Los Angeles Dodger and supposed steroid user Manny Ramirez was, for the first 12-plus years of his career, a quiet character.
Coming up thru the Indians’ system Manny was always short on words. Perhaps shy of his ability to speak english well, Manny was certainly not a vocal leader by any stretch of the imagination. It was during his time in Cleveland that then Indians manager Mike Hargrove coined the term, “Manny being Manny”.
After Cleveland, Manny moved to a city where baseball is everything, Boston. And during the first several seasons of his tenure there, Manny and the media had a rocky relationship. Manny often felt misquoted, which would lead to him going into silent mode with them for months at a time. It was obvious to see Manny was not comfortable speaking to the media. All this turned when the, “Manny being Manny”, moniker hit the mainstream media during the 2006 season. During that season, Manny pitch-hit the day of the trade deadline, after Boston had decided to keep him, instead of make a blockbuster trade involving him. Manny responded with a game winning hit, and the moniker began being thrown around the country. For the baseball community, it was finally an answer to a person they couldn’t quite understand. And to Manny, the moniker finally gave him the perfect excuse to have his “Manny-like” moments on the field without embarrassment.
Disappear in the Green Monster, cut off throws coming into the infield, think there’s 3-outs instead of 2, misplay a can of corn- all these moments of flaking out became moments that fell in the “Manny being Manny” department. A saying that to Manny was as easy as brushing his shoulder off. The perfect, easiest, most unaccountable, cop out to a boneheaded play. Yet, Red Sox fans learned that it came with the territory. Manny will hit for you, but Manny will also do everything he could to drive you insane. And you were just going to have to deal with it, cause Manny didn’t play by the same rules as all the other guys on the team.
After his ugly departure from Boston to Los Angeles, “Manny being Manny”, hit another level. In a city with larger than life stars, and where the people love and embrace the beautiful and talented- Manny had reached a new level of stardom. And with that stardom came a more animated, more goofy acting, and even odder Manny Ramirez. Even as bizarre as his character was becoming in Los Angeles- what was even more bizarre was the fact that the more Manny behaved animated (and childlike in a way), the better he hit. And the better he hit, the more vocal he became. “I think I want to end my career in Cleveland”, he said earlier in the season. Why not? Why not say whatever is on your mind, and be completely apathetic while saying it. Manny was as wide open a book as he had ever been in his career. Yet, nearly a month ago, in his his darkest hour when everyone wanted to hear Manny speak- Manny did something unlike himself the past 5 seasons, Manny went mute. Manny went back to being the under spoken, quiet character he was earlier in his career. And while angry fans demanded answers- he decided to keep his mouth shut, and keep the whole story about his positive test a complete secret.
Now- days after it was revealed by Major League Baseball that Manny Ramirez is in 4th place for the All-Star Balloting in the outfield- it is suddenly apparent that not speaking about his incident last month was the best thing he could have done.
No lies. No fabricated tales about how he accidentally took a female fertility pill or how he DIDN’T KNOW. No questions about his past and all the homeruns he’s hit, or where he got the banned substances he used- Nothing. He’s given the baseball community no information and now it’s becoming evident that it might have been his best play.
Manny, unlike the February story about Alex Rodriguez’s use of steroids- has been blanketed by the baseball season. It’s become evident that in a given day a baseball fan has too many things that are more important than Manny and his steroids use. There’s too many games to keep track off, too many scores to check, too many prospects to watch, too many highlights to see. Baseball offers too many important things on a day to day basis for it’s fans, that outweight the importance about Manny and his testosterone levels. And all that plays to Manny’s advantage as well. But if Manny continues to keep his lips sealed, than Manny will have one thing going for him. He never lied. He never told a unbelievable fable. He never said a word.
And too many people in and around baseball, that might be better than lying to the baseball fans.