Red Sox: Mannyology

Arthur LuhnCorrespondent IAugust 2, 2008

A lot of people are glad to see Manny go out of town. A lot of people aren't.

I find myself in the middle.

To wit, Manny is one of the game's smartest, pure hitter. He is shrewd when it comes to anticipating the pitch. It is all the more confounding that this shrewdness or calculation doesn't carry over into his on-field behavior, or what he says into the microphone. Someone, long ago, told me, "People are complex beings."

Make no mistake—despite his histrionics or Manny-erism, which bordered on downright absurd—Boston has parted with a cornerstone of their famed offense, and someone who really knew how to play off the green monster.

You can hear a big sigh of relief going up in the Bronx, as their No. 1 nemesis departs for a different league. Manny has the most RBI and homeruns against the Yankees.

Was this about money?

If it were, he would have been on his best behavior, ripping the plate up, because not many 36-year-old players have a $20 million option on them, waiting to be picked up at the end of the season.

Did he, perhaps in his own way, believe that Boston was not going to pick that option up? If so, he disclosed that in such a fashion as to virtually assure that he will be lucky if he gets half that by re-signing with the Dodgers or another team.

But between you and me, don't be surprised to see the Yankees aggressively pursue Manny in the offseason. Yes, I repeat it: if I were you, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in pinstripes.

What better way to spite the organization he believes engendered a conspiracy to ship him out of town? This would really offend Red Sox Nation, in that it really proves he didn't care about the fans.

I do know Manny "thanked" the fans for supporting him. But I am not so sure that he really cares one way or another, or he would have made an effort to stay, and possibly take a cut, like Lowell did. 

I have seen Bay in action, and I like what I see. He seems to be a no-nonsense player in the J.D. Drew fashion, a player who plays with his mouth shut. A player who also has speed (a sliding catch against Oakland, in his debut, that Manny would definitely have not reached in time).

Fenway, however, is an electric atmosphere, where the fans know not just your batting statistics all the way back to kindergarten, but inside their heads are dossiers on you that rival anything the CIA or FBI could put together. Manny was oblivious, in his own weird ways, to that intense spotlight. He seemed to thrive in it.

On the other hand, I am no fan of any player who stands out individually, especially with the type of behavior that would have never been tolerated in a place 40 minutes southwest of us.

Rolling onto the ball is a grave insult, not just to Red Sox baseball, but to professional baseball, and to young, hungry players everywhere in the farm system of America that are dying for one chance to make it to the big league. Playing professional sports, be it baseball or basketball, is a very rare privilege.

Now, I am an amateur writer, feeding off of second-hand information, so I have no idea what went on in that locker room, or what went on between Manny and the people upstairs, so I can only ramble on, or babble, or wax philosophically, if only to kill a little time for you. 

I just cannot help but wish that there should have been a much better ending, a more dignified ending, but I guess, as far as Mannyology is concerned, that would probably have been an aberration. That wouldn't have been Manny being Manny.