Manny RamirezIt may seem a bit odd to some that I’d discuss baseball on my blog. But hang with me for a bit. It was announced about an hour ago that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Manny Ramirez have agreed to terms. Manny will be wearing Dodger Blue again this year.

I’m no longer a rabid sports fan. The Dodgers of my childhood (Koufax, Drysdale, Wills, Roseboro, Gilliam, Willie & Tommy Davis; coached by Walter Alston) are no more. The big money has reduced my interest. I can’t root for a “team” because teams don’t stay together the way they used to. Sandy Koufax was always a Dodger. I counted on that. With free agency the players have a far more significant say in where they’ll play than when I was a child. AND, I strongly support free agency. The control the owners had over their players was simply wrong from any reasonable human-value perspective.

So thank goodness for Curt Flood. Due to his sacrifice players like Manny Ramirez have choices Curt never did. The consequence is that I no longer root for a team on any sort of long-term basis. I root for a city and the people wearing the uniform each year. I follow the Dodgers and hope they win.

I also enjoy the back-and-forth razzing with my Boston cousins. They were thrilled when Manny left the Red Sox. I hope the Dodgers and Sox both make it to the Series this year. My fantasy: Game 7, bottom of the 9th, Sox on top 5-4, 2 out, 1 on, and Manny steps to the plate…

And here’s the connection. Ever hear of DeWolf Hopper? A distant relative of mine, and descended directly from the slave-trading DeWolfs, “Wolfie” (1858-1935) was a comic actor who made famous the poem “Casey at the Bat.” He is said to have performed it 10,000 times throughout his career.

Now I know what you’re thinkin’ (Dain, Constance, and Dave in particular). You’re waiting for that last line in the poem… There is no joy in Mudville, mighty Manny has struck out. Well, this is my fantasy so it doesn’t work out that way this time… ;o)

Hanging on my office wall are photos of Sandy Koufax and Maury Wills. It’s spring (in spite of the snow in Boston). Time for our national pastime.

Play Ball!