There are few things I love more in sports than irresponsible minority players who send white sportswriters into a tizzy. Putting aside my favorite (Chicago) teams, my favorite basketball player of all time is Allen Iverson; for football it’s Randy Moss. If you have a combination of hip-hop swagger, amazing speed or power, and the ability to make Rick Reilly froth at the mouth at the mere mention of your name, you have a fan-for-life in D.S.C.
So it’s not surprising that Manny Ramirez is my favorite non-Cubs baseball player of all time. I love it all… his arrogant waves after the sarcastic cheers when he finally caught a pop-up in Fenway; the disappearing into the Green Monster wall for smoke breaks during play; the pretending not to speak English when it suits him (also a Sammy Sosa favorite); selling his lawnmower on eBay; all of it. There is no doubt that he would be the most fun athlete of all time to smoke weed with; I picture Manny making hilarious, nonsensical Spanglish jokes while cooking up some Chilaquiles seasoned with the ash that’s dropped in from his joint.
Because the Dodgers were looking to cut payroll, and the White Sox are deluded enough to believe they have a playoff shot, I have had to reconcile myself to Manny as a member of my most hated team. Every time I’ve seen those dreads poking out from under that evil black helmet, a little bit of me has died. The only solace is the good chance that Manny thinks he’s playing in Wrigley.