*Picture courtesy of Kelly*
On April 2 of this year, Gerry Callahan of the Boston Herald wrote the following:
"Ramirez has two seasons remaining on his eight-year, $160 million dollar contract, and then he'll be out of the Red Sox lineup and out of our lives for good. We're at T-minus 19 months to liftoff from Planet Manny, and then the man will disappear into Red Sox history, never to appear at NESN again."
I knew this was coming: it's sort of like tax day: you just put it to the back of your mind, force yourself to forget about it for a while, and then deal with it when it gets here.
Over the weekend, I received my Boston Herald and Boston Globe commemorative World Series books in the mail, and reading those I came across the article I quoted. Technically, Manny won't be a free agent: the team has $20 million dollar options for 2009/2010. The likelihood they exercise them falls right behind Rakes NOT getting in trouble tomorrow and the sun rising in the morning. NO WAY this ownership group is going to give 1 player $40 million for 2 years: especially not one who will be 36 at the end of next year and whose effort and defensive skills are considered by some as, well, questionable at best.
No more manic finger pointing, petting other players heads, and water bottles in the outfield. No more IPods during BP, random head first slides, and wearing Wally's glove in the dugout.
On the flip side? No more tape measure Home Runs, no more circus catches NOBODY saw coming, no more getting to watch one of the best pure hitters to ever play the game on a daily basis, and no more man hugs with Papi, Tito, the clubhouse attendant, and the guy selling hot dogs behind the Red Sox dugout.
Without Manny, the Red Sox world will be a little less brighter, a little less quirkier, and infinitely less entertaining.
Finally, I've gotta wish a Happy 33rd birthday to my younger and much uglier little brother, Mattie. You're getting old, man.
Welcome to the club.