This article is half original, half in response to a recent Sean Crowe entry. Be sure to check it out, it's great stuff!
I have always wondered what other people thought about Manny Ramirez. Do other baseball fans think of him the same way I do? What is the opinion of general sporting fans on his antics?
My opinion of the world-renowned athlete goes something like this:
I am proud of Manny. He was born in the Dominican Republic in the 1970s, when the only sport down there was baseball. He worked his way from watching the winter league games in his country to further honing his game after moving to New York, going on to become one of the best hitters of all-time.
He has certainly come a long way, and has more than earned my respect. He worked extremely hard during his life and deserves all the respect and fame he is receiving.
Some have a problem with the way he abuses his fame, however.
Everyone knows about the play involving Manny at Camden Yards. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Orioles were trailing the Red Sox, 1-0. With runners on first and second, Kevin Millar belted a fly ball to left field. Manny made a great running catch, then jumped into the stands to high-five a fan. He then whipped the ball to the Pedrioa, who zapped the ball to first base to double-off Aubrey Huff and end the inning.
A great show, that's for sure. Granted, Manny got the job done, but was it worth it?
There have been countless episodes of "Manny Being Manny." The latest of which was a rare repeat of July 9. On July 13, Manny climbed into the Green Monster left field wall during a pitching change. He waved to the fans as he sipped a sports drink.
Is our entertainment worth "Manny Being Manny?"
I think so. It is not often that Manny Ramirez makes an error because of his shenanigans. He is usually perfectly capable of providing both entertainment and great plays.
I hope it stays that way.
In addition to the humorous episodes of "Manny Being Manny," there have been the harmful ones, as well.
He's hurt his team when he jogs out a groundball that a pitcher bobbles. He hurts his team's chemistry when he gets involved in fights in the dugout and with other Red Sox employees. He hurts himself, too, when he goes back on his word about boycotting spring training, or demanding a trade.
Don't get me wrong, I think I actually look forward to the next time Manny initiates a humorous scene on the diamond, or otherwise.
As a Minnesota Twins fan, I share the view expressed by most small-market fans. We are sick and tired of all the needless attention the East and West Coast teams receive countless days of the year. We would give almost anything to have a story featured on ESPN regarding a great rookie year by Kevin Slowey.
When I see a story about Manny shoving an elderly employee of the Boston Red Sox, I groan. When a story about Manny bursting into Francona's office hours before the trade deadline surfaces, I get sick to my stomach.
But when I hear about a great play Manny made involving a high-five and a double play, I get excited. I watch the replay, talk about it, laugh it up, and marvel at the great athlete that is Manny Ramirez.
Since I am not from the New England area, I cannot say the same about Red Sox fans. They may very well be ticked off and upset at Manny for being such an attention-grabber.
I can tell you one thing, though. I enjoy "Manny Being Manny" moments, only if they're in fun.