There’s a neat feature by Sara Rimer over at the New York Times today: an in-depth remembrance of Manny Ramirez as Rimer first saw him: as a baseball-killing high schooler from Washington Heights.
Rimer goes on to explore the essence of MbM, for all of its good and all of its ills. And as is always the case when I read something in-depth about Manny Ramirez, I can’t decide if there is something much more to the guy than meets the eye or something much less.
The second time he came up, he tapped home plate with his bat, the way you would see him do it later in the majors … Then he called a timeout, taking his right hand off the bat. But the umpire did not give it to him. Everyone who was there swears Manny did not have time to get his right hand back on the bat, that he swung with one hand. I can’t really say that I saw it. Maybe I was too busy taking notes.
The ball went over the left-field fence and all the way to the old handball courts on the street below. It had to be more than 400 feet. His teammates and the fans were screaming: “Oh my God! Oh my God!”
As was the case in his major league career, that other-worldly talent was paired with inscrutable personal habits and motives, most of which seemed to say “I just want to be left alone,” all the while showing a side that seemed to demand attention, whether it was intentional or not.
Call the guy whatever you want. Because really, just about every possible label fits.