Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon were formally introduced by the Rays today. They had a press conference. It sounds like it was a laugh riot. Highlights, taken from this WEEI report and Marc Topkin’s Twitter feed:
- At the outset Manny smiled and said “we’re back!”
- Manny did not put on his Rays cap because he said it did not fit over his hair.
- Manny called Joe Maddon “the coach.” When asked about the lineup, Manny said he can hit anywhere because he had 5 triples in 1998.
- Manny said that he was not at all about the money but rather he was out to prove himself now and that’s all the motivation he needed. I want to believe him — and I am prepared to admit that even Manny has pride — but every single writer who has ever covered they guy is questioning his motivation with a low contract right now. Not just the normal hater-types. This will be interesting to watch.
- After being given number 24 by the Rays he said that he didn’t have a problem not being 99 because 99 is his National League number and 24 is his American League number. I’m actually going to suspend my disbelief about this and acknowledge that Manny may very well have thought this up when he was a teenager and that it was always his plan. To do this, I’ll forget that he wore 99 with the White Sox last year.
- Damon called Manny “one of greatest hitters of our generation.” Manny said “thank you Johnny.”
- Each player was asked about their physical shape. Manny flexed and pointed to his bicep. Damon said that they could either look in mirror and flex or “we can go in shower and compete there.”
- Damon said that the Rays are his “Dream Team.” No word if he admitted that he really didn’t like that octopus up in Detroit last year or if his happiness winning World Series rings in Boston and New York was a big sham. I’m totally convinced at this point that he could get signed by the Carolina Mudcats and he’d say “I always wanted to play here.”
- Manny said he had been working out with Evan Longoria and that “I’m trying to help him find his cap.”
- Joe Maddon said about Johnny and Manny: “I just want them to be themselves.”
They’re way ahead of you Joe.