The scene was magnificent. The new first family looked terrific. The country looks to be turning over a new leaf. 2 million people gathered to see our 44th peaceful transition of power. No matter what your political beliefs or affiliation, it is a proud moment as an American. As Obama spoke eloquently, I must admit my mind began to wander. With all the problems in the world we must face, I feel I have been overlooking one incredibly important detail for the Citizens of Lost Angeles. It is the one detail that keeps food tasting bland and sleep restless. It is the evil silhouette on the hill looming menacingly over my town. If you are are Lost Angelino and you are planning your summer, it should be equally scary to you:
Why the effing hell haven’t we signed Manny Ramirez yet?
I’ll never forget the day I was coming back from lunch assuming it would be another wasted trade deadline for the Dodgers. It had to be another predictable penny-pinching experience where we shout unabashedly to the world that we are the kind of team that is lucky to make the playoffs.
But when I came in, my office was buzzing. People who don’t even care about baseball are on YouTube and searching Google. There is a sentence being hummed around the office. It is bouncing off the walls out of the radios on the desks of upper management: Manny Ramirez is a Dodger now.
I had heard about the attitude. I knew about the lamest term in the history of our Sportscenterized culture, that stupid term “Manny being Manny.” People just like saying it. So he is eccentric. He is also the best right handed hitter of his generation this side of Albert Pujols.
I didn’t subscribe to the hype initially. In fact, there was a beach I wanted to check out with my girlfriend one day when there was a game. I almost flaked on my Dad for a game, but Emily in her infinite wisdom said you should go see Manny play today. I have no idea why I was considering not going being that I attend over fifty games a year, but I was and she set me straight.
My father and I watched the long-locked predator come to the plate and prompted hit a ball so hard the cow its leather came from resurrected itself then exploded. This was the best hitter I had ever seen. Even for a rabid fan like myself, Manny made every game from his press conference where I nearly shit myself seeing him in blue to the final out of our wasted NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies (I say wasted because we lost 3 games to 1 and had a lead in all the first three games).
Manny is literally insane. His greatness and his insanity combine to make him Lost Angeles’ prodigal son. We have Kobe in the winter, but Manny is not Kobe. He’s Shaq. He’s off his rocker and he doesn’t give a shit. How do you not love this guy?
When the Brett Fav-ruh drama was in full force at the exact same time Manny was shoving old men down stairs to get out of Boston, he shows up on a nationally televised game suggesting he be traded for Favre “straight up.”
I love this clown. I love him because he constantly performs in spite of himself. He brings joy to the city. He makes us winners. He restored the most forgotten element of the Dodgers rich tradition: winning.
People freak out when he hits home runs. He murders the ball. He freaks out the opponent. He makes everyone better. The home run above? That was against the Diamondbacks in a hardcore must win situation. Against their best pitcher, Cy Young winner Branden “hot kentucky” Webb. Manny gave him the business end of his bat and sent him home without cab fare.
I know the reasons not to get over zealous. Yes, the Dodgers are the current high bidder at 2 years, 45 million. Yes, Scott Boras is a total d-bag and still demanding 4 years, 100 million. No, no one else has even tried to bid and it is against conventional logic to bid against yourself.
But come on. Why piss Manny off? He has told friends he’d love to play here. Why don’t you come to him with something that will make him look respectable? Seriously, let’s be creative. How about 3 years, 65 million but we give him 20% of his personal merch sales? How about we just pony up 75 million for 3 years and give him some ridiculous vesting option based on fielding percentage? Wouldn’t that solve the defensive concerns?
I have heard every argument and have read every article on Manny this offseason. All I can tell you is that I don’t believe anyone else. Wanna know the difference between the Red Sox with Manny and without? They won the World Series. I think it’s obvious the Dodgers benefit not only with wins, but with psychic salary. We felt good about ourselves again.
Plus, where else can you find a guy who literally sold his barbeque on ebay despite earning 20 million dollars that year?
Bring back Manny. Make my summer a little warmer.