Could you imagine anything more fun than the first 2009 Yankee visit to Fenway Park if Manny Ramirez was wearing pinstripes? The hype from ESPN, tabloids and elsewhere wouldn't be that fun, but that first at-bat, with the entire city of Boston raging against their prodigal son, would be a sight to see.
The whole notion of Manny coming to New York is pretty fun, actually. The patron saint of self-absorbed airheads bringing his circus to the same locker room where Derek Jeter holds sway with his bland Yankee mystique and aura personality. Sure, A-Rod brought a whole different vibe to town, but not an enjoyable one. Manny's madness is not insignificant and problems arise from it, but it's pretty damn entertaining.
That's not the reason why the Yankees are engaged in debate over whether or not to bring Ramirez to the Bronx next season. It's a nice bonus for those of us who follow the team, but the Yankees are interested in him because he's a hitter of historic proportions. The Yankees offense needs some help, Manny provides a lot more than they actually need. It also raises an interesting side question.
Could sliding Ramirez into the lineup next to A-Rod erase the kabbalist's problems under pressure and turn him into David Ortiz? Even if he doesn't do that, Ramirez would give A-Rod's critics someone else to talk about from time to time. That's two ways to make the best hitter on the team a bit more comfortable, a nice added value from a player who has plenty of his own.
He won't come cheap, though, which raises the question of signing Ramirez instead of the younger, not insane Mark Teixeira. Length of contract is certainly an issue, positional value as well, but that's where you can't discount sheer entertainment value. Manny is a don't go to the bathroom during his at-bat player, Teixeira isn't. Maybe those things shouldn't sway the opinions of baseball owners and general managers. In a world where the least talented reality TV star becomes a celebrity, can you deny that they do?