We all have our sports weak spots. There are those who think Pete Rose did nothing wrong. Giants fans embraced Barry Bonds when the rest of the baseball world shunned him. I guess there are a few people out there who think Roger Clemens isn’t lying. And then there’s Manny Ramirez.
I’ve written many times over the years about my love for Manny. Through all of his bizarre behavior, I stuck with him because he was such a joy to watch in the batter’s box. He may be the best hitter I’ve ever seen, and his approach combined with his apparent disdain for the fundamentals of the game once he hit the ball always fascinated me.
So, despite his recent retirement after a second failed drug test, it’s hard for me to change my view of him. I’ll miss him.
Just after his retirement, Sara Rimer, who wrote about Manny when he was still a high schooler, put together a <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/sports/baseball/26manny.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all”>new piece for the New York Times</a>. It’s a great read.
That was the Manny who at least seemed knowable, before he disappeared behind the wall of all that surreal major league fame and money. Who is the real Manny? The 18-year-old prospect with everything ahead of him, or the 38-year-old major leaguer who walked away from baseball rather than face a 100-game suspension after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs for the second time in recent years? Who knows?