Manny being Manny is cute until it's not. It's charming and refreshing when Boston's future Hall of Fame left fielder is putting up Hall of Fame number. Doesn't matter that he's a pain in the ass for the Red Sox to deal with. When he's hitting, high-fiving a fan, taking a leak inside the Green Monster, Manny is being colorful, fun. Ramirez has angered management, his teammates and even the fans at different points during his stay in Boston by not running out ground balls, coming up lame with dubious injuries, and acting like a spoiled child. He has also been the anchor--or co-anchor along with Ortiz--of their two World Championship teams. And when he's doing his thing, he's just a flake, irrepressible, lovable.
Ramírez sealed his fate with the club yesterday afternoon. After longtime enabler Terry Francona filled out a lineup card with Manny batting fourth, the Sox made an announcement that Manny could not play in the biggest game of the season. Seems there were problems with his right knee. Manny was a late scratch.
It was extraordinary. In the past, management and the manager would do handstands to excuse Manny's strange acts. No more. This time, the manager - apparently confident there's nothing wrong with the slugger - put Manny's name in the lineup, then sat and waited for Manny to pull himself out of the lineup. Manny complied. Never concerned with wins or losses, Manny told Brad Mills he was unable to play and took himself out of the batting order for the (thus far) biggest game of the season.
It was predictable. It was ridiculous. It was the last straw.
Former state treasurer Bob Crane happened by the EMC Club, pregame, and spoke for many fans when he said, "Manny's got to go. Enough's enough. Fans are finally sick of this guy."
The possibility exists that Manny truly has a sore right knee. No one can get inside the head of an athlete and evaluate game-readiness. If Manny's knee is killing him, there is no way for us to know, and we are wildly unfair to question his condition. I'm willing to take that chance. I don't believe him.
Could this really be the end of Manny in Boston? Cue: organ cliff hanger music.
One thing for is for sure, this is one soap opera that has nothing to do with the Yankees. I figure Manny will return this weekend and get some big hits. Then again, he might not. I won't be surprised either way. Which is what Manny Being Manny is all about. Anything goes.