immediately- a move that certainly gave him added motivation in what is for him a contract year. The trade arguably also gave him a better chance at increasing his worth after the season as a free agent by proving he could carry a much less talented Dodger team on his back and into the playoffs. For him it was a win/win situation a guy like Manny couldn’t refuse. He could continue to do whatever he wanted to do in the clubhouse and on the field for the Sox- pushing the limits until management had enough- until they would eventually reach a breaking point and trade him. From that moment on he’d have to be a professional again for his new team. Just Manny being Manny.
BET ON LOS ANGELES DODGERS GAMES USING YOUR VISA CARD TO DEPOSIT
Funny how he did everything it took to play winning baseball after the trade. The knee and hamstring injuries which had ‘hamstrung’ his production and caused him to miss significant playing time in ’08 were miraculously cured. The same Manny who floundered around on the outfield grass trying to pick up a ball, rolling over the same ball about three times, and generally looking more like a beached whale than a professional athlete during a game for Boston, wasn’t exactly the same guy who showed up in L.A.
The Manny who showed up ran hard always on every play, offered to cut his dreadlocks as a sign of unity towards the team, and even has begun looking as svelte as, well, Tommy Lasorda after finding the Slimfast diet plan.
This new found effort from him must have really surprised the Dodgers creating a spark which happened to revive a team that was for all intents and purposes dead in the water at the time. At the same time, he has further angered Red Sox nation and others who can now easily confirm just how bad he was dogging it for their team and the franchise- reaching a new low in the term ‘professional’. Announcer Tim McCarver who is going to call the World Series just yesterday called his actions with the Sox “despicable” and I tend to agree with him to an extent, but to another, he was allowed to become this way by the system that continued to reward him for his play despite his actions. On a different note I’m hoping for another Manny moment to be much like Deion Sanders was with McCarver when he pours champagne all over him in the locker room sending him into a silly tirade about how cats like him have ruined the game. Talk about real T.V.!
Some of Ramirez’ actions during his career: Disappearing into Boston’s Green Monster while everyone else waited for him, not knowing where he was (he had to urinate although there’s no bathroom there), disappearing into the wall only to be seen later on his cell phone between innings, having a water bottle in his back pocket while in the outfield during games, numerous base running gaffes usually caused by extreme lack of concentration or not knowing the rules, saying he was too sick with Pharyngitis to play an important series against the Yankees while being seen out at a bar in Boston drinking, refusing to pinch hit for his coach at the time Grady Little during a game, shoving an elderly traveling secretary to the ground after a dispute over his large request for tickets, and saying he was not being able to run hard to first because of sore knees when an MRI revealed nothing, among others. It is clear than Manny being Manny includes giving it all only when it best suits Manny, not his team. Lucky for the Dodgers, this stay will most likely be a short one because it won’t be long before his antics tear them apart.
Yes, Ramirez is a product of the system much like the steroids problem in baseball was. Guys push the rules only for their own benefit because they produce and know it doesn’t matter what they do off the field because as long as they produce management will pay them. Wouldn’t doubt for a minute that Ramirez biggest motivation of all is to return to Boston as a member of the Dodgers and take out his old team the defending champs- not because winning the championship is most important to him- but because knocking off his old team is. Fitting since whatever benefits Manny’s ego most is what motivates him- a demented fact that isn’t lost on anyone except Dodger fans- and that’s just not good at all for the game, kids, or anyone.