Among the many fascinating aspects of the Boston Red Sox’s 2016 turnaround has been how it has coincided with the turnaround of Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez, a prodigal son of sorts, came up with the Red Sox before being traded in 2005. He returned to the club when he signed with the Red Sox for big money and big expectations last winter. His first season in Boston, however, only can be described as a disaster.
Ramirez, though, entered spring training this year with a new position and apparently a new outlook on his career. He has hustled, has been a team player, and by all accounts, he has been a good soldier for John Farrell. Oh, and Ramirez has produced, hitting 30 home runs and driving in 100 runs for the first time in his career.
With the Red Sox set to open the playoffs Thursday night in Cleveland, Ramirez wrote a quick letter to Red Sox fans on The Players’ Tribune. In the note, he details his love for baseball, his love for David Ortiz and his love for the Red Sox.
Ramirez recalled the 2004 Red Sox season — he was a top prospect in the organization at times.
“I remember Game 4, 12th inning, Fenway,” Ramirez wrote. “This guy David Ortiz steps up to the plate and hits the walk-off homer. The fans are going crazy. I’m going crazy. It looked like a winter-ball game in the Dominican to me. That’s how wild the fans were that night.
“I watched that whole series, dreaming like, Alright, I’m close. Someday, I’m going to be there at Fenway playing ‘winter ball.’ ”
And now, it’s all about trying to get Ortiz one more ring before he walks away from the game.
“It took me 12 years, but I’m finally getting a chance to play playoff baseball at Fenway. I’m just really happy to have that opportunity after how last season went. You know, in spring training this year, we all got together and set one goal: Get David a ring in his final season.”
Finally, Ramirez pleaded with Red Sox fans to help send Ortiz out on top.
“I know you guys are gonna be loud,” he writes. “That’s no question. But I want to hear some winter-ball noise, you know what I mean?”
“We don’t know what’s gonna happen, but you got a team here that never gives up. We got 25 names, but we’re all one person. We are gonna do our best so that David can go out dancing.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images