This quote is funny. This is perhaps the best quote thus far emerging from baseball spring training. It is Boston's Julian Tavarez, speaking of his oddly strange teammate, the one and only Manny Ramirez.
|Manny Ramirez remains a rarity: Boston bulletproof. (US Presswire)|
After reading that quote the Cheerios came spilling out of my mouth.
There are actually a few billion of us humans, Manny. Bipedal, live in houses, been to the moon, shop at the Gap. Humans.
Tavarez's words are the perfect way to describe a man whose head is eternally in the clouds and whose act is wearing extremely thin.
Manny lives in Mannyworld. That is what we hear. Manny being Manny. We hear that one, too. Manny Ramirez. Weirdo. Great player. Weirdo. Hall of Famer. Weirdo. And did I mention weirdo?
The growing problem is Ramirez has officially departed Mannyworld and is entering into another, more disconcerting realm, where players like Randy Moss have pitched their tents.
Except players like Moss usually get hammered when they act the fool. Not Ramirez. No athlete in all of sports gets a pass for unprofessional behavior the way Manny does.
Why more people do not take Ramirez to task for his vapidness and serial aloofness is stunning.
Have we become so jaded about athletes that their antics no longer raise our blood pressure? There was a time when fans would have wanted to hook jumper cables to Manny's ears and shock some sense into him. Now, when it comes to Manny, fans just shrug. Yawn.
Tavarez was defending his friend, claiming Ramirez's expected late arrival to spring training was due to Manny's ill mother. If Ramirez is caring for a sick mom, then that is indeed admirable. The problem is what to believe. Ramirez is often reporting late or asking to be traded or otherwise absentee.
What is odder than Manny's constant strange behavior is that the more he retreats into a state of foolishness, the more teammates and others make excuses for him.
Greatness often serves as a thick elixir. It armors some people from the type of criticism that would otherwise crush them. And Ramirez is great, one of the all-timers. As a member of the Red Sox he has averaged over 100 RBI and almost 40 home runs.
He is a lock to make the Hall of Fame. Assuming he can follow directions to the building.
Fans are notoriously hard on athletes they perceive as non-caring. Ramirez has asked to be traded a half-dozen times and he blows off the beginning of spring trainings while his teammates report on time. Yet there has been little outrage from Red Sox fans. It is because of Ramirez's production that they barely speak ill of him.
The Red Sox and their fans made a deal with the devil and the devil is sticking his pitchfork in their rear ends.
Last year, Ramirez basically quit on his team the last six weeks of the season, playing in less than a dozen games. The team publicly stated he was hurt but no one believed that. The lack of outrage was deafening. It was Manny being Manny. There goes that phrase again.
Manny's mother might indeed be ill, but is that an excuse for him, as of Wednesday at least, to not inform Red Sox management of his situation? If you believe Tavarez, Manny only stays in touch with one person. Not the manager. Not the GM. But Tavarez.
"He doesn't keep in touch with anybody but me," Tavarez said.
Think about that for a second.
They should be calling him Manny the Mooch in Boston instead he is still bulletproof.
Ramirez is not alone in his petulance. The Manny Way is the way of many a modern athlete. Not all but more than enough. They snub their nose at authority, and fans are usually exasperated.
Just not at Ramirez.
Well, Manny is only human, after all.