It’s kind of old news, but the home-run hitter for the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez, was finally traded. Long overdue.
There’s no taking away Manny’s natural ability to drive the ball. He’s a gifted hitter with tremendous power. His work in left field? Like he was “in left field.”
Manny’s work ethic was terrible. He was a mediocre fielder because he didn’t try. He’d rather be in the Green Monster’s maintenance room talking on his cell phone than trying to prevent a single from becoming a double. He’d never run out a ground ball to first. He would defend his laziness with the excuse that he had didn’t want to get injured by going all out.
Someone–fan, media member, fellow player–coined the phrase “Manny being Manny” one year when Manny started his annual complaining. To me, it meant Manny acted like an idiot because he was allowed to act like an idiot. All those around him rolled their eyes and just waited for his selfish moment of the day to pass, realizing that when it did, his bat would deliver the home runs.
Not surprisingly, Boston fans loved Manny when he was being mildly odd and hitting home runs. The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy called Manny a hitting savant. It seems appropriate. His hitting skills are just so far beyond the rest of his persona. Several weeks ago, however, when Manny suddenly had a knee injury that prevented him from playing, Boston had had enough. Management, tired of his mouth and his knack for shutting it down whenever he was unhappy, traded him to Los Angeles.
Watching Manny over several years, I realized that he’s the anti-role model. He’s such a good hitter that I often thought the ball coming off his bat was a foul, only to see it would end up fair and in the bleachers. Natural talent. Yet, with that talent came no inclination to put in the work. Dogging it down first base line when he knew he’d be thrown out. Such action was inexcusable when I played high school baseball. You’d find yourself doing extra conditioning drills or even worse, sitting on the bench, if you didn’t run hard.
Imagine if Manny did work hard. He’s regularly an all star and already has a reservation at the hall of fame. (It’s all about home runs and batting averages. The fact that Manny is bad in left field doesn’t matter. To be renowned in baseball you have to be a hitter no matter how good you are at your position.) If he worked hard, Manny could be a multidimensional force.
Now he’s off in LA. Hitting the crap out of the ball. For now.