Thursday, October 18, 2007

Manny Ramirez likes to physically celebrate homeruns that move his team within four runs of an opponent who's on the verge of a 3-1 lead in a playoff series. He likes to celebrate them as if he just had a Joe Carter World Series walk-off moment.

Manny Ramirez likes to discuss the postseason brink by expressing an ALCS failure is not the end of the world. Not sure this is what Red Sox fans would like to hear on the eve of an elimination game.

Manny Ramirez is not the sharpest tool in the shed. The guy carried a Poland Spring bottle in his back pocket... while patrolling leftfield... while a game was going on. You just can't take him seriously.

As Bronx Banter expertly relayed, the guy is an idiot savant when it comes to hitting. His god-given ability is off the charts. He will go down in history as one of the greatest RBI men. One who can hit for a .325 average, crank 40 homers or take an outside pitch to the opposite field. There is absolutely no denying his greatness at the plate. But, one of his greatest strengths is his dubious mentality. As Banter notes, pitchers have problems getting into Manny's head because, "You can't outsmart a dumb guy."

Similarly, he's attained the mindset of an prepubescent boy. And with this immaturity, Ramirez expects certain privileges. Like immunity from criticism. For example, if your 11 year-old son, brother or nephew jumped up and down after slugging a walk-off whiffle ball homer, would you scold him? Of course not. The same applies for Manny. If your 10 year-old second cousin decided Pizza Hut was more important than little league, you'd have to acknowledge his disinterest.

Unfortunately, the rest of his teammates have never and never will enjoy his antics as much as Manny does. The frustration of Boston beat-reporters who've grown accustomed to Ramirez avoiding critical media attention has boiled over into the player-personnel department. Mike Lowell is one of them:
“I’ve got to ask him about the hands up (watching at the plate) in a 7-2 (game). I don’t really understand that one, but that’s him.”
Lowell will probably ask Manny about it because he doesn't want to take a two-out fastball to the earhole of his batting helmet tonight.

In the meantime, the Indians passive-aggressively delivered a below-the-belt shot of their own. Before tonight's game, God Bless America will be sung by country music singer Danielle Peck, who previously dated Josh Beckett. The Indians claim Peck's appearance is a coincidence. Right, just like having an expert entymologist inform Cleveland's coaching staff that the swarming midges which derailed Joba Chamberlain are attracted to bugspray... is coincidental.

From Tom Verducci's piece:
You've probably heard too much already about those infamous sacrifice flies of Cleveland, the mighty midges that, unlike almost all AL hitters, knocked Yankees phenom Joba Chamberlain off his game. But this is too good not to pass on: When the bugs started swarming Chamberlain, a local insect expert in Cleveland telephoned the Indians with an urgent message -- those bugs are called midges, and whatever you do, do NOT use insect repellent; midges are attracted to the stuff. The Yankees practically bathed in bug spray; the more Chamberlain put on, the more the bugs swarmed him. So there you go. The Yankees can spend $190 million on payroll and still leave a blatant weakness: no, not their middle relief -- their lack of an entymology expert.
Tough pill to swallow. Not to say that New York would have won the series had Chamberlain made it through the 8th inning unscathed, but it would have been dead even going back to the Bronx. Have to like their chances within that scenario, but Cleveland deserves much credit as they simply outplayed the Bombers when it counted.

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