lot. Too much for my tastes.
I’ve seen you rip up your left knee at 21.
I’ve seen you rip up your right knee at 22.
And I’ve also seen you recover, regroup, adjust and persevere.
In the end, you delivered on the promise made when Andy MacPhail and the Orioles used the 3rd overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft on you. (Of course, if you were born in the Dominican or Venezuela they would’ve never known who you were but that’s another story for another day.)
Now, with the dollar signs in your eyes, I see someone who wants to get paid and win. I also see a semi-shy guy who thinks he wants the bright lights and some respect but also might not be fully suited for all that Broadway drama. But, I tip my cap to you because you’ve certainly handled this ridiculous summer-long production – now at 40 games under .500 – with a Triple Crown-caliber effort with the bat and you’ve done an admirable job with the media and your emotions and thoughts during all of this weirdness.
Maybe all of the awkward will add up in the end to something good for everyone?
Perhaps your greatness this summer has even saved the Orioles from some embarrassment because they might actually get two future contributing big leaguers like an Adam Jones and a Chris Tillman in return down the line?
My guess says they’d get the most from the Yankees for you but who knows if the Angelos lads have the belly for pulling that trigger.
But that ain’t your problem.
You’re just waiting for Buck to say he wants to see you in his office for a few minutes.
Hey, bro, I’m not a hater.
I hope you go to the Hall of Fame because it would further punctuate this awful era of Orioles baseball for what it is – letting dudes like you roll out of here and always having an excuse for being terrible or not having a parade.
“Manny didn’t want to be here” they’ll tell the those who lined up for your bobbleheads and shirts and shitty haircuts.
I don’t know you at all but I sense – and hear and see – that you’ve gotta lotta prima donna in ya. You’re not my kinda favorite baseball player but you’re a helluva baseball player.
Hey, any set of dudes that is jocking up on a daily basis with Brady Anderson have to have a little bit of “ballplayer” in ‘em to survive, so your perceived self-importance and arrogance because you can hit a baseball makes you the kind of guy who gets $300 million these days.
But with adulation and dollars comes a lot of baggage that will get heavier for you on your journey. That money won’t come for free. You’ll sign somewhere where every game will be a big one. Every night will be a more crowded environment . You know that. You’ve played at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. You’ve done your tour of the big leagues.
Now, you’ll get to pick your place with your power.
Choose wisely if you want that statue.
Cal Ripken stood in the middle of an incredible streak and signed autographs until 1 a.m. for a complete summer and then took every dime he made – and maybe more? – investing in baseball in Aberdeen and doing stuff with kids all over Maryland. He never took a day off, an inning off or jaked it when the team was 0-21. He has a Little League named after him.
He got a statue.
Brooks Robinson made a life here and treated every Baltimorean as family. He also ran out ground balls. Not fast, mind you, but he always ran hard.
He got two statues.
Oh, and about 48,000 children and pets named “Brooksie” on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
You didn’t conduct yourself here as a guy who ever wanted a statue. And certainly not anyone that I’d name my children even though “Manuel” seems like a nice name for a lad.
You wanted a legendary contract, bright lights and a chance to win.
The Orioles made their decision and you made it easier for them by not really being all that interested in them “putting a ring” on it. The fans had zero expectations because, well, I wrote The Peter Principles but every fan has lived it.
As I’ve said, I was doing this before you were born and I’ll be doing it when you’re gone. I’ve seen it all from Peter G. Angelos and the modern Baltimore Orioles!
Manny, it’s not you…
Time will tell and we’ll all come back and measure it a decade from now. As I’ve written, I just hope you’re not playing a day game for the Miami Marlins in Nashville in 2027 as a 35-year old while visiting your old franchise.
I wouldn’t have given you $300 million to play baseball here. Not here, not now, not in the condition this franchise is in at this place and time.
I don’t think you’re worth it. There are a bunch of numbers and nerd stats and sabermetrics to say that no one player would be worth that money, investment or risk. And I would’ve dealt you 18 months ago but “strategy” and “Orioles” don’t google well together.
Like the modern divorce, as a fan I’ll just consider this a “conscious uncoupling.”
Maybe you’ll sign with the Dodgers or Cubs and we’ll never see you.
Maybe you’ll be in Philly and visit once in a while?
But if you sign with the New York Yankees and expect to come back and be treated like royalty – eh, that won’t be happening.
Of course, seeing the crowds this week, I don’t think Orioles fans are going to be particularly inclined to pay to come downtown next summer or any over the next decade to even bothering booing you. You’ll hear plenty of cheers in Baltimore in pinstripes as well. Just like your buddies ARod and Jeter always did.
Go walk in their footsteps and pursue your version of greatness.
We’ll miss you in the lineup.
But you were no Brooks or Cal around here anyway.
And we’re in last place with you. And you’re jogging out ground balls and hitting .310 and waiting on the walking papers.
But this is still pretty sad and pathetic.
Adios, amigo! Good luck wherever you go. We’ll be watching in October whenever the Ravens aren’t playing…
And if it doesn’t work out, you’ll have enough money to buy a statue anywhere you want.