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From Left Field: The Andy Griffith Show, starring Manny Ramirez

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By The Staff

By Jimmie Earls

Sun Sports Writer

I'm a big fan of the Andy Griffith Show, and one of my favorite episodes is the one where his son Opie learns to throw temper tantrums from his friend Arnold. Of course, Andy, in his infinite wisdom, sees right through Opie's deceit and, as Barney Fife would put it, nips it in the bud.

Opie usually gets 25 cents a week to clean out the garage, sweeping the chimney ashes and setting the dinner table. After some coaxing from Arnold, Opie tells his pa that he believes he should get 75 cents a week without having to work. Andy tells Opie that it's fine if he doesn't want to work for his quarter allowance per week – no work, no allowance. That's when Opie starts acting like a whiny baby to get what he wants, and his pa simply blows it off. Andy shows Opie that you can't get what you want by being childish. Maybe Andy should be a major league baseball manager, because we sure could use some of those down-home Southern parenting skills in the big leagues.

I will admit that I don't know too much about Manny Ramirez, and maybe that's a good thing considering the press he's received lately. Basically, all I know is that he's a talented baseball player who played in Cleveland in the beginning of his career and then went to the Boston Red Sox where he helped win two world championships. He'll probably end up in the baseball hall of fame based on the 500-plus home runs he has hit so far in his career.

I don't really care why he was unhappy playing in Boston. All I know is that his immature attitude was creating drama that any soap opera would envy. And the sports media is partially at fault because we feed the monster, we cover it as if it has global implications and affects every living soul on the planet. Of course, we all know that Ramirez's talent, fame and millions of dollars will not keep us from having to get up out of bed every morning and put in an honest days work for a paycheck.

I watched daily coverage of Manny being Manny on television, and wished he could step into the shoes of one of us regular Joes for a day. Maybe if he spent some time stepping through manure, digging holes for fence posts, busing tables, loading and unloading trucks or writing sports columns, he'd realize just how blessed he is to be in his position, and maybe treat that privilege with some respect. There are lots of Opies in the minor leagues that would love a chance to clean out the garage for a quarter.

Or maybe he needs to suffer the fate of Opie's friend Arnold, who finds that his bike has been impounded and will be eventually sold by his father to teach him a lesson. Believe it or not, as much as we idolize sports heroes, there does come a time when they can be become so tainted, that the public and the profession no longer wants anything to do with them. That's a lesson Manny could learn from — just ask Barry Bonds.

In the end, Opie learns that he is lucky to have the chance to earn his quarter per week and asks Andy if he can have his old job back at his old rate. Andy appreciates this gesture and increases Opie's allowance to 27 cents a week, and Opie is thrilled to get a raise.

Manny should take note that the feeling of a job well done reaps its own rewards, if you are willing to work hard and respect those around you. Otherwise, he could find the thing he loves most has been taken away, not by his choice, but by those in authority.