This Week’s Best Profile – Manny Ramirez

I think this excerpt from Ben McGrath’s 2007 profile of Manny Ramirez captures both Manny and how much less fun sports, in some ways, are today:

He is perhaps the closest thing in contemporary professional sports to a folk hero, an unpredictable public figure about whom relatively little is actually known but whose exploits, on and off the field, are recounted endlessly, with each addition punctuated by a shrug and the observation that it’s just “Manny being Manny.” When I asked his teammate David Ortiz, himself a borderline folk hero, how he would describe Ramirez, he replied, “As a crazy motherfucker.” Then he pointed at my notebook and said, “You can write it down just like that: ‘David Ortiz says Manny is a crazy motherfucker.’ That guy, he’s in his own world, on his own planet. Totally different human being than everyone else.” Ortiz is not alone in emphasizing that Ramirez’s originality resonates at the level of species. Another teammate, Julian Tavarez, recently told a reporter from the Boston Herald, “There’s a bunch of humans out here, but to Manny, he’s the only human.”

Wouldn’t it be great if more athletes were kinda crazy? No shortage of anecdotes in this story.

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One response to “This Week’s Best Profile – Manny Ramirez

  1. I read this article when it came out, and it converted me into a Manny fan. Since I was born rooting for the Yankees, and since my years in Boston have only added fuel to the recursive feedback loop of hatred for the Red Socks that boils in my soul, I think that says a lot about Manny. Or the quality of the profile. Or both.

    All athletes shouldn’t be crazy, but we shouldn’t stigmatize the ones that are. Rickey Henderson is one of my all-time favorite ballplayers. Not because he was a Yankee (he played for everybody, after all), but because he made baseball more fun. Even years after his career ended, reading about his exploits brings a smile to my face. Guys like Rickey and Manny, guys with elite talent and elite personalities, make the game more fun.

    Also, Manny hit .643 in high school. Huh?

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