Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Oh Manny

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.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


As a Cleveland sports fan fearing the worst is normal. What isn't normal is being a number one seed that every national pundit is declaring will cake walk through the second round.

Human nature and history tell you to fear. To fear the long rest. To fear a disrepected opponent. To fear complancey. To fear the other shoe dropping.

And then just seconds into the game, LeBron sent his own message. Forget the past. I am here now. Witness.

That dunk didn't win the series. There is a lot more work to do. But it erased a lot of fear and bad thoughts. The kid is the real deal. He knows it. His teammates know it. But most importantly his opponents know it.

Strap in for what promises to be a month and half of fun.

Monday, May 04, 2009

LeBron MVP off the court

I recently reconnected with a college friend who is from the Detroit area. She mentioned how she is no fan of that LeBron. She said the way the media falls all over him makes her nervous. She wants to cheer for a team of good players and not just one superstar.

LeBron isn't perfect. There is the Yankees hat, hanging out on the sidelines with the Cowboys, he celebrates a little too much and acts like he is shot when he gets fouled.

But I have watched LeBron play basketball since he was 16 years old. It is amazing the man he has turned out to be. He had so many opportunities to mess this up. There were signs his senior year that he could make some mistakes. No one would have really blamed him. On the cover of SI as a high school junior. Given loads of cash three years before he could legally drink. Put on his hometown team surrounded by players like Ricky Davis and Darius Miles.

Instead he has grown up a solid citizen and the perfect teammate. The NBA's MVP is about on the court. There he has battled Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade for that right. But off the court there is no comparison. You don't see LeBron in the tabloids for marital problems. He could have demanded publicly his way out of Cleveland years ago. Kobe is always going to the media with his team issues. LeBron avoids that route.

Many compare LeBron to Michael Jordan. LeBron is a completely different player. Jordan left no doubt he was the man. He wasn't friends with his teammates. He wanted to win everything at all times. It led him to greatness but also loneliness. LeBron lifts his teammates not only with his play but also with his personality. LeBron could easily demand Jordan-respect from his teammates but he engages them. You can tell this Cavs team is having fun. His teammates not only respect him for his play but they love him for the man LeBron is.

And for his Cleveland fans, LeBron will never come out and say it but I think he has started to get it. He won't turn his back on his childhood heroes --the Yankees and Cowboys-- but I think he now understands our passion. Two years ago he would have worn a Cowboys jersey in that ad. Before the playoffs he acknowledged our hurt through the drive, the shot and Mesa. He wants to end our pain. Just having LeBron acknowledge that meant a lot to me.

LeBron could break our hearts yet here in Cleveland. You never really know who someone is. But I tip my cap at the man LeBron has become.