I know. I know. Another dialogue column, this one coming a week after my “step back from the ledge” Cubs column of a week ago.
That said, I liked the idea of a jerk like Scott Boras finding even himself incredulous in dealing with an even bigger jerk in Manny Ramirez.
So that’s what I was working toward, with a Manny more concerned about money and getting what he wants than winning. That’s why, in my column, Manny knows details about his contract and money, and understands few details about other things. It’s exactly how I envision him, as a guy who, once during a rehab assignment in Triple-A, held up a game as he fished through the dirt around third base after he lost a diamond stud earring while sliding headfirst.
Here’s the column:
A talk with Manny
It’s Tuesday night. The Los Angeles Angels’ John Lackey just missed on a no-hitter. It was broken up with one out in the ninth, but it could’ve been broken up sooner had Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez legged out what might have been an infield hit deep in the third base hole.
But he took 5.7 seconds to get down the line.
And a chorus of boos.
And a massive headache for superagent Scott Boras, who picks up his cell phone and dials.
“What are you doing? Tell me. Tell me what you think you are doing. Exactly how does this help?”
“Hi Scott? Hi Scott?! That’s what you got?”
“They’ve got to trade me now, right?”
“So that’s what this is about?”
“They don’t want me here anymore. You remember. They tried to suspend me after that stupid trainer wouldn’t get me the tickets.”
“You punched him, Manny.”
“But he wouldn’t get me the tickets.”
“Manny, do I need to remind you that you make $20 million a year?”
“But he wouldn’t give me the tickets! And I make $18 million. You get 10 percent.”
“What about the other night? Against the Yankees?”
“What about it?”
“When you sat.”
“My knee hurt.”
“No it didn’t. You couldn’t even tell the Sox which knee hurt. That’s why they had the doctors do MRIs on both of them.”
“Really? I was wondering why that took so long.”
“You sat because you didn’t want to face Joba. Just like you sat when Felix was in town with Seattle.”
“They don’t know that, do they? Those guys are tough to hit, man.”
“It’s pretty obvious, Manny.”
“What do you mean, ‘Cool’?”
“I mean, they have to trade me now.”
“Why do you want to be traded so badly? Finish strong, lead the Sox to another world championship, and they’ll pick up the $20 million option for ’09. I mean, you realize I got them to pay you $20 million when you’ll be 37. Who gets that kind of money at 37?”
“I don’t want the option.”
“This is another one of those ‘Manny being Manny’ moments, right? Tell me it is.”
“Why do I want their lousy $20 million when I can get four years at $100 million?”
“I thought you were the agent, Scott. If I opt out, like A-Rod, I can get even more money. Twenty-five per sounds good to me, man.”
“You think, with your numbers having dropped four straight seasons, somebody’s going to give you $25 million a year as you inch toward 40 years old? Really?”
“You’ve made that clear lately.”
“Just do the deal, Scott.”
“What deal, Manny? Who’s going to give you that contract, with declining numbers, and on top of what you’ve pulled lately? Who wants you?”
“You’re not listening, Scott. Once I get traded, I’m gonna put up huge numbers. And somebody will pay me. I mean, the Pirates need an outfielder after trading that dude with the X name.”
“Yeah. Or the Royals. And didn’t the Giants let Barry go? I play left, too.”
“But Manny, you’re in Boston. You’ve helped the Sox win two of the last three world championships. You’re an icon there. Well, at least you were.”
“Until the Sox made me look bad.”
“We’ve been over this, Scott.”
“OK. OK. So you’re really telling me you’d rather play for Kansas City than Boston?”
“If they pay me.”
“If they pay you?”
“Heck, yeah. Four years, $100 million.”
“You’ll never win there.”
“OK, look. Have a big two months with Boston, then opt out and we’ll see what we can get.”
“I’m done here. They don’t want me.”
“It’s less than 48 hours before the trade deadline, Manny. It may not come together.”
“Oh, it better come together.”
“What does that mean?”
“You’d do that again? Tank the last five weeks?”
“Worked for the Celtics.”
“No it didn’t. They fell in the lottery. They had to make a couple of …”
“You know, Manny, whenever I start feeling like the world’s biggest snake, I just think of you. It’s kind of like watching Jerry Springer to feel better about yourself.”