(AP Photo / Boston.com)
I do want to add just one more thing about last night's game--now that I'm over my tantrum about the loss (well...mostly) I do want to acknowledge one of the best moments of the season so far, even if it was spoiled somewhat by the big dump A-Rod took in our punch bowl later on.
Bottom of the seventh. One out. Manny hit a ball to deep center, and what unfolded from there made me laugh as hard as anything I've ever seen on a baseball field: as it dropped in for a hit he began running full bore as he rounded first base (yes, he did, no, really) and the harder he ran, the bigger his eyes grew.
You pretty much had to have seen it, but the look on Manny's face made me think of what David Ortiz said about him in the Big Papi book: "Manny can really make you laugh. But he doesn't always know he's doing it." He was definitely completely in the moment--if he'd looked up afterwards and seen someone busting a gut over it, he would probably have been confused.
But oh, was it funny. It was the kind of disarmingly funny thing that makes you forget everything else that's going on at that moment. The kind of thing where you just have to stop for a moment, whatever you're doing, and say, sweet, suffering Jesus, that's hysterical. Just the look on this face...
Yeah. You kind of have to have seen it--and the moment right after it, which was when NESN switched to a shot of second base with Robbie Cano manning the bag, just in time for Manny to come bursting into the frame from the right, all billowing uniform and do-rag coming undone because he'd run right out from under his batting helmet, capping off his sprint with a full-on belly-flop onto second base, which he clung to as if washed out of a volatile ocean onto a rock.
I remembered the line from Charles P. Pierce's profile on Manny in SI back in 2004: "It is the face of a great silent comic, one that Mack Sennett would have cast on the spot." Manny's face in that moment of crashing up onto second base was also something I'll never forget, but can't fully describe in words.
"Bug-eyed" is at least part of it. There was a touch of chagrin, too, a vague sense that what he'd just done was probably pretty dumb-looking, though of course he didn't even know the half of it. But that doesn't even come close to doing it justice. Suffice to say, it just, to quote a line my mother uses, "struck me funny."
That's what I think Ortiz was trying to say, though. I don't think it's too rare an occurrence for Manny to have that effect. I mean, just look what's happened to Don Orsillo from time to time.