Manny Ramirez wants out of Boston. This saddens me, because Manny is truly one of my favorite athletes. I feel he is being mismanaged, to an extent. I think we have no chance of getting equal value in any trade involving him. Trading him rips the guts out of a curse-smashing team that may, on any given day, be the best team in baseball.
Also, it takes from our ranks the man(ny) who gave us this legend:
While playing with Cleveland, Manny once offered a clubhouse attendant $50 to go get the Ramirezmobile washed. "There's some money in the glove compartment," said Manny, letting the flunky know that the car wash wouldn't be coming out of his $50. When the kid got to the car wash, he opened the glove compartment to grab the jar of change he expected to find there. Instead, there was about $50,000 in hundreds, and a loaded 9mm. pistol. He's the Dominican National Bank of Manny, and he handles the security as well, it seems.
Manny pulls some strange stuff. He refuses to play right field, which he is better suited to. He refused to go into a game as a substitute the other night. He's a bit of a flake, and he does that stuff that old timers hate- occasionally not running out grounders, admiring his home run shots a little too deeply, baggy clothes, Sideshow Bob haircut, etc...He also asks to be traded to the hated rival team a lot.
There are few other positions in baseball- or in any sport- as unique as being the left-fielder for the home team at Fenway Park. Very few men have done it. Ted Williams had the job locked down for a quarter century, and Yaz took it over after that. When he was done with it, Jim Ed Rice took over. Mike Greenwell had it after that, Troy O'Leary took a crack at it, and now it's Manny's spot. No one else- in 75 years or so of 30 team, free agency-driven baseball- has held the job.
Some notes about the above list.....they're all a little crazy. Williams was a Renaissance Man, at any given time being the best hitter, fisherman or fighter pilot on the block...and the best combination of the three ever. He also hated the fans, refusing to tip his hat after his career-ending home run. Yaz was a bit of a character, but he's Polish, so that can be written off. Rice may have been the surliest man alive, and is among the few men who aren't in Cooperstown because reporters think he's an a*****. Greenwell, who used to slide into first headlong just to enrage my father and make him give me half-assed physics lessons, is eccentric enough to lobby for the 1992 MVP award in the summer of 2004. O'Leary was an anomaly in ways that had nothing to do with his Wesley Snipes skin tone on an Irish last name. Manny, as you might imagine, is also a tad unusual.
It must be the Green Monster. Alone in that big outfield, with all that space to cover, and that Monstahhhh looming over you, blotting out the sun....it simply must get to a man after a while. Left fielders in Fenway end up being a little crazy...sort of like hockey goalies. And while he's the best swinger in the game, Manny doesn't seem to be what we will call well-equipped to deal with things that might make you crazy afer a while.
Simply put, he's eccentric, and you can't "handle" Manny the way you'd handle a goverment mule/ham'n'egger like Kevin Millar. Offhand, I'd say that guys like Manny- and the slew of high school seniors in the NBA- are the two things that truly scream out for female coaches in male professional sports.
Great hitters are like Divas. You can't lean on Mariah Carey- she'll fall apart. You have to work around the problems. You do it with Mariah because she's hot, and 15000 people will stuff a concert hall to see her do that 4 octave dog whistle show she does. You do it with Manny because he has the best natural swing in the game, and he's good for 40 HRs and 135 RBIs every year. While a David Ortiz may respond to typical American sports management, Manny "has his own thing going on," which I used to tell parents who I wanted to say "Your child needs to be briefly institutionalized" to when I was teaching
A woman would know how to handle Manny. Appease the ego, inflate the self-worth. I do it every day. "Honey, can you open this for me?" Manny will be asked to perform great things, heroic things. You need to make him feel larger than life. Even with all the Man-Love that goes on in professional sports, a guy just can't get that riled up to go out and do battle for Tito Francona. They need greater motivation. That's why they get paid so much.....but some things just can't be bought, at any price.
Women provide that motivation. A wimpy trophy wife won't get it done, either. You need a Lady Macbeth-type, a Sharon Stone of the managerial sort. Ruthless, manipulative, shrewd, Machiavellian... a real girl you wouldn't bring home to Mother. You'd have to keep a Don Baylor around the dugout to make sure that Wells and Millar put the Black Jack away once the game starts, but a woman on the bench would offer ways into the minds of players that a lot of today's managers can't reach.
The bottom line is getting the most out of every player, not how baggy his jersey is....men sometimes fail to see the forest for the trees, as my mother told me once.
There's nothing wrong with Manny that a mid-to-late 20s French mistress wouldn't solve. This is a man who needs nothing more than a pot roast, a hot bath, a scotch/rocks handed to him on the couch, and a sympathetic ear.....with a few fringe benefits thrown in, of course. Arriba!!!
If Lil' Kim managed the Red Sox, Manny would be hitting .375, and would do 50 homers a year even with the inevitable hamstring pulls. For all his millions of dollars, Manny isn't the most sophisticated guy in the world....and beauty, like music, hath charms which doth soothe the savage beast.