Soon enough, on a playground in a neighborhood called Mannywood, the "Manny Being Manny" theme will cease, and what was formerly referred to as Dodgertown will earn back its honest name. So now, the Dodgers are finally getting the message, as a disappointing stint in Los Angeles is ending so miserably. For once, the locals are not ignorant or naïve, realizing that Manny Ramirez is a worthless sleaze and a franchise saboteur.
It figures, when he shamefully turned his back on the Red Sox and became such a pitiful quitter that John Henry and Theo Epstein knew they had to deal the cancerous slugger. It wasn’t long ago when he spread a poisonous disease inside the Red Sox clubhouse, abandoning a team on the field and barely retrieving balls in the left field because of laziness and wobbly knees.
Now he has joined the White Sox, a team granted property rights to claim Ramirez, who was placed on waivers last week.
The White Sox accepted the persona of a moody and narcissistic left fielder and the remaining $3.8 million on his contract. It’s fascinating that he lands in a place with the ill-tempered Ozzie Guillen, the controversial manager who has a reputation of lashing out on issues with profanities, and isn't timid to use the racial card without grasping common sense.
Manny probably can provide enough productivity if assigned to the designated hitter role. That has, indeed, been a problem for the Sox, in contention during an intense pennant race, even though Ramirez has been on the disabled list three times in the final year of his two-year, $45-million deal.
This wasn’t a healthy marriage in Hollywood, but a dysfunctional relationship that became a circus in a town famous for its entertainment and dramatic presentations, mirroring the McCourt divorce battle over team ownership. Such is the cinematic script that arrived to the city and released the repugnant feature called Defraud Mannywood Script. It seemed pathetic that a community was so naïve to actually advocate performance-enhancing drugs and welcome in a fraudulent, arrogant outfielder who really isn’t an outfielder, but a foolish clown with nothing worth displaying unless he performs one of his outrageous stunts.
Being labeled as the purest and most dangerous hitter in baseball until the scandal surfaced, he was credited with inspiring a cheerless clubhouse and restoring a substandard baseball culture in 2008. He was welcomed and greeted with warm receptions by an ignorant crowd in Dodgertown, seizing the spotlight in an atmosphere that validated a tainted legacy and honored the then 36-year-old designated hitter by selling his wigs at the concession stands.
Even during the scandal, the Los Angeles crowds adored him though he was serving a 50-game suspension after pumping his body with a female fertility drug.
Then there were injuries, declining production, and many acts of petulance. During his last appearance as a Dodger, while pinch hitting, the rebellious slugger was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Gary Cederstorm when it appeared the ball missed the plate by a few inches, but was called a strike.
It’s very sad knowing that his final game in a Dodger uniform ended so grimly, when he had already missed 33 starts this season, while being benched for underachieving and nursing injuries like a right calf strain.
Now, wigs are no longer sold, no longer are there standing ovations for the sleaze with the dreadlocks, and no longer are the No. 99 jerseys the hottest item in the Los Angeles Basin.
It's bad enough he landed in Chicago—the South Side, for that matter—and a franchise with postseason aspirations. But given the pattern of Manny’s late surges, he could presumably benefit the White Sox. As a rental player, he has built a reputation for helping teams in pivotal moments.
He could be an essential piece on a franchise needing a minor resurgence and add some depth in the batting lineup. He is a horrible fielder who won't need to field as a DH.
But if anything, Manny Being a Dope is the wrong criminal to trust in, a horrid suspect guilty of contaminating the game, and refusing to address the fans regarding his performance-enhancer bust. If anything, he is likely to clash with Guillen in the dugout or clubhouse, ugly altercations that could damage chemistry and self-assurance.
If anything, it’s hard to envision him complying with orders because of his reputation for behaving as an arrogant and self-centered buffoon, and it’s easy to imagine all the unnecessary conflict with Manny and Ozzie in the same clubhouse and dugout. Their actions are similar in many ways, with egos greater than the team itself. If the White Sox were planning on the postseason, then Kenny Williams should have avoided taking on Ramirez’s contract.
But now, he’s one headache residing in the South Side of Chicago, a powerful burden who could even jeopardize the uncertain job statuses of Williams and Guillen.
Possessing Ramirez is like owning a raggedy hand-me-down vehicle.
An after thought, he’s an erratic slugger with enough power in his bat to maybe thrill the White Sox by hitting the ball efficiently until he begins weeping for a larger contract. If he doesn't get what he wants, he’ll decide to quit, of course. But it’s a gamble Chicago took, right?
Manny is without a doubt, washed-up, old, useless, and bound to cause dysfunction in Chicago.