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Manny Ramirez is in the best shape of his life

Jan 31, 2011, 9:12 AM EDT

Manny Ramirez

This is a bit of a stretch. Neither he nor his agent used those words, and that’s normally what triggers this kind of post.  But this is fun anyway: Marc Topkin, who covers the Rays for the St. Pete Times, waited for Manny Ramirez as he arrived at the Tampa airport last night:

He was pleasant enough as photographer Kathleen Flynn and I approached him as he stepped off the tram after flying in from Phoenix, and actually asked if I was there to pick him up. When I told him I’d seen a limo driver waiting for him downstairs, he laughed and said he didn’t need a limo, that was just a “humble” guy.

Ramirez was polite in a short chat as he rode the escalator, saying he “feels great” about playing for the Rays, talking about how he was in tremendous shape after extensive workouts at the Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona, and smiling when reminded of his exceptional numbers at Tropicana Field (48 extra base hits, 72 RBIs and 1.003 OPS in 77 games).

Ramirez played in the AL East for a long time. Topkin has covered the Rays forever, and is a very distinctive looking guy.  Ramirez has likely been in Topkin’s presence scores of times, and has almost certainly been asked questions by the guy.  In light of that, it cracks me up that Manny thought that Topkin was there to pick him up.

Someday I’d like to live in a world as magical as the one in which Manny Ramirez lives.  I bet everything there is fresh and new and wonderful all the time.

And then there’s this.

  1. The Sports Minion - Jan 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. I to, would love to have a day in his magical land, where anything you do or say can be classified as “Manny being Manny.” Somehow he’s made his bizarre antics not only accepted, but beloved.

  2. shlomo1977 - Jan 31, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Craig,

    I sure hope NBC is sending you and 10 interns to Spring Training, where you can conduct scientific research to determine the percentage of players claiming to be in the greatest shape of their life. Then NBC could you send you around in an RV for a summer baseball roadtrip to re-interview the players to determine if they are still in the best shape of their life. Hands down you’d be the guru in this topic. Maybe you could even get paid to speak at a WADA conference, or just a winter sports award assembly at a high school in Akron.

    This thing’s your baby Craig. The sky’s the limit….

  3. florida727 - Jan 31, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    “Being in the best shape of his life” = only 40 pounds overweight, and able to run a 40-yard dash in less than an hour. Hope I’m wrong… I live in Tampa… but this ‘acquisition’ has disaster written all over it. A disaster IS Manny being Manny.

  4. aaronmoreno - Jan 31, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Last May I was in downtown Pasadena, getting sworn in as an attorney. After the swearing in, my wife, my parents, and I went nearby for something to drink. I heard someone excitedly talking, and I turned to see that it was a fan talking to Manny Ramirez.

    When I saw Manny, my only thought was, “Man, he got fat.”

  5. nyyankeefanforever - Jan 31, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    It cracks me up he thought Topkin was there to pick him up too, especially with a photographer at his side snapping pictures as they approached him. Perhaps he thought they were the cops.

    “It’s old news, I did that when I was with Los Angeles.”

    Suspended 50 games for illegal doping….he did that in LA too. That was just last year.

    To live in the magical wonderful world of Manny at the Trop this season: $2 million.

    To bat .261 with only 1 home run in his 24 games in Chicago last year: $3.8 million

    To see Pat Burrell’s 17 HRs recalled fondly this coming season: Priceless.

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