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That’s just Manny bein’ a high schooler

Apr 26, 2011, 8:44 AM EDT

Manny Ramirez

There’s a neat feature by Sara Rimer over at the New York Times today: an in-depth remembrance of Manny Ramirez as Rimer first saw him: as a baseball-killing high schooler from Washington Heights.

Rimer goes on to explore the essence of MbM, for all of its good and all of its ills.  And as is always the case when I read something in-depth about Manny Ramirez, I can’t decide if there is something much more to the guy than meets the eye or something much less.

The second time he came up, he tapped home plate with his bat, the way you would see him do it later in the majors … Then he called a timeout, taking his right hand off the bat. But the umpire did not give it to him. Everyone who was there swears Manny did not have time to get his right hand back on the bat, that he swung with one hand. I can’t really say that I saw it. Maybe I was too busy taking notes.

The ball went over the left-field fence and all the way to the old handball courts on the street below. It had to be more than 400 feet. His teammates and the fans were screaming: “Oh my God! Oh my God!”

As was the case in his major league career, that other-worldly talent was paired with inscrutable personal habits and motives, most of which seemed to say “I just want to be left alone,” all the while showing a side that seemed to demand attention, whether it was intentional or not.

Call the guy whatever you want. Because really, just about every possible label fits.

  1. pisano - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Baseball is much better off without him. Being a Yankee fan I didn’t have any use for him or the Red Sox, but with the crap he pulled on the Sox and their devoted fans is unforgivable. I’ve always admired the Sox and their fans for the support they give the team. I hope this guy fades into the sunset and is never heard from again.

    • Lukehart80 - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      If by “crap he pulled” you mean playing a massive part in the team winning their only World Series championships in the last 90 years, then yes, Manny was truly unforgivable.

      • pisano - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        Lukehart80…. I understand your post, but when you dog it in the field and are constantly a disruption on the team, and you’re making 20 mil. per to me the bad outweighed the good. Even his teammates got tired of his act. The Red Sox had enough of his show and moved him. Besides without the juice who knows how good he really was.

      • Lukehart80 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        I guess only Red Sox fans (which I am not) can decide whether the good outweighed the bad or not. If he’d stayed in Cleveland and his 2001-2008 seasons had happened in an Indians’ uniform, the Tribe had won the World Series twice, and then his first-half of 2008 had happened, I’d have been thrilled with the overall Manny Ramirez experience.

        I suppose Yankees’ fans can perhaps sacrifice a couple championships to be free of some headaches and irritations, most franchises/fan bases don’t have that luxury. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk when I say that, I just think Yankees’ fans really do have a different perspective on this type of thing, due to the huge amount of success their favorite team has had.

      • Victor's Secret - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:23 PM

        As a lifelong Sox fan, I have never been able to be angry at Manny or Damon for anything they did after 2004. I don’t think I could ever thank them enough for bringing us that World Series. Damon’s clearly an idiot, but that grand slam in game 7 has been ironed into my memory forever. And Manny’s whole 2004 season – there’s no way we got there without him.

        I wasn’t sad to see him go when he did, but there’s no way the bad could ever outweigh the good he did for us in Boston.

  2. iftheshoefits2 - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Manny was a lot of things outside the batters box, but I find it hard to believe any basball fan didn’t enjoy watching Manny hit. The guy was a savant. As a Yanks fan, he’s put my stomach in knots over the years, but he was just plain fun to watch Manny swing a bat. And I don’t care what he took- even injecting the souls of small orphan children doesn’t help you recognize and destroy moving 2 seam fastballs on the outside corner like that.

  3. marshmallowsnake - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    I loved Manny in Boston until about year 5…then he just went off the bus somewhere, like an alien had taken control over him…

  4. elguaro98 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Craig,

    I could assure you this is true. I was there. I was part of that team. It happened in late April 1991 again Brandis HS (Jose “Kiki” Jimenez). Manny has never been a public persona. Although his way of playing the game made him and I don’t think he ever got around that. We used to called him the “La Tabla” the wood plank.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:49 PM

      What, who are you?

    • pisano - Apr 26, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      We used to call him” La Tabla” the wood plank. Were you referring to his mentality?

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