Monday, June 2, 2008

500 not too Manny

Quite the weekend down at Fenway South. Fans who made the trip were treated to quite the collection of games. Since the team comes first, I’ll start there.

So far, the road trip is being saved nicely. What had started out as sub-par has a chance to reach the .500 level with a sweep tonight. You know how I feel about a .500 road trip. It’s all I ask out of a team. It was nice to see the variety of games too. Friday night had the nail bitter. The bullpen stayed the course deep into extra innings to allow Baltimore to give one away. Sunday’s game was a nice and easy cruise to victory. Colon looked good again. Not great, but certainly fifth starter good. It gives the Sox a lot of options with their young pitchers if he can pitch this way, even if it’s just for another month.

The story of the weekend, however, was Manny Ramirez. On Friday, he celebrated his 36th birthday. Then, on Saturday he joined the ultra-exclusive 500 home-run-club. (He also joined the even more exclusive “clean” 500 home-run club) It was fitting that #500 was a bomb to right-center. If anything is classic Manny, that is. It was nice to see Manny finally get it over with. I’m sure he was pressing a bit to get it, so it’s nice that he can relax now. (as was shown by the fact that he hit #501 on Sunday) It was also great to see how his teammates reacted. To hear them describe a teammate reaching a milestone as one of their career highlights was impressive, and a testament to what Manny accomplished. It also makes me wonder how many of Barry Bonds’s teammates reacted the same way when he hit #500.

A couple facts about Manny’s 500th stand out for me.

Of the 23 other players who have hit #500, only three have a higher career batting average than Manny. (You may have heard of them: Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, and Babe Ruth)

Best research stat heard on the radio after the homerun: The Red Sox have now had 3 players hit #500 in a Red Sox uniform. Jimmie Foxx did it when he became the 2nd overall player to do it (after the Babe). And, of course, Ted Williams did it when he became the 4th overall player to do it, after Mel Ott. So, the Red Sox had #2 and #4. Manny became #24 overall. A 2 and a 4 make a 24. And, what number does Manny wear on his back? That’s right, #24. It’s spooky.

Manny got the home-run ball back. The fan who caught it said it was Manny’s accomplishment, so he deserved the ball. (He did get some autographs in return) And what is Manny planning on doing with the ball he deserved? Auction it off for charity. So, the fan gave up a wad of cash to do the “right thing” and give the ball back, and Manny’s not even keeping it. I think I’d ask for it back. Heck, I could auction it off and give 75% to charity. Everybody wins.

I don’t know what I’d do if I got the ball. For a first home run, or other lesser milestone I’d give it back. Ask for a signed bat or ball in return. If the ball was a $40K value, maybe give it to the Hall-of-Fame to accompany my picture. How cool would it be to be able to say I was in the Hall-of-Fame? But, didn’t Murray’s #500 go for $400K? A ball I could sell for close to half-a-million? I think I’d have to take the cash…or at least think it over for a day or two.

What would you do?

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