So maybe he showed up late to spring training, maybe he would take a day off from time to time, maybe he didn't bust it down the line on every ground ball, but, well, the good generally outweighed the bad. The same could be said for the fans. They put up with the bad because the good was, quite simply, really, really good.
Despite this shaky track record in Boston, there is one precise moment in which Manny crossed the line, and it took place in the visitors' locker room at Minute Maid Park.
With the Red Sox in Houston for an interleague series in late June of 2008, Ramirez reportedly requested 16 tickets to a game without giving a day's notice. Jack McCormick, the Sox' traveling secretary, informed Ramirez that he may not be able to supply him with that many tickets, which set Ramirez off.
Ramirez, according to reports, shouted, "Just do your job!" at McCormick, and an argument ensued. When it ended, Ramirez had pushed McCormick to the ground.
McCormick was 64 years old at the time.
Despite the altercation, Ramirez was in the lineup that day, and, in typical Manny fashion, he went 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Normally, that type of performance would nullify the negative effects of Manny's actions, but this time, things were clearly different. Many of Manny's biggest fans argued that McCormick, a former police officer, was not some frail, old man. That was obviously not a winning argument.
Manny was not suspended, but he was fined. He apologized to McCormick behind closed doors, only telling the media, "That's over. We're fine now."
Perhaps, in the short term, Ramirez, McCormick and the Red Sox were fine, but the incident marked a turning point in the enigmatic slugger's relationship with the team. For the first time since the Sox put Ramirez on irrevocable waivers in October of 2003, it seemed that Ramirez's time with the club was actually nearing its end. His teammates, including his unofficial spokesmen David Ortiz and Mike Lowell, no longer seemed amused to have to answer questions about him.
Obviously, Manny had done some stupid things in the past, but this one was clearly different. He crossed a line that no man should ever cross. Though the Red Sox didn't point to the incident as the major driving force that pushed the superstar out of town for good, it's hard to look back and see it as anything else.
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.
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