I’m a Red Sox fan. My father introduced me to baseball and the Red Sox during the 1975 season. Because I was a young lad of 7 at the time, I expected the Red Sox to play in the World Series every year. I’ve pretty much followed them religiously since then. There was a time when I was in the Army where I wasn’t as devout. This was in the pre-Internet days, which were more difficult for fandom if you were part of a team’s diaspora. But even then, I saw them play a game in Oakland.
For various reasons, I wasn’t as into them this year. I’ve been busier at work, bought a condo, and went to a couple of weddings. This cut into my time. But lately, I’ve been thinking that part of the reason I wasn’t as into them is that I miss Manny. I thought that Manny Ramirez made the Red Sox more interesting. Who else would hide in the Green Monster? Or inexplicably cutoff a throw from center? Or high-five a fan in Baltimore while doubling up a runner? For me, the highlight of the Boston season was a steal of home. Winning’s great, but it is even better if it is done in an entertaining manner.
I called Satchel Paige Free Darko. Manny’s got some of the same characteristics, but I’m not sure if Free Darko is the correct term. I may be misinterpreting their philosophy. The Germans probably have a word for the quality in players I’m talking about; great, or very good at the least, and someone you’d make the extra effort to go see.