Dear New York Yankees,
Look at that smile.
He must love playing baseball, or, more to the point, love hitting a baseball.
Since 2004, when he and buddy David Ortiz personally saw to it that the Yankees were embarrassed in the ALCS, he has been one of the most feared hitters in the game.
Yet, he remains unsigned.
He almost single-handedly put the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs last season when he hit nearly .400, with 17 home runs and 52 runs batted in during the final two months of the season.
The supposedly cancerous malcontent in Boston was able to bring fun and games to the Dodger clubhouse, and almost a pennant.
Yet, he remains unsigned.
I feel it is my obligation to ask you, the greatest, most successful franchise in the history of all professional sports, why?
Why has this sure-fire, first ballot hall-of-famer, with at least four more good years of driving opposing pitchers crazier than Tyra Banks, not on your 2009 roster yet?
I say yet because, as the days pass and he doesn't re-sign with the Dodgers, it becomes more and more likely that he'll be a Yankee in 2009.
So okay, maybe he comes across as a little bit nutty. I'll give you that.
But, you do remember who owns the team. George and Hank Steinbrenner are just as loopy.
Only they can't routinely hit down-and-away, 98 mile-per-hour fastballs into the left-center field bleachers at Wrigley Field when it matters in the postseason, so cut him a break.
And, I realize he looks kind of scruffy, what with the dreadlocks and chin whiskers, but he doesn't look homeless like Johnny Damon did in 2005 when he joined the Yankees. (If there was a guy on that 2004 Boston team who seemed less likely to shave than Damon, we never saw him.)
Think of the marketing campaign. Burnett, Sabathia, Teixeira and Manny all in pinstripes, promising championship No. 27. A-Rod would become the fifth or sixth-best player on the team, which might actually help him come up with the big hits in September and October instead of March and April.
Plus, Manny is from the Bronx.
Don't act like you don't have the money. We all know you do. And, we as fans, are willing to pardon Manny for all of his past transgressions against the Yankees if he is willing to bring his loose, fun-loving style with him.
Boston is back-pedaling faster than they can say Bill Buckner. They are on the ropes. Signing Manny will be the knockout blow.
Imagine the punishment you'll be inflicting on all those cocky Red Sox fans when they are the ones having to watch their pitchers face Manny late in a close game in October.
It's time to shake things up. Everyone expected you to sign Sabathia and Teixiera. Bring Manny home! Make that smile even bigger!
Yours in pinstripes,
Every last Yankee fan