For a while my hopes were high. He was shipped 3,000 miles away to his new home on the Pacific Coast. He left the American League altogether. He now sports Dodger blue. Out of sight, out of mind.right?But boy was I wrong. Manny Ramirez, the bumbling and stumbling outfielder with the IQ of a Chia Pet, is still killing the New York Yankees. I realized on Friday night, as the Yankees visited Fenway for their first meeting of the season against the Boston Red Sox, that the ghost of Manny still looms somewhere in that stadium (probably urinating inside the Green Monster as Becket takes the mound.)
The gloves came off early this year.
Before the game there was speculation about whether Joba Chamberlain would brush back Red Sox slugger Kevin Youkilis. The two have shared words in the past, and with Chamberlain’s growing reputation as a head-hunter, this match up was sure to ignite some fireworks. Needless to say, I love this stuff. Here we are in late April, with over 140 games remaining in this marathon of an MLB season, and this rivalry is already hot.
However, to my disappointment, no wild pitches were thrown, and no mounds were rushed. It was a heated game, but more in the sense of a traditional Yankees vs. Red Sox battle. The game remained close throughout, and when the Sox tied the game up with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, I knew this promised to be another instant classic for the vault. The Yanks retaliated with two in the seventh, and I was sure the game was all but over. I should have known better.
Bottom of the ninth, two outs, Yankees up by two, Mariano Rivera on the mound. Jason Bay approaches the batter’s box, and I say out loud, in a room full of Sox fans, “At least you don’t have Manny to butcher us anymore.”
Yes, I actually said that, and I apologize to all Yankee fans because a couple of pitches later, Bay annihilates a Rivera fastball to dead-center field. The game goes to extras, and Youkilis, the lumberjack turned first baseman, ends it with a walk-off home run.
But what does this have to do with Manny? Jason Bay came to Boston last year in a 3-way trade between the Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the L.A. Dodgers.
I rejoiced when I heard the news that the long-time Yankee killer Ramirez was headed for Beverly Hills in exchange for a rather obscure outfielder who had struggled with injuries for the past two seasons.
Now here I am, watching replays of Friday night’s game and assessing the situation. Manny and former Yankees skipper Joe Torre are laughing all the way to the bank in sunny, beautiful Los Angeles. Manny’s replacement just jacked a game-saving home run off Rivera, who continues to blow saves against the Red Sox like it’s a fad or something.
And worst of all, the Yankees are spending money like Barack Obama for a new stadium and aged All-Stars that can’t seem to put together back-to-back wins. Basically, I wish the Red Sox had Manny back. If the Yanks are going to lose anyway, I’d at least like something to laugh at.