So, NESN is playing a “Manny being Manny” marathon. Currently, they’re playing the big 2005 game against the Twins on the day of the trade deadline. This is probably one of my all-time favorite Sox games. Manny was supposedly going to be traded in some complex 3-team deal, and was not in the starting lineup. The crowd was aware of this. The trade deadline was 4pm. In the 8th inning, the game was tied 3-3. 4pm came and went. David Ortiz was intentionally walked, and Manny came in as a pinch hitter. The crowd goes crazy as soon as they see him step out of the dugout. He hits a little base hit and Edgar Renteria scores. The crowd goes double-crazy.
“Manny being Manny” had been a phrase that up until that point people used semi-derisively– sure, he’s a great slugger, but you can’t always depend on him, say, knowing what inning it is, or how many outs there are, or to not disappear into the green monster to take a wee wee or chat on his cell phone. Those little antics were just “Manny being Manny”.
But after this game, Manny’s talking to Eric Frede about not being traded, and he says “this is the place for me… it’s Manny being Manny, man”. And it’s just brilliant. There’s nothing more “Manny being Manny” as Manny saying “Manny being Manny”. Because you don’t know if he really quite gets that it’s used semi-derisively, or if he does and he doesn’t care, or— and this is my favored interpretation— somewhere on the odd planet that Manny lives on, which the rest of planet Earth can see only with the most powerful telescopes, he has heard the term, and, he interpreted this as a compliment. Regardless of why he said it, the fact that he said it instantly turned the whole thing on its head. Planet Manny and Planet Earth’s orbits came a little closer, because from that point on, it was no longer semi-derisive, it was simply descriptive.
Also, watching that game now, I forgot how weird it was: it was an early game featuring Jon Papelbon. Curt Shilling came out of the bullpen as the closer. And Kevin Millar was wearing black under his eyes, and it streaked like he was in Kiss.