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Mega-star Manny needs to be careful about unintentionally teasing Taiwan

February 27, 2010 |  1:16 pm
Manny This part I think we know: Manny Ramirez is having fun.

Now, taking anything he says seriously is something completely different. He enjoys playing, teasing, saying or doing almost anything to get a reaction. Which he does about as any well as anyone this side of a political talk show host.

But playing with minds about how long he’ll be a Dodger, what league he’ll play in next or pretending to endorse an energy drink with a highly sexually suggestive name is one thing.

Leading an entire country on is something else.

Or perhaps you haven’t heard: Manny is going to join the portion of the Dodgers going to Taiwan for a few spring games. And then again, maybe not. Stay tuned.

Manny’s name is on the list of 33 players planning to make the Taiwan trip March 12 to 14. He volunteered for the trip, though team officials are uncertain if he will make it.

"I don't think any of us know until we get on the plane,’’ said manager Joe Torre. "I think he's very interested, let’s put it that way.’’
Manny is wavering, preventing a formal club announcement. He told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez he was undecided: "I don’t know, papi. I don’t know.’’

By now, of course, the word has leaked out and they no doubt know all about it in Taiwan. And it’s one thing for the Dodgers to go with a couple of regulars, and another world to show up with Manny.

"It certainly makes it an event when he’s there,’’ Torre said. "There’s no question. From everything I’ve heard, Taiwan is pretty excited. They’re very proud of their baseball.’’

This is a time when Manny doesn’t need to be playing around. No use teasing Taiwan that a superstar is coming, only for him to wake up tomorrow and decide otherwise.

For now, the Dodgers are leaving it up to Manny, though they would like to keep to a minimum the number of players making an international flight in the middle of spring training.

"But if people want to go, we're not going to discourage them,’’ Torre said.

Just in time to discourage Manny from waffling. Go or not, but decide.

-- Steve Dilbeck, in Phoenix

Photo: Manny Ramirez. Credit: Mark Duncan / Associated Press