So Manny Ramirez is back in Boston, in town with the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of an interleague schedule that won’t die.
And thanks to the World Cup and other weekend commitments (like laundry, and vacuuming, and listening to an absurd amount of the Grateful Dead for some reason), I haven’t watched either game. I don’t think I’m missing anything.
I think it’s important to note that I didn’t hate Manny while he was here. Among the many morons clogging the airwaves on sports radio out here (callers and hosts alike), there was always a rash of those who thought the Red Sox would be better off without his 40 home runs and 1.000 OPS because, um, sometimes he didn’t run out ground balls. Or he was a defensive sideshow in left field. Or because he was goofy and liked to point at the crowd and his teammates. Whatever, they were wrong, but they had a forum.
But until he decided he needed to get out of Boston by any means necessary, I didn’t give up on him. I liked that he was a little spacey. I liked that, after the arrival of David Ortiz and Kevin Millar in 2003, he loosened up and seemed to legitimately enjoy himself most days in the field. And those two World Series wins would not have come without him. There’s no debating that.
My favorite Manny Ramirez moment probably came on Patriots Day, 2005, a 12-7 win over the Blue Jays. In that game, Manny lost two balls in the sun, was doubled off of first base, and hit two home runs. It was beautiful. My friend and I now call it “the Complete Manny Ramirez Experience.”
But those days are gone. Manny moved his show to Los Angeles, terrorized the National League (specifically the Cubs) in the playoffs in 2008, got busted on two failed tests for steroids in 2009, and now, is having a respectable, albeit not otherworldly, year with the Dodgers, hitting 8 home runs against a .297 average and .904 OPS. And the Boston media (and a good chunk of fans) have been losing their minds over his return. Will they boo him? Cheer him? What will they do? AHH OH MY GOD!!!
To all that, I say, “no thank you.” I can’t stand hype like that. What I’m most concerned about is that they’ve won the first two games of the series so far, 10-6 and 5-4, that Tim Wakefield looked solid in his start on Saturday, and that Dustin Pedroia shockingly picked up his first walk off hit (shockingly since he plays for a team that seems to live off the walk off).
The rest of it? No thanks. Maybe I’ll watch tonight: they’re the Sunday Night game, and I’m probably not doing anything else.
But otherwise, it’s been nice not to have to hear the collective gnashing of teeth over Manny.