November 29, 2014

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Dan Coughlin: If we could all just be like Manny

Manny Ramirez is the luckiest guy in the world. Why can’t all of us be like him?
Not because he’s probably the best pure hitter in the game who is not on steroids. Steroids require a regular schedule. Don’t put Manny on  schedule.
I want to be like him because he has no worries, further evidence against steroids. His disposition never changes.
Who among us doesn’t worry? Look around you. Nobody is raising a hand. We worry about our children, our jobs, our health. We worry about the economy, the war and whether our car will make it through the winter. The other night I dreamed that my car overheated while I was checking on one of my children who lives out of town. That’s a double whammy for you.
Manny is oblivious to everything in life except a late-breaking slider on the outside corner. Nothing bothers him.
Take the other night at the Jake when the umpires took a home run away from him. Replays showed that the ball hit the top of the yellow line. The ball bounced back onto the field, where the Indians’ outfielder grabbed it and threw it back to the infield.
The play itself, the flight of the ball, the bouncing off the wall, the throwing back to the infield, took time. Then the umpires had a meeting, Boston manager Francona argued, and when it was over, the umpires ruled no home run. It was a single, because after all that commotion, Manny was still standing on first base. A guy like Casey Blake probably would have hustled it into an inside-the-park home run. Manny’s not going to wear out his body. He is 35 years old and has 490 home runs. Considering how he conserves his energy, anything is possible.
Later that inning, he was thrown out at the plate because he didn’t slide. Did Francona scold him in the dugout? I seriously doubt that.
It’s not unusual for Manny to forget the number of outs. He’s right out of Mad Magazine. “What, me worry?”
Earlier this season when the Red Sox were playing here, some Cleveland fans were hooting at Manny during batting practice.
“Did it bother him?” I asked.
“Heck no,” said a young girl. “He waved for us to come down closer to the field. He asked us to come to his hotel after the game and told us his room number.”
“You’re sort of young for that, aren’t you?” I said.
“I am but I was with my mother and she isn’t,” the young girl said with a carefree laugh.
A co-worker said,  “I’d like to know more about Manny. What kind of car does he drive? Does he have a pet?”
I’d like to know if Manny has a driver’s license. When he was a young player with the Indians, he got a speeding ticket near Jacobs Field. When he finished his business with the officer, he made a U-turn and promptly was given another ticket by a policeman going the other way.
Manny never complained. He never gets into arguments on the field. I don’t think he ever has been thrown out of a game for arguing. When he gets called out on strikes, he just turns around and walks away.  
Years ago Tony Rizzo made it a ritual to ask Manny for an interview.
“Tomorrow, big daddy,” Manny always said.
It was like the sign at the bar, “Free drinks tomorrow.”
Manny was born in the Dominican Republic, but most people think he’s from another planet.
When he consented to a rare interview in Cleveland earlier this week, Manny triggered a major controversy in Beantown by assuring everyone that if the Red Sox failed to reach the World Series, it was not the end of the world.
He never said which world he was referring to.
Dan Coughlin is a sports columnist for The Chronicle-Telegram and a sportscaster for FOX 8. Contact him at ctsports@chronicle.com.