Manny Being Manny in Mesopotamia?
Posted by Adam Blickstein
While this weekend's bombings threaten to unravel the relative sectarian calm in Iraq, the historical tensions between slugger Manny Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox front office have again reemerged during baseball's second half. Which of course makes this Manny quote that much more curious:
“I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball."
Not sure if even the Iraqi's could put up with Manny antics, though I would love to see Scott Boras lead the status of forces negotiations. So what are the conditions on the ground like for Iraqi baseball? The NY Times had it covered it in 2005:
The players laid out the bases at the edge of a fallow soccer pitch, where the grass had grown to shin height and was full of dust from sand storms. A herd of cows and sheep grazed nearby. The players drew from a communal stockpile of gloves - most do not own their own - and took turns batting and running the bases.
There were a lot of wild throws, and few hits made it out of the infield. The shortstop was out of position, playing nearly on top of second base, and for some reason everyone referred to the catcher as "the umpire." Many players in the league said they had never seen the sport played by non-Iraqis; even Mr. Ismael has only seen college or professional players from abroad on instructional DVD's and videos.
Looks like Iraq be in the market for some Tom Emanski instructional videos. I wonder how Fred McGriff would sound in Arabic...