I have always loved Manny Ramirez. I am a Manny apologist. When someone rants and raves about how he quit on the Boston Red Sox last season, my reply is simply "Fuck Boston."
I have been waiting for the day when it is revealed that Jim Thome was cheater and did steroids. I figure it is just a matter of time. I hate Jim Thome with a white-hot passion. I will boo him until the day I die but I have always apologized for Manny.
I think the simple reason is I have always viewed Manny as a child. If Manny is not the best right handed hitter of all-time, he is at least on the list. In my view Manny was Manny. He is strange and wacky and can fall out of bed and hit a baseball. When he left us and went to Boston, I blamed his agent. I never saw Manny as his own man, who made his own decisions. Thome on the other hand acted like he was Cleveland. He portrayed himself as our hero. He said what wanted to be heard. But when it came down to it, he left us for money. He betrayed us. Thome wore a mask. Thome was a fraud. Manny was just Manny. A born hitter who is easily misled.
My view is simplistic. It is most likely wrong and it is certainly unfair. But it also how I feel.
So today's news hit me hard. Manny was banned. He claimed it was his doctor's fault. But that claim seems hollow.
On the phone, my brother asked me what happened. When I told him he said it had to be a mistake. And I said that was my first reaction but it appears to be the same drug as the Balco guys so it didn't look good. My brother asked me why would Manny do that. All I had was maybe Manny wanted a 50-day vacation in the middle of the season. Nothing would surprise me.
But the truth is most likely Manny is a cheater and always was. See how I still have the most likely. I want to like Manny. I want to love Manny. He gives me reason after reason not to and I can't help myself.
Between this news and the suckitude that is the Tribe, baseball is a real bummer right now. Thank God for LeBron James.