And it took Manny Ramirez to high-five a fan after making a running catch and before turning a double play.
It was the type of moment that made you scratch your head, perhaps feel a twinge of anger and then laugh. With Manny, didn’t it always seem to be like that?
This event in particular took place in May of 2008 in an afternoon game in Baltimore. Kevin Millar was at the plate for the Orioles, and when he launched a fly ball over Ramirez’s head in left field, he probably had some confidence that his former teammate and bench buddy would not be able to track it down. Yet somehow, Ramirez hopped on his horse and made the catch over his left shoulder while running at full speed toward the wall.
A lot of left fielders could have caught that ball, and a lot of left fielders could have stopped, fired the ball toward the infield and doubled up a runner off first base. Only one left fielder did what Manny did.
Ramirez took three full strides across the warning track, leaped into the wall and reached his hand out to slap a high-five with a fan in a Red Sox jersey. He then landed and got the ball to Dustin Pedroia, who threw out Aubrey Huff at first base with plenty of time to spare. It was truly a one-of-a-kind moment.
“If there was any moment in baseball I’d like to be a part of, it’s a ‘Manny being Manny’ moment,” the fan, Randy Dunning, told a sports blog shortly after the high-five. “I couldn’t ask for more as a fan. He’s been my favorite player for a long time and it’s something I’ll show my kids and grandkids.”
The Red Sox probably would have had a lot to say themselves after the game, but a Baltimore grand slam in the seventh inning handed Boston a loss, so there wasn’t much time for celebration. Years later, though, it’s still one of the most memorable moments of Ramirez’s unforgettable career in Boston.
The most appropriate part of all? Orioles play-by-play man Gary Thorne, stating plainly of Ramirez after the catch was made: “He wasn’t even looking at the baseball.”
Each day leading up to Manny’s return to Boston on June 18,
NESN.com will run through one highlight and one lowlight from his career
with the Red Sox.