Pretty interesting night of sporting activity last night. I had a little trifecta going of the interesting Texas v Seattle game that went extra innings, the Red Sox playing the Orioles and the thoroughly enjoyable UEFA Cup Final.
The UEFA Cup final, for those of you Stateside, is kind of the Champions League's little brother. For that reason itself it is getting more and more enjoyable every year. Last night saw little known 'Zenit St Petersburgh' take on Rangers of Scotland, with the Russians winning 2-0 with two beautifully worked goals. The atmosphere was really wonderful, both sets of supporters should be proud of themselves. There was a kind of innocence about the event, something that is going to be completely lacking from next weeks Champions League final. Last night there wasn't a zillionaire owner in sight. Possibly 90% of the players will never lift a European trophy again in their professional experience and it showed, both sets of players gave absolutely everything. The sheer joy on the young Russian strikers face when he popped in the first goal was uplifting.
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Manny Ramirez showed baseball fans why people should stop patronising him and just enjoy every single moment we have left of Manny playing Major League Baseball.
In the fourth inning with Boston clinging to their lead, former Red Stocking Kevin Millar hit a deep drive to left. Right off the bat I thought it had a chance to get out, but then I noticed Manny charging after the ball.
Sensationally, Manny caught it in full stride, instantly saving one, maybe two runs from scoring. Manny wasn't finished, however. His momentum carried him into the protective padding on the outfield wall, so what did he do? He high-fived a fan of course!
He then turned to the task in hand and made a strong throw to help double Aubrey Huff off first. Inning over, just like that. Sitting watching the game at first I laughed out loud, I couldn't believe I had just seen it. Whatever you say about Manny, he plays with an innocence and a joy you don't see in many MLB players.
While people are worrying about steroids, statistics, shows of emotion on the field, whats wrong with the Yankees and that joyless clown Roger Clemens, Manny just goes about his business of playing a game that is meant to be fun, entertaining millions nightly.
From now on he pretty much has a free ride as far as I am concerned, he could fall asleep in the dugout and I wouldn't have anything bad to say about him.
He is a truly entertaining showman. How psyched do you think the fan he high-fived with is going to be for the next few weeks? Imagine the reaction in his office this morning when he shows up for work!? The dude high-fived Manny Ramirez in the middle of a sensational defensive play!!
Oh Manny you crazy cat.
You just keep doing what you are doing!
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