Kevin Cullen

Manny whiffs

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Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Kevin Cullen
Globe Columnist / July 3, 2008

There's a lovely woman at this newspaper named Louise Sullivan. She oversees the most creative writing I do: my expense account.

Whenever I travel on the Globe's dime, Louise reviews the bills. She is, in effect, the Globe's traveling secretary.

Now, imagine that one day I walk into Louise's office and tell her I just spent five nights at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris.

As I buff my fingernails on the lapel of my jacket, I casually inform her that, at $2,000 a night, the suite was a bargain, especially as it afforded me a stunning view of the Place de la Concorde.

Imagine, then, that Louise looks up from her paperwork and says, "Look, pal, we stopped printing money a long time ago, and if you think we're going to pay for you to stay at a flippin' five-star hotel in Paris, you're nuts."

Imagine that I take great umbrage at this and walk over and shove Louise to the floor.

How long do you think it would be before the Globe sent me packing? Or called the police?

If this happened in real life, Louise would simply pull the .38 snubnose she keeps in her top drawer, and that would be the end of that.

But that's not the point.

The point is Manny Ramirez is out of control and needs a dope slap.

And not just for shoving Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground in a petty argument over freebie tickets.

The Manny being Manny schtick is long past its freshness date.

We have all known a Manny. He was the kid in elementary school who was so charismatic he could get away with anything, from not doing homework to being cruel to other kids, because the teachers loved him.

He was the high school jock who got drunk after games or into a fight, and the coaches looked the other way because he was a star.

He was the rich jerk in college who treated women like dirt and still had them lining up because, well, because he was rich.

We've all known Mannys, and we've all secretly wished they would, once, just once, get what was coming to them.

The Red Sox have become one of the richest franchises in sports by selling the idea that they are different, more special, than other teams.

And we bought it, because implicit in the deal is that we are different, that we are special: Fenway Park is unique; being a Red Sox fan is not a lifestyle choice, but an orientation.

But there is a fine line between being special and being insufferably arrogant, and Manny has crossed it.

If the Red Sox do not publicly rebuke him, not just for what he did to McCormick but for the countless displays of disrespect he has shown his teammates, the fans, and the game, then they should do us a favor and just drop all this Red Sox Nation jive.

Manny being Manny is just another way of saying it's all about Manny, as it has been since he was tearing the cover off the ball in high school in Washington Heights.

Manny's a Hall-of-Famer, but I'd be more impressed if he was a .280 singles hitter who ran out every grounder and found better uses for his millions than a fleet of pimped-up cars.

I'd be more impressed if he didn't treat so many people as if they are beneath him because he can hit a 98-mile-per-hour fastball.

Manny is a great hitter, a huge part of two World Series championships, so we'll have great memories of him.

But, for all his talent, he is the epitome of selfishness, from dogging it on the field to quitting on his teammates.

As he puts up big numbers for the next, highest bidder, he should remember that if he weren't blessed with the God-given talent to hit a baseball, instead of asking, "Where are my free tickets," he might have been asking, "Would you like fries with that?"

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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