With Manny, there was often a sideshow, but what he did on the main stage made it all worth it. So maybe he jogged down the line every now and then, booted a routine fly ball from time to time or simply often looked like he could not care less what was going on, but it didn't matter. The guy could hit, and that more than made up for any of his antics.
So with Manny coming back to Fenway on Friday night, we'll be running through the highlights of his career with the Red Sox. Each day, we'll relive one highlight and one lowlight, and on Friday, fans can vote for their favorite.
Highlight No. 5: Manny Being Manny
Somehow, this simple, three-word phrase managed to encompass the complex being that was Manny Ramirez.
With Manny, it was hard to really know what was going on, a reality that was only compounded by his unwillingness to talk with the media. That left everyone — fans, media, managers and owners alike — left to try to figure out what was going on inside his head. That, of course, was no easy task, and thus the phrase "Manny being Manny" was born.
For the most part, Manny being Manny was harmless. There was the time he had a water bottle in his back pocket while manning left field. There was the time he hopped into the Green Monster for a break during a pitching change, except that pitching change never actually happened. There was his foray into becoming a salesman, when he put his stainless steel grill on eBay. There was the time he threw a ball into the stands in New York and started jogging to the dugout, only to learn there were just two outs. And who could forget the gentle, subtle rubs of Julian Tavarez's head?
There also was July 31, 2005, when Ramirez was rumored to be all but traded. As the Sox played in an afternoon affair against the Twins, Ramirez was nowhere to be seen. It had been a week of turmoil for Ramirez, as he had been booed by the home crowd and sat out for a couple of games. Fans waited that Saturday afternoon for news of a trade, but the deadline passed and there was no news. Shortly after, with David Ortiz being intentionally walked, Ramirez emerged from the Red Sox' dugout to a raucous standing ovation. On cue, he delivered the game-winning hit.
He then set the world record for repeating the word "man" the most times in a 40-word statement.
"Man, forget about the trade, man, this is the place I want to be, man," he told NESN's Eric Frede. "It's great, man. You know, they love me here, man, and um, I don't know, man. This is the place to be, you know. Manny being Manny, man. It's great, man."
How'd he get the clutch hit?
"I don't know, man. I just got it."
We don't know either, man.
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.
5. Manny being Manny
4. Tuesday, June 15: Manny hits No. 500
5. Manny being Manny
4. Tuesday, June 15: Manny fights Kevin Youkilis