Bleacher Report: The best reason to root for Manny Ramirez
Manny Ramirez is a blissful idiot. He’s also no one’s fool. After serving a 50-game drug suspension, Manny still maintains that he didn’t mean any harm—which would be less plausible if it weren’t such a fitting sign of the times.
Negligence means turning a blind eye to the rules.
Nihilism, on the other hand, means turning a deaf ear to the truth.
I’m not suggesting that Ramirez is clean. An innocent man never equivocates, and Manny’s fuzzy denials speak for themselves. But let’s not be too hard on No. 99. In a league where all values start with the ticket-buyer, you can’t expect a slugger to be more scrupulous than the suckers who pay his salary.
A mirror is only as pretty as the face that beholds it.
An idol is only as holy as the culture that begets it.
If we’re going to fault Manny for being Manny, we should also fault us for being ourselves.
American sports have always mirrored the American psyche. Teamwork, accountability, fair play—these are national virtues, the tenets of our civic faith. The problem, alas, is that Baby Boomers have spent the last four decades worshipping at the altar of unrepentant individualism. Hippies will argue that Manny should be free to follow his conscience. I’d counter that even Kris Kristofferson called freedom just another word for nothing left to lose.
It’s bad to automatically embrace tradition.
It’s worse to categorically reject convention.
I’d like to condemn Manny for his crimes, but condemnation is strictly prohibited by the bylaws of our brave new world.
Everyone is damned when no one is damned. A life without norms is a life without limits; a life without limits is no life at all. The best reason to root for Manny Ramirez is that he’s so very much like us, in his shameless conceit and his conceited shame. The children of the 1960s decided that right and wrong were open to personal interpretation. What that means for the adults of the 21st century is a question burnouts and Birkenstock fans will have to answer on their own.
Crucifixions are passé, but the last enhanced performer to die for our sins offered a pretty apt recap of the Ramirez Debacle:
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Which applies to the judges no less than the judged.
Because a people without principles is a people without guilt, and anyone who claims to speak with moral authority in 2009 is either bearing false witness or only just saying, is all...
--Ryan Alberti, Bleacher Report
Photo: Manny Ramirez is tossed from Tuesday's game after being called out on strikes. Photo credit: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images.