situation. But the Cardinals are slowly and surely choking away a division they should have wrapped up in June, and I desperately need something to take my mind off them.
Manny Ramirez, the guy who every team would have killed for approximately four years ago now has found himself on his third team in two-ish years. Yes, his game has slipped a bit in terms of offensive production (his fielding prowess was never existent). And sure, there was tat PED suspension that tarnished his previously surefire Hall of Fame career. However, this is a guy who still posted a .950 OPS after that suspension - while having to struggle through the pains of actually playing the field. Imagine him being able to focus purely on batting all last season. Do the numbers bump up? Definitely.
Although, I'm not sure if the required fielding, lack of PEDs, or late age are what have really eroded Manny's game over the past few years. Let's not forget that he managed to put up a 1.031 OPS in 2008, including 1.232 down the stretch for the Dodgers.
So what has gotten to him you ask? Himself, I believe. Manny simply got tired of being Manny.
The picture above is not actually the best representation of Manny at his Español-only press conference he gave yesterday. Overall, he seemed defeated and beaten down. The guy honestly looked like he needed a vacation.
I can't blame him. At the beginning of the "Manny being Manny" period of history, do you remember how fun he used to be? He popped out of the Green Monster, called his road beef, and seemed as though he purposefully misfielded that ball in Seattle all for entertainment purposes. He was a comedy juggernaut. And he also knew exactly what he was doing.
But unfortunately for Manny, ESPN jumped on the bandwagon and decided they would run the Manny show - prompting the rest of the media to join in. And that's where things went downhill for him. Beforehand, it was Manny handling his own image with his antics. Afterward, the media took what he had done for a few laughs and absolutely beat the high jinx to death. They beat it to the point where Manny came across as conceited, lazy, immature, and dumb. Not exactly the most friendly of images.
For a player like Manny who started off as a fun-loving, hard-working (and possibly roided out) ballplayer to now be categorized negatively has to hurt. And I felt that during his press conference yesterday. He didn't want to be there, so he put up the language barrier to separate himself from the media. It was sad to see the shell of what Manny used to be sitting next to Joey Cora and jumping through the PR hoops.
But here's to hoping Manny can pull things around in Chicago. I hope he finds himself again. He will only help himself, his image, and his play. And maybe make the last month of season less shitty for me as I watch Jeff Suppan and Aaron Miles blow this season the Cardinals should have dominated.