- The Washington Times - Friday, July 3, 2009

Manny Ramirez is set to return to the lineup of the Dodgers after missing 50 games because of a pregnancy scare.

That was merely Manny being Manny Plus However Many, to borrow from the fun couple known as Jon and Kate.

Manny being Manny is the catchall phrase that is deployed to explain his petulant actions. Whenever he halfheartedly jogs to first base after popping out, someone will say, “Oh, that is just Manny being Manny.” Or if he misplays a ball sent in his direction in the outfield, someone will say, “Oh, that is just Manny being Manny.”

Manny being Manny has come to be a form of absolution used to justify his every wrong. Not that he ever is wrong.

Fans love him - at least those outside Boston, where his act grew tired. They don faux dreadlocks to show their solidarity. And the love has not abated because of his peculiar brush with a female fertility drug.

He blamed the mix-up on his doctor. He claimed he was being treated for a personal problem, whatever it was, and that was where it became tricky. Most men are not trying to become pregnant at his age.

Manny, in fact, would have become the first male to give birth, which would have put him in far more select company than his 500-plus home runs.

Manny appeared in five minor league games in an attempt to rediscover his batting eye. Each game was a sellout, and Manny needed a security escort to his automobile to ward off the throng of adoring fans. They forgive him. Or they understand how Manny could have been given the wrong prescription after a pharmacist misread the doctor’s handwritten instructions.

As you know, most doctors are incapable of writing legibly. In that context, that is not Manny being Manny but Manny being victimized.

Manny can expect to receive a rousing welcome back from most of those in attendance in San Diego. A few wise guys might let Manny have it. But it would not be fair to judge a city by the deplorable actions of a few, no more than it would be fair to judge the District by the gasbags on Capitol Hill.

At least the Dodgers held up in his absence, fashioning a 29-21 record. It may be only early July, but it is not too early to dream of a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series with Manny as the focal point.

Manny has declined to speak with reporters so far, possibly because he does not want to get into the whole female fertility drug thing. That is his prerogative.

“Go to YouTube,” he said this week.

So I went to YouTube, typed in Manny Ramirez, sorted out the most recent videos and came up with a man doing the so-called “jerk dance” on top of the dugout in San Bernardino, Calif., where Manny was doing his tuneup tour.

Although the dance was compelling, it did not speak for Manny.

Maybe Manny will take to Twitter. That is what the rest of America is doing anyway. People dispense interesting tweets all the time, such as, “I am standing in line at the grocery store.” Or “I am crossing the street.”

And then you read the next day about the tweet-obsessed person who was struck by an automobile.

It is not that Manny needs to explain what happened or even apologize. That is for suckers, and Manny is nobody’s sucker. He knows Dodgerville will explode in cheers the first time he dispatches a ball over the outfield fence. And he knows everybody digs the long ball.

Manny is just another in a long line of baseball players who put to rest the lie that cheaters never prosper.

He has a fat wallet, adulation galore and no need to ever set the record straight.

And he has the Manny being Manny card, ready to be played whenever necessary.

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