SOUTH MAIN MUSE: Jamie Miles
“Take me out to the ball game. But could we drop by the pharmacy first?”
Never thought I and Manny Ramirez, the Dodger superstar serving a 50-game suspension, would have anything in common. But it seems we both have been prescribed the hormone hCG. I injected hCG in hopes of supersizing my ovary’s egg production. Why might Manny want such hormones – reproduction? No, he probably wanted to cover a chemical attempt to supersize his RBI production.
Why would someone with so much to lose, risk it all?
Going to the experts, I asked my son’s Madison Mini Warehouse Pee Wee baseball team the question, “What advice would you give Manny to get his baseball perspective back?” Reminders of training basics before he considered the route to the Hall of Fame best navigated by a detour into the land of hormones cultivated from pregnant women’s teeter.
Key Malone, 6, suggested, “Practice hitting it far.” Good advice. Practice if you wish to play flawless baseball or flawless Bach. Key nodded, “It’s fun to hit it way far.”
Fun. Manny, forget the pressure of an annual salary close to 24 million dollars. Find reward at day’s end with a bottle of blue Gatorade and slick package of Teddy Grahams.
Diet tips. Jordan Barnett, 6, offered “Try salads with tomatoes.” Gunnar Bray, 5, agreed. “Eat vegetables, especially tomatoes.” Lycopene, who knew?
Sensing I was missing something critical, I asked Mini Warehouse Coach Chuck Spinks what he would advise to boost Rameriz’s swing. “Oh, maybe a Monster or Vault before the game.” First, I thought Coach Spinks endorsed getting jacked up by playing some Xbox 360 game; I then realized he meant drinking an energy booster like Red Bull. (At this point, I experienced mid-life tragedy moment number 578. I’m an energy drink dinosaur.)
Still unsatisfied on my quest to help Manny, I pestered Key’s father, MCHS Head Coach Bill Malone, for his thoughts. “At this age, nurturing, encouraging coaching is most important. Emphasize the basics, but embrace fun.” Nurture. Embrace fun.
Joe Torre standing behind him at the plate clapping, “Good cut, Manny – that was so close.” Or if he remained hitless after three swings, Joe could bring out the yellow tee and give Manny a can-do pat on his little drooping shoulders. Dodger Assistant GM Kim Ng could be Team Mom. Sitting alongside in the dugout, she could help Manny tie his shoes, find his glove or separate him from Rafael Furcal when they start whopping each other with their baseball caps.
That’s what I wish for you Manny. A little nurturing, a little fun. A Coach Spinks to turn you in the right direction for your sprint to first base. Maybe it’s that simple? Maybe Manny’s directional compass just got a little confused. It’s terribly easy for 5 year olds.
And surprisingly easy for us adults too.
Printed in the May 21, 2009 edition.