years or something? (Before you read The Peter Principles you might wanna read Lords of The Realm for some real color on the business and history of Major League Baseball.)
But, for my money and my Baltimore heart, you certainly are no Brooks Robinson. You’re just not. And you ain’t close to Ripken, either – no matter how many rings you wind up with and stats you rack up over the next dozen years.
There’s no statue coming here for you. Perhaps one day there’ll be one with that Mr. Miami logo adorning your back out in front of that billion dollar circus tent in Little Havana if you go play there when you are 35? Or maybe you’ll go to New York and make it big.
Or Boston? Or Chicago? Or Philadelphia? Or Los Angeles?
But, wherever you go, it’ll be better. It has to be. This is the Siberia of the big leagues. Bad ownership. Bad marketing. Bad team. Bad players. Bad farm system. Bad $400 million catfight with the team 40 miles away that still plays Major League Baseball. Bad mojo.
Baltimore isn’t “big league” enough for a legend like you from Miami.
And, as you’ve seen at spring training and throughout the organization, the worst is yet to come.
And, much like everyone else around your locker room, I’m sure you hear from your buddies around Major League Baseball about how much better, nicer, cooler, significant, etc. their franchise, clubhouse, hotels, experience is in City X, Y and Z. That’s always been enticing and you’ve always had your eyes open on every road trip from the minute they put you in the pink tutu.
You’ve always wanted this.
Your agent has always wanted this.
The MLBPA has always wanted this for a guy like you and Bryce Harper to set the market that Mike Trout didn’t particularly exploit.
And you are a SHORTSTOP! We know this.
You’ve told us again and again even though every expert and sabermetrician and stat nerd would tell you that you are a third baseman. And if you’re not one now, you will be a very expensive one by the end of the contract you’re about to sign.
But whether you’ll play like you’re worth the $300 million you’ll get between now and when you’re 36 will tell the true test about the size of that statue you’re looking for in City X. Here’s a hint: it’ll probably be measured by the parades and rings.
I don’t think you’ll be another Fred Lynn bobblehead or a Garry Sheffield or, God forbid, some kind of sad representation of your very wealthy current-but-not-for-long teammate Chris Davis.
At the end, you’ll probably be what Mr. Angelos once called Bobby Bonilla – “a DHer” – in the National League once they adopt the rule for a dozen guys like you to hang around from 2025 and beyond. You’ll hit 500 bombs. You’ll drive in a lot of runs. You’ll get 3,000 hits. You’re young and have survived the worst of it.
But always remember that slump last year! Your Facebook “one year ago today” timeline wouldn’t make you pleased. Your last name looked more like Mendoza than Machado.
That said, I wouldn’t bet a dollar against you being a Hall of Famer, especially if you go somewhere that they bust your ass every day to maximize your greatness instead of allowing you jog out ground balls here.
I’ve been on the radio here for 27 years – longer than you’ve been alive, son! We don’t make that kind of argument for a lot of 26-year olds in a Baltimore Orioles uniform. So putting you in the Hall of Very Good for the time being makes you “special” to me.
But, you might not be, either…
Manny, I watched you spend 100 days chasing not-so-Super Mario last summer so I can see where you might turn into Chris Davis somewhere later in your journey. Like milk spoiled…
I’ve seen you brawl with Josh Donaldson. I’ve seen you throw bats. I’ve seen you throw tantrums. I’ve seen you jake it. Now that I think about, I’ve seen you jake it a