Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baseball's Rock in the Shoe

Manny Ramirez holds a certain fascination for Red Sox Nation. Sox fans recognize Ramirez as a complex man, with remarkable talent capable of great individual achievement. They also see a playful side to the man who sometimes enjoyed the give-and-take with fans.

But fans also saw a petulant and inconsistent side to the slugger, the feigned injury, variable effort, the assault on the traveling secretary, and the ultimate insult, Ramirez' quitting on the team. We wondered whether Ramirez pinch-standing appearance against Mariano Rivera was a "dead man walking" at bat. Manny left the Red Sox no choice but to get ANYTHING for him, and the Sox came away with a legitimate replacement, Jason Bay.

Two words summarize Ramirez and his agent, Scott Boras. TALENTED NARCISSIST. Both function among the leaders of their craft. Both have extreme ability. And both show the uncontrolled ego that hurts their image. Ramirez' humble origins probably contribute to his insatiable contract demands. As for Boras, bringing A-Rod's contract to the fore during the World Series reflected his need to be the ringmaster of baseball's circus.

Both Ramirez and Boras will probably both achieve entry into Cooperstown. Ramirez and Albert Pujols are the premiere right-handed bats of their era. Boras ranks along with Gene Orza and Donald Fehr as the greatest administrative anti-heroes of this baseball generation. We could only wish not that they go away mad, just go away.

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