Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who is Manny?

Despite dozens of beat reporters covering the Red Sox every day, the essence of Manny Ramirez does not seem to warrant much coverage. A few years ago, Kevin Millar popularized the slugger's loopiness as "Manny-being-Manny" and that, it seemed, settled it. (The "Manny-being-Manny" is itself a reference to the post-1962 Richard M. Nixon, a "New Nixon" who would throw aside his handlers and "let Nixon be Nixon," all as documented by Joe McGinniss.)

Manny was the topic of a lengthy profile in last week's New Yorker. Among the never-before-heard anecdotes: like George Foreman, he has named his first two sons "Manny Jr."; he didn't keep track of balls or strikes (until he had two strikes) when in the batter's box; and:
A running joke in Boston has it that none of Ramirez’s coaches know when he gets to the ballpark in the morning, because he’s always there (if sometimes napping) when they arrive.

Why haven't we heard that before? Perhaps because the fact that Manny-is-the-first-to-arrive at the ballpark every day does not really fit with the Manny-being-Manny meme that otherwise drives the coverage.

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