I suppose most of you have heard about what Manny Ramirez did last night.
Manny wasn't supposed to play against the Reds. He got hit in the left hand the previous night. No broken bones, but the hand was sore, so no baseball for Manny for a day.
Then came the sixth inning. Score tied 2-2. One out. James Loney walked. Matt Kemp singled. Russell Martin singled. The pitcher's spot was up next in the order. Manny walked to the plate instead.
First pitch. Grand slam. Game-winning blow. On Manny bobblehead night. The crowd flips out. Wow.
And then I thought: There is only one player I can think of who could do what Manny does -- produce high drama, Hollywood moments, on cue, and make it look as easy as breathing.
And that guy is Reggie Jackson. For those of you who missed out on watching Reggie in his prime, well you really missed out. He drew everyone's attention with every at-bat. I know. I saw plenty of his games living in New York. And I think what we have here in Manny is this generation's Reggie Jackson.
Think about it. Manny and Reggie are highly polarizing figures. There are people who absolutely love both of them. And there are infinitely more who absolutely hate both of them. They are both powerful sluggers, two God-gifted mashers with over 500 home runs each. And both can deliver in the clutch in the most dramatic way possible. Mr. October and Mannywood.
Now, there are differences. Reggie struck out far more often. Manny is more of a student of hitting. Reggie was a much more verbose and look-at-me kind of guy. Although I think Manny is smarter than many give him credit for, he's not on Reggie's level in that department and he certainly doesn't seek out the spotlight like Reggie did.
And there are probably some Reggie supporters, possibly even Reggie himself, who will say, "Reggie Jackson didn't cheat!"
And I'll say, "Well, what about when he stuck his hip out in the baseline during the 1978 World Series?"
But I'm talking drama here. And for me, Manny is the best at the dramatic moment since Reggie strode to the plate.