I Never Drew a Manny

In his 7 1/2 years as a Red Sox, I never drew a picture of Manny. I’ve seen some great photos of him that would make a terrific drawing or painting, either due to the composition itself or the significance of the event depicted, but I never felt the emotional attachment to him as a person that is a requirement of any subject that I draw. Compounding matters is that Manny was such a polarizing figure that the market for any artwork of him was 50% less than that of someone like Ortiz or Pedro. A lot of fans just weren’t that into him.

I recognize his prodigious talent, I generally supported him through all the “Manny being Manny” antics because it wasn’t like we didn’t know what we were getting when he came to Boston, and I appreciate his role in the two World Series the Sox won during his tenure.

But his aloofness and mercurial ways ensured I’d never feel any sort of connection to him, unlike with Papi or Pedro or even Nomar. The way I feel about Manny is the way I imagine non-cat people feel about cats. Who can understand them? What’s the point?

So I am not saddened in the least by this trade. I do think the Sox will miss Manny’s bat, and if the Sox get to the postseason, I’m sure there will be a moment where I wish he was in the lineup, so in that sense I have a tinge of regret. But it’s only because I root for the Sox. I have no animosity toward Manny, but I feel like I never really “got” him, either, so seeing him go doesn’t disturb me one bit.

But the Sox do seem to have trouble with departures like these, and it makes it difficult when trying to choose a next art project to work on. It’s not like painting a portrait of the family patriarch; odds are that whoever you spend hours on trying to render in charcoal or paint is someday going to leave town in a very ugly manner, and all that time and effort seems like a silly waste (there are a few Clemenses I did that are floating around out there somewhere). I have no idea if the Nomar drawing I gave my brother-in-law back in 2000 still means anything to him, but if it doesn’t, I can’t say I blame him.

Oh, Nomar was a pain in the ass even more than Manny in some ways, but the difference between him and Manny is that I felt like Nomar genuinely cared about the team and the town, but he was an OCD type of guy who wasn’t built to articualte his feelings (and made things worse when he tried), and ultimately he couldn’t deal with the fishbowl that was Boston. All of which I can understand, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I still think of him as someone who was in just completely over his head in terms of what was expected of him as a baseball hero in this town and all that came with that, and as such, I feel some sincere sympathy for him. I think he felt like if he played hard and people just left him alone, things would work out and all would be OK. But he suffered through some nagging injuries and then suddenly there were some rancorous and public negotiations leading up to his contract year, and I think he was out of his element when it came to balancing such matters. And then he was gone.

But I’m glad I drew the picture of him, for several reasons. Still am. I don’t think ill of Nomar.

Manny? Manny was a scuba diver from Jupiter. I can’t even pretend to know what the hell was going on in his head, so I just sat back and watched. And it was entertaining, but in an oddly detached way. And when I think of drawing a picture of him, I just kind of shrug and think, “Why?” It’d be like trying to paint someone wearing a blank mask.

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