Manny Being Indianny, Going Back To Cleveland?

Generally, when an athlete mentions another team and how much he’d like to play for them, the typical fan’s response is a frothy blend of outrage, disgust, and plain American crazy. Imagine the howls from Atlanta if, in 1998, Greg Maddux had mused to the press about returning to Chicago at some point as his career wound down. That’s exactly how his career unfolded, of course, incurring no wrath. It’s not what you do, it’s what you say, it seems.

Manny Ramirez Cleveland SI Cover
(Yes, that lineup was pretty good.)

But Manny Ramirez is no ordinary athlete; he’s a dangerous mix of honest and flighty, which means the thoughts that ordinarily wander through peoples’ heads for a few minutes before being forgotten forever end up coming out of Manny’s mouth, which equals a fast-track ticket to the newspaper. That’s especially true when he muses about changing teams just 60 games into his Dodger career, like he did with the USA TODAY, um, yesterday:

“I would like to play for Cleveland one more time, to go back where I started,” said Ramirez, with the Dodgers playing their home opener Monday against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. “I have so many good memories there, why not?“I think to go back where you started is everyone’s dream.”

Frankly, it’s adorable that Ramirez wants to go to a team that doesn’t have a f***ing prayer of affording him, especially as long as professional money-fleecer Scott Boras represents Ramirez. Manny’s 37, and at this point has made more money than God Himself (though an impartial observer could take one look at the world and conclude that to this point, Manny has had a much better career than the Big Guy Upstairs). Why not take a pay cut to the point where Cleveland could afford the man and let him play out his twilight days back at the Jake By The Lake?

Well, probably because we’re still talking about Manny Ramirez and his idle musings. The proper response to the quote above isn’t “then why don’t you go already you traitorous freak,” it’s “yeah, sometimes it’s good to do that,” then just move on like his brain already has.

This is “Manny being Manny” in its purest form: honest (yet simple) discussion about himself without it amounting to anything. Surprisingly, the Los Angeles press knows this better than in and around Cleveland, where newspapers are hurriedly repeating these quotes. The LOS ANGELES TIMES, by comparison, basically yawned:

Some will try to make this into some sort of early betrayal of the Dodgers, but I don’t find this quote surprising or damaging in any way, since we know how unlikely it is that Ramirez will finish his career with the Dodgers or even in the National League.

The CLEVELAND LEADER, on the other hand?

Good news, Cleveland Indians fans. Manny Ramirez still loves the Tribe. […] For years I have said that the Indians should consider bringing back Manny as it may sway him to enter Cooperstown as an Indian.

There’s a nun’s chance in a red, fiery hell that Manny enters the Hall (and what a speech that’ll be!) as anything but a Red… Sock? As a Red Sox? As a… whatever, you get what I’m saying. Taking Manny at his word is an exercise in short-sightedness and futility; you’d think Clevelanders would know that by now.