There’s been a lot of talk this week about how the fans will react when Manny returns to Fenway tonight. I can’t believe there’d be any question. The guy played a critical role in helping us win two World Series. When he steps to the plate, you get on your feet and clap your goddam hands. Then you sit down and root for our boys to shut him down.
On the other hand, Tony Mazz and his fellow writers would like to remind you that Manny quit on the team, did some steroids, stole fresh-baked pies from the orphanage, left the cake out in the rain, sunk the Titanic, tarnished the good name of Dick Van Patten, plagiarized whole chunks of Camus’ “The Stranger,” and inappropriately touched a statue of Grimace in a Burlington McDonalds.
They can keep talkin’ for all I care. I hold my ballplayers to the following criteria:
1) Did he ever punch my mother?
2) Did he leave us for the Yankees?
If the answer to either of those question is “yes,” then I can’t hang. Otherwise, we’re good.
Besides, I need to thank Manny for giving me one of the greatest memories of my Red Sox fanhood. It was Fenway Opening Day, 2001. The last opening day game my Dad and I went to. Manny’s first at-bat in a Sox uni in front of the home town crowd. We’re down by three, and on the first pitch, the guy goes yard with two men on. Just like that, the game is tied, the place goes shitmadcrazy and Dad and I are jumping around like lunatics. Dad’s not around anymore, but every time I think of that at-bat, it’s like he never left.
Dad used to tell me to remember the good times and f@#k everything else. So I’m gonna do just that. I stood up for Nomar and I’ll stand up for Manny. Just like Puppet Red explains in this most shittily-filmed video.
So what about you? How will you welcome Manny?