What's Making Me Talk: Manny Ramirez in Cleveland Act II? No Thanks!
Let me describe to you a majority of the Cleveland Indians fanbase.
Let me also preface this by saying, I love Cleveland fans. I'm one of them, and they are what make rooting for the Indians a joyful experience, more so when they are winning. I also do not believe this is the makeup of the entire group, but there are a lot of these types of fans out there.
A typical Cleveland fan—not just of the Indians, for that matter—is pessimistic. They want to be cautious about the success of their team until they feel it is a reality, because really this city hasn't sealed the deal in quite a long time.
The memory of winning it all is distant, if anything nonexistent.
Being a fan of teams that have won championships in other spots, my outlook is quite different, but my want for a title in the game of baseball is just as strong.
That is one of the strong things that I can use to connect myself to the typical Cleveland Indians fan, that and my love for the team.
The one thing that I cannot connect myself to is the pessimism, radical mood swings, and yearning for a past that, while it was not entirely successful, was fun to remember because it isn't the pain of the present.
If the Indians were 6-0, Travis Hafner was leading the league in home runs, and our left fielder wasn't some quiet kid that plays hard named Ben Francisco, then maybe this story is portrayed differently.
But the timing of this story couldn't have come at a worse time for this Cleveland Indians fanbase.
These are people that still want Kenny Lofton back, just because he played during the good old days.
This is a team with fans that believe, despite the investment in Kerry Wood, that their team has a cheap owner and a "yes man" as their puppet.
Those are the ones that make me feel a little sick and ashamed. Not for what they say, but because they are casual fans who don't really understand what they are actually saying because they haven't paid too much attention.
So you can bet that "Dolan is Cheap Fan" will be riding the Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome wagon until Ramirez and Thome both retire, or sign with Cleveland to retire. But he will then bark about how it will never happen, because Paul and Larry Dolan are in fact cheap and would never do anything to please the fans.
Meanwhile, "Bring Back Lofton Fan" is finding himself in a state of nostalgic joy, even if the possibility of such an occurrence wouldn't happen for a few years. He's also ready to purchase season tickets the minute the deals are done.
If that's the case, maybe the Dolans and Mark Shapiro should invest in such a radical idea, especially if "Bring Back Lofton Fan" tells his friends and half the fans share his mindset.
It would be bigger than Ken Griffey Jr. back to Seattle, because Cleveland is rabid and they made a fuss over the return of Lofton mid-year. Imagine the wildness that would happen if they brought back two of the team's top three home run leaders.
Nothing is wrong with that. The difference is that Griffey's return to Seattle made sense. They needed him to play a position, they needed an upgrade, and they could afford him.
If anything, it was the best possible fit for both sides.
Thome coming back to Cleveland makes no sense, especially with the abundance of DH-types this team already has and their commitment to Travis Hafner until 2012.
Well, Manny Ramirez would probably make even less sense, if that's possible.
Why? Anyone could use Manny, especially a team with Ben Francisco in left field.
Many people still love Manny; there is no doubt about that. He still got booed when he came in as a visitor with Boston, and Thome does to an extent too, but that probably has more to do with the fact that they are with hated teams.
Not even the good they did could outweigh the fact that they took the money and ran.
Unless, of course, you are "Dolan is Cheap Fan" and you believe the Indians should have made the investments in both Manny and Thome...and Omar Vizquel and CC Sabathia.
Even though you are too ignorant to realize Ramirez turned down an eight-year offer in favor of one with more money in Boston, and that Sabathia turned down $18 million.
And that Omar Vizquel was pushed out because there was someone with offensive potential far greater than what Omar was producing, and it was time to move on. Thome is probably the one case you could make, but look at what happened to him in Philadelphia.
So why do this to us?
It isn't going to happen, and it never will. This idea is just something to tease people like me. Because now the recurring theme is about bringing back Manny Ramirez and bringing back Kenny Lofton, but it will never happen.
Why not go ahead and bring back Albert Belle while we are at it?
The perception for "Bring Back Lofton" fan is that Francisco is not Lofton; ergo he's not any good.
The perception is Manny Ramirez is way better than Ben Francisco is, or ever will be, ergo let's go sign him, even if it really doesn't make much sense in the grand scheme of things, especially when that deal could be at best two years away.
So while I adore Cleveland fans and their passion, I absolutely loathe their impatience, pessimism, and inability to support the team by showing up to ball games unless it's Grady Sizemore bobblehead night, or a brisk night in September when the team is five games away from clinching the AL Central.
I just can't help but wonder why in heaven's name I am cursed with having to read a story about this—the ultimate story that "Raging Cleveland Fan" can feed off of and use to state his case about bringing back an old hero, or rebelling against ownership, or show his displeasure with the 1-5 start with.
Manny says he still loves Cleveland. I don't doubt that, but he must obviously hate me. Because I hate these stories and the way people feed off them.
When Baseball Loses Someone, We All Lose Someone
I want to chip in my feelings about Nick Adenhart, because for once in my life as a baseball fan, even a sports fan, I really felt my heart skip a beat when I found out an athlete passed away.
I'm not a fan of the Angels or Adenhart, but I'm a fan of the game and a big opponent of things like drunk driving.
So when you tell me a talented kid, who was not just a great baseball player with a potential future that was as high as the skies, had that promising career taken away because someone was careless, I feel devastated.
Not only that, but we are talking about a good kid with dreams. I have friends who have had dreams of playing a game like baseball for a living.
Even if that dream was not really possible, it was still something they had. It's something that many of us probably shared at one point, before 90 percent of us realized we had no athletic ability, or not enough.
I know what the dream is about, or at least have some sort of a clue.
That dream is gone, and it sucks it had to go away like it did.
My condolences to the Angels organization and most importantly to the family of Nick Adenhart. Life isn't always fair, and in this case, it really sucks that it isn't.
Roundabout of Randomness
I started this out as a combined weekly deal like I usually do. But then it got so far with Manny that I figured maybe it just might stand alone. But then I figured, well no, let's just talk about everything in the past week as best as I can.
Even if I have to force myself to shorten my thoughts, which is no easy task when you deal with me.
How about the start to the season of my NL East champion Florida Marlins? Josh Johnson looks like a Cy Young-caliber pitcher, not just keeping down the Nationals but also the vaunted Mets lineup. I know it's early, but I'm feeling really good about where that team is, and Johnson leading that pitching staff is a big reason for it.
Three of the six basement dwellers from last year are on top of their respective divisions, while two more division leaders this year came in fourth place last year—further proving the point that the first week of this season is not all of what it's cracked up to be.
Remember how I often say that we are always going to see something that we've never seen before on any given night?
Have you ever seen teammates hit their 300th home runs on consecutive at-bats in the same inning?
Answer: No, until Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye did it yesterday.
Really, you can't think of these scenarios. They just happen.
My good friend Jody Gerut christened Citi Field with a leadoff home run. He's not really my friend, but you know how much I think he rocks.
I love the articles on good stories in the game, so you can bet this story on the most improbable major leaguers got to me. The best in my opinion? Hands down Walter Silva, who played in his first game at the age of 32 after the brothers Gonzalez recommended him to the Padres.
I guess when you have a team in the position the Padres are in, these types of things will happen.
Special mention to Chris Jakubauskas, who has the best name I've heard this year, but I still can't pronounce it, so I just say Chris Jack-o-ba-coo-coo-us. Yes that isn’t really it, but I don't care. It sounds cool.
Along with the death of Nick Adenhart, the baseball word lost two more people in Harry Kalas and Mark Fidrych.
Being a fan of a team that had Herb Score for many years and now has someone like Tom Hamilton, I understand the love fans have for their radio voice. He is the connection from the fans to the team, and that is the voice you grow up on in many cases.
I've grown up with Tom Hamilton, and many Indians fans before me grew up with Herb Score.
Fidrych was the pitcher that talked to baseballs. As Peter Gammons put it, he was a "character" for the game of baseball. He didn't have a long career, but he was very good in his short time in the game. Much like the previously mentioned Score, who had his career cut short, but was very good in his time playing the game.
The Mariners signed Jeff Zimmerman last week. Yeah, this isn’t Jordan or Ryan Zimmerman; this is the Zimmerman that last played in 2001. At the age of 36 with two elbow reconstructive surgeries under his belt, he's attempting a comeback.
The first week is the most frightful time of the year for "Raging Cleveland Fan" with the 1-5 start. At least "Hafner is off Steroids Fan" is eating a lot of crow these days though.
Nino Colla is Talking every Monday of the baseball season, or whenever time needs to be wasted, provided objects don't get thrown.
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