Some pretty interesting and passionate and smart conversation happening in here over the last couple days.
I'm gonna copy the comments and just put them up in this post below, but the gist of it is best exemplified by what happened with Soriano the last week: he "loses the ball in the sun" on a fly ball vs. the Pirates and the Cubs lose one day, and the next he's knocking in the winning run in extra innings vs. the Dodgers.
Should we just take the good with the bad (loosely like how they do it in Boston with Manny Ramirez) and call those two extremes "That's just Soriano being Soriano"?
I love his bat, but you can’t win a championship with a liability at ANY position, including left field. He’d better forget about the leg (or go on the DL if he’s still injured). Meanwhile, he should be taking lots of extra outfield practice, every day. Pinella says: “nobody knows how hard he works”. Lou’s right…I don’t know how hard he works. The only evidence I have is his performance out there in left field. And it’s not indicative of enough hard work so far.
I share your frustrations about Soriano.
But I have to dispute the following comment: "but you can’t win a championship with a liability at ANY position, including left field."
Now, I'm sure you've heard of Manny Ramirez, right? He of the 2004 and 2007 World Champion Red Sox? Well, we can all learn something here. I think what Cub fans need to do is what Red Sox fans eventually did. Red Sox Nation adopted the phrase, "That's just Manny being Manny." Pure genius. These fans found a brilliant way to come to grips with a phenomenon, or in this case a player, that made them want to go berserk, but that they knew they didn't really want to make go away. "That's just Manny being Manny". What it means is - everything that I am seeing this guy do is logically inconsistent with every single one of my baseball and sporting sensibilities, but I know he won't change. And I also know that given truth serum, I would have to admit that I am damn glad he's on my team. So now I'm going to square all of this up in one tidy little sentence... "That's just Manny being Manny".
Which leads us to... "That's just Alfonso being Alfonso." Try it. It's not that hard. Just say it once. If you adopt it, then you're free to roll with the hot streaks, and throw your hands up in the air over the rest, knowing that in some maddening way it will all add up to more wins than losses.
"That's just 'Fonso being 'Fonso". Nice. I like saying it. It liberates me of the need to remain logically consistent with my baseball sensibilities. A hop before catching a fly ball?... "just Fonso being Fonso." Did he injure himself on that little bunnyhop? Oh well, he'll be back in a couple of weeks, in time to win player of the week and lead a nice little win streak. It's okay.
And by the way... I look forward to having him in the lineup in October.
Um, sorta OT, but WTH - did you read the Mariotti article today? Now we can't freaking yell at poor wittle Soriano? "SRSLY" as they say on the internets?
Mariotti article here.
I can't help it, I'm pimpin my own thoughts on that one.
Finally, I asked Red Sox expert/fan Texas Gal over at the excellent Out In Center Field to tell us the story behind the "Manny being Manny" thing because I just don't know.
Here's what she said (I edited some):
"The "Manny being Manny" thing has a long and complex history. It was something that took years to attach - his managers and media in Cleveland used to say something similar when he played for the Indians. It wasn't until 2004 or 2005 when the phrase started to be used in earnest by sports fans. It's not because he's a crappy fielder, though. To be sure, Manny won't earn a gold glove. But it's more to describe his wacky, off-the-wall behavior, not to excuse him when he drops a ball or makes a bad throw.
Like when he disappears into the Green Monster during an on-the-mound conference. Or selling a bbq grill on Ebay. Or cutting off a relay throw from Johnny Damon (remember that?) in CF. Or assuming long balls are homeruns (when they're not), and assuming short balls are out (when they're not). Or making snow angels in the grass after a diving catch. Or high-fiving fans over the outfield wall after a catch.
But he's a phenomenally, other-worldly, savant of a hitter... so I think that carries over into him getting a special treatment.
I think it (Manny being Manny) erroneously used to be used by fans who didn't know any better, and assumed Manny's quirks were the result of a lackadaisical attitude, that he wasn't working hard. Which, obviously, couldn't be further from the truth - because he busts his ass to be the hitter he is, and busts his ass on the field as well. It's just that he's wacky. He's a weirdo in such a way that everyone, including his teammates and coaches, can't help but adore him. Occasionally, that wackiness means he has brain farts in the field and does unexpected things (e.g. cutting off a throw)-- but the phrase isn't really meant to describe poor defensive skills or bad fielding per se."
So, "Manny being Manny" sounds more like a quirky personality thing rather than a quirky performance thing to me, or at least weighted that way.
And while I want to make the thing go away (in my head, at least) with something as simple as "oh that's just Alfonso being Alfonso", it's not that easy.
What do you think?
I think the Cubs swept the Dodgers and got back to hot again.
I wish Carlos hadn't thown 130 pitches.
And I'm glad Fontenot came thru along with Soriano to win the extra inning game yesterday.