Shortly after Manny Ramírez was suspended, Posh Tosh hustled up some tickets to the July 10 game at Miller Park against the Dodgers. I’ve been saying our conversation about whether Manny would be back by then is a perfect example of the average fan’s attitude toward steroids.
Me: He’s suspended for 50 games… so that’s like, July 3.
Posh: So he’ll be back?
Me: Do you hear what I’m saying? He was suspended for 50 games. For maybe cheating. For using a female fertility drug to maybe mask steroid use.
Posh: I don’t care. I want to see him play. Maybe we’ll get to see Manny vs. Manny.
And I didn’t either. That’s the rub, folks. When we heard about Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, it was disappoint, because yes, 1998 was thrilling. But they play for rival clubs and are kind of pompous anyway, so I don’t mind their legacy tarnished. I never liked A-Rod, especially during his spray tan, blonde-tip phase, so it’s fun to see him lie to Katie Couric.
But I like Manny Ramírez. So I don’t care. I hate Barry Bonds for breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record, so I won’t roll out the “he had Hall-of-Fame numbers before he cheated” argument for him. But I would for Manny. Leave Manny alone!
The other item in this conversation is Posh bringing up the possibility of seeing Manny (Parra) vs. Manny (Ramírez). Even if Parra had lived up to his “considerable potential” this year, it would be fearsome to watch him face one of The Best Hitters in Baseball.
But if we get to see it now, with Big League wins and losses on the line, it will have already happened, in an alternate reality just east of Mannywood. With one Manny coming back from suspension and the other trying to get his game back together, they met in the minors. Here it is, a brief recap of Manny vs. Manny, and while the story doesn’t focus much on the Parra part, you can see it in the announcer-less video — that’s Parra, all right, in the Nashville Sounds uniform, getting the slugger to strike out and ground out.
It’s also the episode the brought “meh” into the lexicon, meaning extreme indifference. It wasn’t the first appearance of the word, but at the beginning of the episode, the Simpsons children spell it out for the viewing public, giving a spelling that could be repeated ad infinitum in chat rooms and text messages.
Homer: Kids, how would you like to go to ... Blockoland! Bart & Lisa: Meh. Homer: But the TV gave me the impression that — Bart: We said, “Meh!” Lisa: M-e-h, meh.
Whether Manny took performance enhancers, whether Manny ever gets his pitching game together — it’s clear, and we’re reminded — it’s all entertainment. It’s all part of the show.
That’s all, folks.
* Check out Bugs Bunny’s destinations: Los Angeles, Pamplona when he wanted the Coachella Valley, the South Pole from the Coney Island Baths, Pismo Beach for the clams — “and maybe a right turn at La Jolla.” Bugs is a straight Old Hollywood player.