The Manny Dilemma

When Manny Ramirez was a member of the Red Sox, he caused fans a lot of headaches. Now, as a member of the Dodgers, he’s still causing Sox fans headaches.

Ramirez returns to Fenway Park as a member of the Dodgers this weekend. And, as was often the case each season of his Red Sox tenure, many fans aren’t sure whether to boo him or cheer him.

During his time in Boston, Ramirez gave us plenty of reasons to loathe him: phantom injuries that wouldn’t show up on tests but would cause him to miss games; not hustling, at times not even running, demanding trades, arguing with teammates and pushing down traveling secretaries, and, most of all, seeming to not care.

Of course, he gave us plenty of reasons to cheer. Along with David Ortiz, he was part of what statistically was the best 3-4 hitting combo since Gehrig and Ruth. AND, he just happened to be the MVP of the first Red Sox World Series in 86 years.

Ultimately, he was the worst kind of baseball player — the kind that quits on his teammates and his fans — and at the same time our Baseball Jesus, saving us from 86 years of torture.

So now, just like years ago, we don’t know whether to boo him or cheer him.

Fans booed Johnny Damon when he came back as a Yankee. But his sins were much less. All he did was go for the money as a free agent, just like 99.9 percent of all other athletes. And just like you’d do in the same situation. This despite all his heroics in the 2004 playoffs.

Johnny shouldn’t have been booed. But to me, Manny and his quiting present and much more difficult case.

Come game time tomorrow, I don’t think Manny should be booed. Face it, without him we don’t win two World Series. And maybe it’s easy now to take those for granted. But for those of us who REALLY remember what it was like before 2004, we’ll never take those for granted.

However, Manny quit, and quit many times on this team. He should never receive a standing ovation in Fenway Park, just like he should never have his number retired.

Just polite applause please, and then cheer for him to quit on the Dodgers.

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