Zen and the Art of Manny Maintenance
Through the eight seasons that Manny Ramirez has graced us with his presence, we have been treated to the different sides of his personality. There was the “Get Me the Hell out of Here” Manny (2001-03). There was the “Lovable Manny” (04-05). And finally, a combination of both the cuddly and the infuriating: the “Manny being Manny” Manny. (06-07).
Now, in what some are calling “Contract Year” Manny, we are getting something else: Manny the Philosopher. To be fair, Manny’s trip into existentialism began last year in the playoffs against Cleveland when, down 3 games to 1, he allowed that, win or lose, “It’s not the end of the world.”
Predictably, those upholding the noble traditions of baseball blew a collective gasket. How dare he? It’s not the end of the world? He clearly doesn’t care. Clearly. Seven straight playoff wins, and another World Series title later, it’s safe to say that Manny does indeed care, and that he probably has a much better perspective on things than any of the rest of us.
Could it be, after all these years, that Manny is just smarter than everyone else?
Here, then, is the collected wit and wisdom of Manuel Aristides Ramirez since March.
April 18 (Globe)
“I don’t think much. I love my job. I love to compete.”
“He gave me a good pitch to drive, so I drove it.”
April 17 (NY Times)
“I’m trying to get a hit against you. You show me up, that’s good. I want to show you up. I’m not trying to disrespect nobody out there. The game has changed. I’m just trying to have fun.”
“Just because you play for the Red Sox and they play for the Yankees, you’re going to go and kill each other. Come on, you strike me out. That’s good.”
“After all this is over, all I want is for my kids to go to college and to be their best friend. That’s all I want. I don’t care about home runs or whatever.”
April 15 (Globe)
“I just like to come and play the game and go home.”
“Like a fastball. It was something like 80. Or a change. It was right there.”
“Why isn’t it going to work out? Of course it’s going to work out.”
March 21 (Herald)
“I’m going to get to 600. Why not? The sky’s the limit, there’s no limit … I’m going to play six more years. There’s no doubt I can do it.”
March 12 (mlb.com)
“I stay with the greens. Everything that’s green is good. I feel lighter, faster.”
“It’s about what you want. If I come to you and tell you I want to take you to my house and cook you a steak, then you’ll know. Because what it is is if you think positive stuff, all the positive stuff is going to come to you. Making things happen for yourself. Hey, that’s what it’s all about. If you said to yourself, ‘Oh, I’m tired today, brother.’ Then you’re going to be tired all day. That’s it. That’s what it’s all about.”
“You’re blessed. That’s why every day you can’t complain. You’re making so much money and your kids are healthy. And you got everything you want.”
In sum, Manny is an eternal optimist who enjoys his job, and likes to have fun doing it. He is a vegan (possibly) who will cook a complete stranger a steak in an effort to get to know them better. He understands that he’s got it good, and he tries to not fill up his life with too much inconsequential bullshit. Finally, he wants his kids to like him when he gets older.
That doesn’t sound like an idiot savant. That sounds like the makings of a best-selling self-help guru.