Friday, July 29

7/29/05 – Newsflash: Manny Plays

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. Before everyone gets all bent of shape about the story that Manny Ramirez has asked for a trade (note: oops, too late) can we at least consider the possibility that this is not what it sounds like?

Maybe Manny didn’t actually request a trade to another team. Did you ever think about that jerks? Maybe he was simply requesting that Theo trade him a 1984 Lou Whitaker Topps baseball card for a 1991 Bobby Thigpen card. (Note: Or maybe Jose made that trade, it gets confusing.) Maybe, he thought he was calling his broker and demanding that he make some trades rather than keeping his portfolio static? Maybe, he was expressing his support from the Central American Free Trade agreement. See, we don’t really know.

Sure, we could believe the simplest possibility, that he wanted a trade to another team, but doesn’t that seem like we’re not giving Manny enough credit for being the nuanced, complicated man of the world that he is?

And another thing, what’s the deal with all of the demands that the Red Sox stop letting “Manny just be Manny?” In all of the columns voicing this opinion, Jose has not read a single suggestion of who the Red Sox should be pushing Manny to be if not himself. Should he be Mike Greenwell, Tory O’Leary, Bob Zupcic or any of the other bad to mediocre players who played left after the departure of Jim Rice? Is that what people really want? Should he be Alfonso Soriano? Cliff Floyd? Mike Cameron? Any of the other inferior players we could get for him?

Wasn’t Manny just being Manny when he hit the key home run off Barry Zito in Game 5 of the 2003 division series? Wasn’t he just being Manny when he won the World Series MVP?
Actually, he reminds Jose a lot of another Manny – Man-E-Faces, who, as best Jose can recall, was a He-Man character. The deal with Man-E-Faces was that he had three faces each representing a different aspect of his identity. There was the human face that was kind and good and decent, a monster face that was evil and cruel, and a robot face that was mechanical, cold and neutral. To get all of the good things that came with the human face, He-Man and pals needed to put up with the fact that he occasionally became a rampaging monster or a so-so robot. And you know what? They did. They did because it was worth it.

Yes Man-E-Faces Ramirez has multiple faces. Sometimes he’s the fearsome slugger we love, some times he’s the disgruntled, aloof diva we hate and sometimes he’s the clod in the outfield we both love and hate. But does the good outweigh the bad and the neutral? Jose thinks so. So before everyone runs Ramirez out of town, think about those faces, and then think if you really want him working for Skeletor.

For the complete KEYS visit

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