Friday, April 18, 2008

Manny being Manny

MLB would be lost without a personality like Manny Ramirez.

We've got Curt Schilling who makes headlines via blogging, Jimmy Rollins and Hank Steinbrenner who make headlines by talking to the press. We've got Pedro Martinez who isn't afraid to drill a guy, say he drilled the guy on purpose, then drill him again. Quite frankly, they all back it up, too. Schilling and Pedro, when healthy, put up decent numbers. J-Roll won an MVP. Hank puts enough money into his franchise to guarantee a 90-win team.

Then there's Manny.

He doesn't talk too much. He doesn't bitch and complain. He just goes out there and does his job, and does it well. But then his personality kicks in. Throw it up and in? He'll point his bat at you. Pitch around him? He'll take first base and let Lowell, Youk, and Varitek do the damage. Make a mistake on the inside half of the plate? He'll hit the ball 450 feet, hold the bat in his finishing position, up nice and high, watch that ball soar, drop the bat, maybe stare for a few more seconds, and then get into that home run trot. Hell, he'll even do it if he hits the ball 350 feet off the left-center wall. Manny likes singles (even if he's thrown out at second)!

That's how Manny makes headlines.

It's a beautiful thing. Watching a flawless swing and a majestic hit. In last night's Yankees/Red Sox game, after Manny's second inning home run off of Mike Mussina, Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay commented that you can't fault Mussina for giving up that hit--nobody on the Yankees can get Manny out consistently. Hell, he's third on the all-time list in career home runs against the Yankees with 55. That's a lot of home runs.

Flash forward one inning. Manny is up again. The first four pitches are outside or on the outer half of the plate. Kay comments that Mussina is hell-bent on getting Manny out on the outer half of the plate and says he just can't put one inside unless it's way inside.

Next pitch? Not inside enough. "SSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEYA. A home run for Manny Ramirez!"

Later in the game, Kyle Farnsworth threw a 97-mph heater behind Manny's head. He dropped his bat but didn't even look out. He just continued with his at-bat and the Sox went on to win the game.

After the game, Manny had this to say:
"They've got to back up their players and he did."

He also said this:
"I'm going to 600 [home runs]."
(he's at 495)
He knows about 25 of those will come against the Yanks.

Just Manny being Manny.

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