This Manny thing is all about emotion.
It's not anger, not for me. It's sadness, weariness. Wariness as well. I'm going into Dodger games now with my guard up, with a sense of dread. It'll be worse when they go on the road. I don't even want to think about what it will be like when he comes back, when the fans are really unleashed. San Francisco, San Diego. Even LA. When he comes back he'll be a storm at the heart of the team, wherever they go. I'm not sure I want him to come back. But when I say that, I don't really know. It's not coming from a place of outrage, a righteous feeling that justice must be done, that the game must be cleansed. It's more like lingering sadness. Almost grief, but no, that's really too strong a word. I don't know what to call it.
I wish, right at this moment, that the Dodgers had not signed Manny this offseason. That wish may be wrong. It's a hasty thing, based only in the feelings of the moment, the echoing shock of the suspension. But I don't want to deal with it. I want to follow a normal team, one that just goes out and wins or loses. I don't want the headline to be about something other than the score. I don't want morality or controversy to be a part of it. These things ruin the escape of baseball.
It helps to have Vinny announcing the games. His is the steady voice, the anchoring perspective. I missed Vinny's introduction to yesterday's game, but Jon Weisman had it on Dodger Thoughts. ( I knew he would --- I've been reading that blog long enough to know something like that would show up. ) Here's what Vinny said. I like that. No one man stops baseball. It's true. Far worse things than the Manny mess have already happened this season, and baseball still continues.
A lot of people are up on their high dragons, breathing fire. It's scorched earth, scorched newsprint, scorched websites. Manny must go. Zero tolerance. Manny must be suspended forever. Manny trashed baseball. I have no use for these kinds of proclamations. Which is maybe a weird thing to say, after I said that I wish he hadn't signed with the Dodgers, after I said that I don't know if I want him to come back. But I don't let my emotion harden into outrage which overrides perspective and reason. I know I'm being irrational when I say that I just want Manny to go away. It's a childish wish.
He's coming back. Manny is coming back. He's going to serve that suspension, and forfeit that salary, and then he'll be back. And he's going to hit the hell out of the ball, too, when he comes back. He'll still be a Dodger, and he will help the Dodgers win, and I'm not going to refuse to cheer for him. It won't be the same, it will never be the same, but I'm not going to boo, or go mute. Wouldn't Furcal and his DUIs have to be the first to get the silent treatment, before Manny? We don't cheer for character, we cheer for excellence. Not that character is completely irrelevant, but it's not the driving force. We cheer for wins.