Thursday, March 22, 2007

Caveat eBay Bidder: Manny Ramírez in the not-so-hot stove league

On of the more wondrous things about being a Red Sox fan is watching Manny Ramírez. Watching him play. Watching him act out. Watching, as the saying goes, Manny being Manny.

For those who don't follow the sport, Manny is "our" brilliantly talented left fielder, and seeing him park a homer (or, as we say at Fenway, pahk a homah) brings nothing but great sports fan joy (that is, if you're a Red Sox fan).

Putting up with Manny's eccentricities can be amusing. It was actually kind of fun when, mid-game, he disappeared into the reaches of the Green Monster (the outfield wall at Fenway). The Green Monster has what may well be the last manually updated scoreboard in the majors, and speculation was that Manny popped in to visit with the scorekeepers, or guzzle some Gatorade, or pee.

Putting up with Manny's eccentricities can be tiresome. At while back, Manny's home (a luxe downtown condo) was featured in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. All well and good, but a short while after the article appeared, Manny was bleating that he wanted to be traded - he and his family couldn't get any privacy in Boston. Well, Manny, if you want your family to have privacy it might not make a whole hell of a lot of sense to let me and every other person on the face of the earth see a picture of the view from your living room, let alone your son's bedroom.

Putting up with Manny's eccentricities can be aggravating. Last season, after the coulda-shoulda-woulda Red Sox were coming out of a mid-season swoon and, with catcher Jason Varitek back in the line-up after a prolonged injury outage, looking like they were going to able to make a late season fun at it, Manny checked out. It may not have been their year, and they were definitely a long shot, but.... September wasn't as exciting as it could have been. (At least in October we got to see the Yankees cold-cocked.)

Yesterday, Manny being Manny was pure, unadulterated odd-ball fun.

According to an article by Amalie Benjamin in The Boston Globe, Manny was on eBay trying to help a Florida neighbor of his sell a humongous Jenn-Air grill on eBay. (The grill was pictured in the article and it's larger than my car. Hell, it's larger than my kitchen.)

Here's the story - or what may be the story. Manny being Manny and all that....

"Hi, I'm Manny Ramirez," reads the ad, listed under the seller "mannyramirez1524," a member since March 18. "I bought this AMAZING grill for about $4,000 and I used it once . . . But I never have the time to use it because I am always on the road. I would love to sell it and you will get an autographed ball signed by me =) Enjoy it, Manny Ramirez."

When Benjamin asked Manny about it, he admitted that it wasn't quite true. He was just helping a neighbor out, hoping to pump the price up by claiming that it was his own.

This all sounds like echt Manny, alright, and I'm going back and forth in my own head about whether this was a good thing (helping a neighbor) or a bad thing (misleading eBay bidders into thinking they were getting something they weren't). I think I'm leaning good thing, since who would really and truly give a rap whether some inanimate object may or may not have been owned - but was even at "best" used just once by - a celebrity.

This is, of course, yet another example of the celebrity obsessed world that I do not get. I grew up in a culture where relics were venerated - bits of bone, locks of hair, scraps of clothing - but these relics had once been part of and/or belonged to SAINTS. (I actually saw St. Francis Xavier's arm once - under glass - when it toured the States when I was a kid. It was creepy.)

Saints are one thing. Britney Spear's hair? Elvis Presley's gum? Princess Diana's ballgowns?

I mention the latter because a non-profit that I'm involved with was given one in the year after her death. Alas, despite our great expectations, we only realized about one-third of the amount we had fantasized about. Still, it was amazing to me that we got as much as we did.

So there was Manny's grill - or, rather, Manny's neighbor's grill - up for bid on eBay.

Someone, however, bid the grill right through the roof top. We now know that eBay's odometer rolls over at $99,999,999.

eBay may have also decided that the didn't like Manny's hustling a grill as his own when admittedly it wasn't - maybe not a hot stove, exactly, but something slightly fraud-ish. When I googled on Manny-Ramírez-eBay-grill, here's what I got:

This Listing Is Unavailable
This listing (120099426399) has been removed or is no longer available. Please make sure you entered the right item number.  If the listing was removed by eBay, consider it canceled. Note: Listings that have ended more than 90 days ago will no longer appear on eBay.

I suppose they have no choice.

After all, what's to prevent me or anyone else from putting some old piece of crap out there on eBay and claim a celebrity provenance. Just looking around my living room. That piece of Roseville pottery could conceivably have been owned by someone like Julia Roberts or Meryl Streep. My wedding band is vaguely Celtic-looking. Maybe it's Bono's. That anchor book end that my father got when he was in the Navy in World War II. Well, JFK was in the Navy in WWII. And my father was an Irishman from Massachusetts. So, hey, it's not that far fetched.

But as far as Manny being Manny goes, the eBay grill story is pretty much just plain fun. May this be as zany as he gets during the forthcoming season.


For more fun with Manny, check out Why I'm Glad Manny Doesn't Report to Me.

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