By Connor Buestad
***This piece was written under the assumption that there were at least a few power hitters in today’s modern game that were not on the juice. Appartently, I have was mistaken. My apologies. ***
If you are an orange blooded Giants fan, you probably have an opinion on Manny “Man Ram” Ramirez, and a strong opinion at that. Maybe you are convinced he is bad for the game. A lazy, self centered, money hungry athlete, that could care less about anyone but himself. Possibly, you despise him for the simple fact that he wears blue and plays for the evil empire that is the LA Dodgers. Or maybe, just maybe, you just look at the guy and can’t help but smile.
For the past three nights you’ve watched him lollygag for 9 innings at a time. Wearing an oversized #99 jersey on his back and cartoonist dreadlocks on his head, Manny takes his place in left field at Pac Bell Park. Standing on the hollowed ground made famous by Barry Bonds, Manny looks as disinterested as ever. He awaits each pitch with his hands placed softly on his knees, his gaze fixed into a distant galaxy.
Sitting in the cold leftfield bleachers at China Basin, you take a break from shoving garlic fries down your throat to lean over and whisper to your girlfriend. “That is Manny Ramirez,” you say. “He is a selfish jerk that makes a mockery of the game of baseball. He demanded a trade from the Red Sox last year for no good reason. He never hustles, always complains, and is just a plain ole bad dude.”
Somehow, however, this story doesn’t stop there. You find yourself explaining to this particular girlfriend that Manny is a career .315 hitter and owner of 531 homeruns. You inform her that he has never been accused of using steroids. You find yourself embellishing on the fact that Manny was magically able to bring not one, but two world championship trophy’s to a city that long ago convinced itself it was cursed.
Appropriately enough, your story is briefly interrupted by the loud crack of a Manny Ramirez gap shot. You look on in guilty awe as he moseys into second base with a double, grinning all the way. As Giant bleacher creatures sigh a collective groan, you take the opportunity to continue telling the Manny saga, one story at a time.
You explain the time that Manny once played a Major League Baseball game while listening to his iPod thump blasting in his left ear. You continue with the story of how during a pitching change at Fenway Park, the Red Sox game was delayed because the leftfielder that day decided to get lost in the Green Monsta. You finish by describing a play from last year in which Manny actually high fived a fan sitting beyond the leftfield wall in Baltimore. During the middle of a play, mind you.
Walking to the exits on this night, your mind is occupied by two thoughts. How you hate Manny Ramirez and how you can’t wait to arrive at your seat on the BART train. Your Manny stories have only just begun.