Manny Ramirez is returning to Fenway Park for the first time since being traded two years ago. In my opinion this is the most anticipated game of the season. It is the one game I have been looking forward to above all others. The big question is, how is Red Sox Nation going to welcome back one of the most talented, but yet frustrating players ever to have worn a Red Sox uniform?
During Manny’s seven-plus seasons in Boston, he batted .312, hit 274 home runs, drove in 868 runs, won two World Series Championships and was the MVP of a World Series that Red Sox Nation waited 86 years for. No one can deny Manny’s pure talent. He will go down as one of the best Red Sox hitters in history. I could go on and on listing his countless accomplishments but let’s not forget, his “breakup” with Boston will also go down as one of the worst in baseball history.
If there was a gun to my head tonight and I had to boo or cheer; I would boo. With that said, I respect him as a player and everything he did for Boston. The one thing he didn’t do and that was his demise, was leave on a good note. Yes, I know, no one really leaves on a good note but the manner in which he left was classless. That is really my only beef with him. I am not hung up on his “Manny Being Manny” moments over the years. I don’t care that he would suddenly bench himself because of a right knee injury. Or was that his left? I simply can’t get over his graceless departure. He forced himself out of this town, and for now, has lost the respect of most of Red Sox Nation.
There are so many ways you can rationalize this. Some say that if you cheered for Manny while he was in Boston, how could you not tonight? To me, that’s easy. When he was in Boston we had to put up him. Now we don’t. That man showed zero class when he left, zero appreciation towards his teammates, the front office and the fans that supported him even though we looked past his flaws. The fans put up with his antics over the years and I can say without a doubt there is nothing I would have wanted more than to welcome Manny back and give him him the props his career stats have earned him. But how do you give a man props who basically gave everyone the middle finger as he walked out the door? He quit on the team, he quit on management and quit on the fans. Big mistake Manny!
Let’s remember some of his disrespectful antics leading up to his departure.
June 5, 2008, things started to fall apart when he got in a dugout scuffle with Kevin Youkilis. Weeks later, he shoved Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick (who was 64 at the time) to the ground in Houston in an argument over Ramirez’ ticket allotment of 16 for a game. The two were quickly separated and Ramirez later apologized to McCormick. He was not suspended, but he was fined. Both these incidents marked major turning points in his relationship with his teammates and front office. He crossed a line that no man should ever cross.
As the trade deadline approached, Manny was seen in the dugout during a game holding a sign saying: “I’m going to Green Bay for Brett Favre straight up.” This is the same Manny that called the Sox owners “[expletive] white devils” in 2006, after the Sox failed to satisfy his trade demands over the winter.
And we are supposed to give this man a standing ovation tonight?! Not on his first trip back! Down the road he will get his props, but I don’t think he has treated this town with the respect some think he should get tonight. It’s like breaking up with a loved one. Sure, you had great times, but what if that breakup ended in betrayal? Are you supposed to forgive that person right away? Some say not at all. But for those forgivers out there, “time” heals all. Look at Johnny Damon. He suffered through the boos after taking the money and running to New York. But when he returns this July in a Detroit uniform, he will get the respect he earned 6 years ago. I know I was deeply upset at the time but 6 years later I am ready to give him his props (now that he got rid of his Yankee uniform).
Regardless of what happens tonight this will be one of the more interesting returns, probably, in the history of the game. Dodgers first-base coach Mariano Duncan said. ” To me, I don’t think that city should forget what he did for them.” Well, Mariano, we have not forgotten. But in order to get respect you must give respect. And sometimes character flaws haunt and outweigh performance in this case.
After the devastating Celtics loss last night there might be even more “boo’s” than anticipated. “Beat LA!” is quite the chant these days.
I want to know what others think about tonight. Boo? Or Cheer? There is no correct answer. It is certainly a debatable topic. You know what would be great? Manny has 274 home runs as a Red Sox and David Ortiz has 273. If Big Papi could hit 2 home runs this weekend and surpass Manny that would be perfect!
Whatever happens Manny. I think you are one of the greatest Red Sox players in history, there is no denying that. Sometimes it’s not all about stats. See you tonight, you BAD BAD MAN.
About the Author
Written by "Baseball Brenda" Sepanek
I was born a sports fan. Playing soccer, basketball and softball in high school, then moving on to play Div. II softball at Keene State on partial scholarship. In 2003, our team was inducted into the Keene State Hall of Fame. GO OWLS! I am a die hard Red Sox, Patriots and UNC Tar Heel hoop fan. Most of my friends call me Baseball Brenda because when it comes to ranking my priorities in life, the Red Sox always are first on the list. I average about 40 games a year and I have attended every home playoff game since moving back to MA in 2005. I am super competitive and excel at anything you can win at :) Horseshoes, ping pong, darts, pool, cornhole, and bowling. Always love a good challenge. I play a lot of golf in the summer and a lot of fantasy sports. I am always looking to meet local Sox fans so look me up on Facebook.