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Boston Red Sox

Slugger? Yes. Attention Seeker? Probably Not.

By Rob LaBrie

As if Manny Ramirez wasn’t unpredictable enough, now he’s so unpredictable, we can’t even predict his unpredictability.  What?
By making a spectacle out of his simple arrival to camp, which wasn’t even noticeably late, Manny is right back into his comfort zone: the driver’s seat of the Boston sports media.  It seems as if the only way to keep Manny happy is by keeping the spotlight on him.  Or is it?  Is it that Manny loves the spotlight, or does he just draw it in by being himself?  Does it even matter?

This past week or so, we’ve seen all kinds of people making a big deal out of Manny saying he wouldn’t be in camp until March 1, then we were hit with the car show fiasco (which Manny ended up not attending, nor did he apparently have any knowledge of).  Every step he takes draws attention from all over the nation because everyone wants to see what he’s going to do next.

And they should.  Everything this guy does just goes against the norm in every way possible.  Nothing can be easy.  Nothing can be smooth.  Nothing can be taken for granted, even something as simple as showing up for training camp.

We’ve seen guys like this before, but with them it always seemed as if they did the things they did for the glory of people talking about them (read: Dennis Rodman).  Manny is constantly playing by his own rules and it doesn’t seem to alter his behavior at all, no matter what is said about him.  It really appears as though Manny doesn’t seek the attention, but rather it just comes to him.

He’s never done anything wrong.  He’s not a wife beater, he’s never had drug or alcohol problems, he doesn’t use corked bats.  Then again, he doesn’t do an obscene amount of charity work, he doesn’t make big donations to homeless foundations, and he hasn’t cured cancer.  However, Manny still manages to be the most talked about baseball player for off-the-field actions this side of San Francisco.

Manny has a lot of baggage the Red Sox have to deal with.  It can’t be easy working with a guy who wants to jump ship at the drop of a dime, then revokes it every time, does whatever he pleases in and out of work, can’t do half of his job (fielding) without giving everyone around him a heart attack, and makes a hell of a lot more bank than you can imagine.  Ever wonder why Terry Francona shaves his head bald?  Tito doesn’t want anyone to see the gray hairs he gets from being Manny’s boss.

But the most amazing part is, we have no evidence to show Manny even understands the enormous consequences of every move he makes and every breath he takes.  If his attention span and concentration levels out in left field are any indications of his attitude toward life, chances are he doesn’t.

If he were on any other team (other than the Yankees), the money, combined with this baggage, would be unbearable.  I don’t see how any small market team would be able to keep up with Manny, but because it’s the Red Sox, who grow money trees in little shops on Storrow Drive, it’s all worth it for 40 homers, 125 RBI, .320 BA, the sweetest swing in baseball, and the occasional awkward diving catch in front of the Green Monster that makes everyone cringe and wonder how this guy became a professional ballplayer.

Sure, the media circus will always follow him along with the rest of his quirks, but as long as that swing stays intact and in Boston, Manny always has a home in the middle of the lineup and in the hearts of Sox fans everywhere.

2 replies on “Slugger? Yes. Attention Seeker? Probably Not.”

Nice I love Manny, he’s a great character and an amazing player. Good story. Now about these trades…Dodgers? A’s? Please?

My vote to abstain… was an accident.  I was actually trying to vote for the article, which is entertaining and well-written.

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