Ramirez stories come out of left field
When the long dreadlocks and the wacky personality reappear in Fenway Park tonight, there will be mixed emotions. There will be, as Mike Cameron said, “cheers and jeers’’ for a man who helped bring two championships to Boston, and yet left on as sour a note as anyone in recent memory.
He forced his way out of Boston, and that doesn’t usually go over well in New England.
Yet, as much anger as there is in Boston regarding Manny Ramirez, and as much gratitude as there is, it is clear that even his former teammates aren’t quite sure how the weekend will go, how Ramirez will be received, how he will greet them, what will be going through his head.
“I don’t know if he would remember that I’m the manager,’’ Terry Francona said.
Said David Ortiz, “I haven’t talked to him in a while. I even had problems talking to Manny when Manny was here. I don’t know what was going on. It was fun.
“But you see him just like you’ve seen him every day. He’s got the same love for everyone, that crazy attitude that everyone knows. I think it’s going to be cool seeing him again.’’
As the questions were asked of Ortiz, the object of attention flashed on the clubhouse television. There was Ramirez walking off the field after an at-bat in Cincinnati, where the Dodgers played yesterday before heading east to face the Red Sox. Ramirez will be with them, slated for the designated hitter spot over the weekend in the interleague matchup in Boston.
“I’ll be kind of curious,’’ Mike Lowell said. “I’ll be out there when they announce his name and see what transpires. His offensive numbers were great. But I’m sure for some people, his approach to other things was less than desired. I guess it’s a big wait-and-see.’’
Ortiz, for one, voted for more cheers than boos. But given the way Ramirez left, that might be hard to swallow for the packed house expected tonight.
“Manny is a little bit of a different breed,’’ J.D. Drew said. “He’s got his own little characteristics and he can be one of the greatest players at times, and other times, you kind of scratch your head. He’s a unique character, that’s for sure.’’
In honor of his arrival, a few of his former teammates shared their most memorable Manny moment from his time in Boston.
Francona said, “A lot happened. Great hitter. Did some remarkable things on the field. Sometimes, especially early, there were times when he would make an out, and I would sit there and think, ‘How did he make an out?’ That’s not fair. But he was so good, and so dangerous, that sometimes when he made the out, you would say, that’s not fair. That’s how good he was.’’
Ortiz said, “I remember one of the best lines from Manny was when he said, ‘It’s not the end of the world’ [in Cleveland during the 2007 ALCS]. And we ended up winning that year. So that tells you that there’s no way you can put pressure on the guy.
“He knows how to figure things out. Everybody had a way to do things and a different way to react with things. This guy, I never saw him panic. It’s hard to be like that, but that’s a gift. That’s what makes him so good.’’
Lowell said, “What’s memorable was that home run off Francisco Rodriguez [to win Game 2 of the 2007 Division Series]. I was on deck and you kind of think along the same lines. Basically, you would have bet the house that he was going to throw a slider and he threw a fastball in. Manny was on it and basically hit it over the lights. When he’s locked in, I don’t think anybody can dominate him at the plate.’’
Peter Abraham of the Globe contributed to this report.