Manny Ramirez disappears, and other thoughts

Manny Ramirez is off to play for the Chicago White Sox, as long as he feels like it.

I’m very forgiving, as far as sports fans are concerned. I get upset, I throw myself into the performance of my favorite team, I get behind my heroes, childhood and otherwise.

But, if it wasn’t already, it became crystal clear this weekend: Manny Ramirez is pretty much ruined for me.

Jayson Stark has it pretty much all down, but if you haven’t heard, Ramirez is a White Sock today because the Dodgers decided that, no, they don’t even want a marginal minor leaguer in return. They just wanted him gone, so Chicago gets him on a waiver claim. Done, and gone.

Within Stark’s story is this gem of a quote:

Now maybe, in reality, he was only “run out of” two cities. But it’s still a fascinating question. So I asked it of one NL executive I spoke with Monday.

“How,” he replied, “could a true Hall of Famer be whisked out of town like this in two places? Not a lot of Hall of Famers get put on outright waivers — just take the contract and he’s yours — two different times, the first time when he’s still in his prime, right? You don’t see that a whole lot.”

In case you weren’t aware, after the 2003 season, one in which the Red Sox came within an 11th inning home run of going to the World Series, Boston put Ramirez on irrevocable waivers, hoping someone would take him and the remaining five years on his contract. There were no takers.

At his best, Manny Ramirez was lovably goofy, a pure hitter with a supernatural power to put the barrel of the bat on the ball. At his worst, he’s a selfish and destructive, and despite all his talents, teams can’t get him out of town fast enough.

It’s just sad. Good luck to the White Sox and all their fans (and that goes out to a few friends of mine).

♦ ♦ ♦

So, this weekend, the Red Sox dropped two out of three games against the Tampa Bay Rays when they really, really needed a sweep to keep this thing alive.

As of this morning, they’re 6½ games out of both first place and the wild card. They’re missing their center fielder, left fielder, and the right side of their infield, which all includes their leadoff hitter, emotional core, best hitter and two gold glovers, and still, they’re probably going to finish with something between 90 and 95 wins.

And they’ll still miss the playoffs.

Sometimes, all you can do is throw up your hands, turn off your brain, and try to enjoy another month of baseball. It’s not like they quit, and I’ll remember the high points of this year fondly.

I’m an eternal optimist; I can’t help it. I’ll still keep watching and hoping. But I’m prepared for them to not make it any further than the last series against New York, and I’m … I’m OK with that.


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