Jerry Manuel Jumps on the Manny Bandwagon

When David Wright made some meek noise about Manny Ramirez joining the Mets it was easy enough for the team to brush past it by saying Omar Minaya and the baseball people weren't interested. Wright couched his comments with the "only if he pays for his share of pizza" caveat that always follows mention of how miserable Ramirez is as a person. So if the baseball braintrust wasn't interested, it was because Ramirez couldn't satisfy that part of the bargain.

Minaya's manager isn't offering him such an easy out. Speaking to a television reporter, Jerry Manuel called Ramirez one of the best right-handed hitters of his generation and said he'd love to watch him hit every day. Stop there and you've said nothing that any real baseball man wouldn't agree with, but Manuel pushed the envelope.

"I don't have a problem with people that produce in the form and fashion that Manny Ramirez produces," Manuel said. "We don't spend, shouldn't spend that much time in the locker room, anyway."

And there you have it, Omar. If you believe that you've built a high character team that's capable of behaving like grown men, and if you believe that Manuel is a leader of men like that, why wouldn't you be interested in Ramirez?

It's easy to write it off in the abstract and to fall back on the easy excuses of his being hard to deal with, but that always leaves out the part where you let him get away with murder. Manuel's exactly right about the time spent in the locker room. You spend more time on the field and you spend your most important time on the field, so why let the less crucial part of Ramirez's day take precedence?

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