Sunday, June 10, 2007

Manny being Manny


Any New England sports fan who hasn't been living in a cave for the past five years is well aware of the three words used to explain Boston Red Sox enigmatic outfielder Manny Ramirez's unique behavior:

"Manny being Manny."

Manny disappears into Fenway Park's "Green Monster" during a game? Chalk it up to Manny being Manny. Ramirez fails to run out a ground ball to first? Manny being Manny. Ramirez bobbles a catch on a routine fly ball, then throws a runner out on a seemingly improbable play? Manny being Manny. Ramirez stashes a water-bottle in left field and sips on it between pitches? Manny being Manny. Ramirez goes to bat with a bag of sunflower seeds sticking out of his back pocket? Definitely Manny being Manny.

The guy's unique. Some call him a disgrace to the game. Others simply label him an enigma and accept what comes. Regardless of where you stand with Manny's antics, there is no denying that he is (still) one of the best pure hitters in the game of baseball. Even after an unusually slow start, Manny is now batting .293 with 33 RBIs, 32 runs, and 8 home runs. How is it that I'm so familiar with - and vested in - Manny's numbers?

It's because he's on my fantasy baseball team.

A few months ago, one of my students invited me to join his Yahoo Fantasy Baseball League. I am glad I accepted his offer, as it's been quite exciting tracking the weekly victories and defeats of my team, The Alliteration Animals.

Right now we're 4th out of 10 teams. It took me awhile to get the hang of how the scoring was done and when to drop and add players, but I think I've figured it out.

Playing in the league has allowed me to interact with my students in a venue outside the classroom, and frankly, it's been a lot of fun. I've always been a somewhat competitive guy who enjoys a bit of playful trash-talking. When my team does well, I make sure my students know. And when my team hits a road-block because of a stupid trade I made, or player I forgot to include on my active roster, my students respond in kind.

Another benefit of playing fantasy league ball is that my students get to see another dimension of Mr. B-G. While I still (for the most part) maintain my "B-G classroom persona," there are brief moments when the non-teacher aspects of my personality are revealed. These non-teacher traits are the qualities that make us all multi-dimensional and human, rather than drab, synthetic drones.

For example, the classroom B-G would encourage and console a student who did not succeed. The fantasy league B-G might taunt a player who is losing, and gloat after a victory.

Speaking of which, my team is currently up 6 to 4...

Image from www.jaimecervantes.netfirms.com, accessed 6/10/07