Looks like our old friend Manny Ramirez has found a happy home in Taiwan.
Manny, who signed with the Taiwanese outfit EDA Rhinos earlier this month, made his debut in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan on Wednesday, and he's already the biggest superstar in the Chinese Professional Baseball League... not to be confused with the National League.
And it looks like Mannywood all over again. Eastern style.
According to The China Post, Manny, batting cleanup, went 2-for-6: a pair of singles in the second and fourth innings. The former Red Sox slugger struck out looking in the seventh with Japanese reliever Hiroki Sanada doing Ramirez in.
Manny's team lost the home opener to the Brother Elephants, perhaps the greatest team name in all of sports, 9-8 in 12 innings before a capacity crowd of 20,000 at the Chengching Lake stadium.
The Rhinos reportedly offered the 40-year-old Ramirez $25,000 a month — the highest salary any team in the CPBL has given to a foreign player.
The Ramirez signing is expected to boost ticket sales in the league, which had been losing fan support following multiple game-fixing scandals over its 24-year history, according to the Post.
His last major league appearance was with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, where he went 1 for 17 before retiring in April after testing positive for elevated testosterone. Ramirez decided after the season to attempt a comeback. He served a 50-game suspension for his 2011 positive drug test before returning with Oakland’s Triple-A affliliate, Sacramento. Ramirez hitting .302 with 14 RBIs in 17 games, but asked to be released in June.
Ramirez was suspended for 50 games in May 2009 while with the Dodgers after testing positive for a banned female fertility drug popular among steroid users because it can mask the effects of ending a cycle.
The best image of all out of the Far East is of the two fans below that displayed a sign in support of Manny on Wednesday ... only problem is, that's not our Manny on the sign. It's Dominican pitcher Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds.
For more images of Manny, signs of support for the steroid-tainted former MLB All-Star, and Rhino fans wearing fake dreads, check out the images on the Busted Coverage website.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer