Sunday, April 10, 2011

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: Manny Retires

Manny in spring training, 2008

It ends like this? It has to end so disgracefully? I guess there's no other way it could end. I'd given thought a few times in the past about how Manny would go out. I sort of assumed he'd retire during a mid-season at-bat with a 2-0 count. He'd call for a time out, turn to the ump, hand his bat over and say "I'm done, man," then he would just walk off the field and jump into a car and we'd never hear from him again. That would be a fitting end for the career of Manny, and it would have been an end I could enjoy.

I'm not enjoying this. Hearing that he retired after being notified of another problem with a drug test, well, it doesn't surprise me, but it does break my heart. It's become pretty fashionable to hate Manny. I understand that people have issues with the way he left town, and I can't tell anyone they're wrong for how they feel about the guy. While I was very hurt with Manny leaving town, I never hated him and I never stopped rooting for him. I couldn't. I fell in love with that swing the first time I ever saw it. I watched that man either contribute to so many wonderful moments, or provide his very own wonderful moments for years. He was on two World Series champion teams, and I can't forget that, but that swing... man, it was just beautiful.

Manny hitting his 500th HR (Baltimore, MD)

I'm so disappointed in him testing positive again, if that is indeed the case, because he was obviously so arrogant to think that he wasn't going to get caught. I don't know. I just don't know what to say about Manny. I think I'm going to have to bury my head in the sand and ignore the talk of juicing just so I can continue to enjoy my memories of Manny. He made me happy in his time with the Sox, and that's more than I can say about so many other players. When I'd see him come to the plate, I'd smile... and I am keeping that with me. Others can hate him for all the stupid things he's done. I'll never convince those who don't like him to like him, and I don't even want to. You don't have to like him. I do, and I'm sad to see him go.

So, this is goodbye, Manny. You broke my heart again, but I still hate to see you leave this way.

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