Manny Moments

MANNY RAMIREZ

Manny Ramirez cuts off
Johnny Damon's throw to third

ON THIS DATE (July 21, 2004) ... It happened in the 7th inning, with 2 outs, Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. David Newhan is at the plate against Pedro Martinez, and it looks like Newhan just took him deep until the ball bounces off the wall in center. Johnny Damon fields the ball and throws it in to Mark Bellhorn at shortstop, but the throw is intercepted by a diving Manny Ramirez.

“It was a highlight catch,” Damon said of the maneuver. For this to happen, Manny had to sprint across a substantial portion of outfield. Never in the history of baseball has a left fielder cut off a center fielder’s throw. No manager in the world would practice a triple cut-off to include the left fielder. They’d have Manny practice unassisted triple-plays first. And to make it worse, it was probably his best catch all season. A diving stab. And, as Manny lies on the ground, Newhan comes home, an in the park home run. Only Manny can rise to the bigs without knowing even the rudimentary basics of baseball. “That,” Newhan said, “was kind of a weird relay there.” Even Terry Francona said, “That was a big mistake and we paid for it.”

MANNY RAMIREZ

Manny Ramirez disappears inside
the left field wall
between pitches

ON THIS DATE (July 19, 2005) ... Manny Ramirez was spending some time inside the left-field wall between pitches and damn near found himself inside the wall when Wade Miller went into his delivery.  Manny emerged in time for Miller's pitch and was trotting into position as the right-hander delivered his first pitch to Joey Gathright. The Tampa Bay center fielder did not swing. Good thing. Gathright singled to left on the next pitch and Manny was there to scoop the ball and fire (late and wide) toward home.

Imagine if left field had been empty when Gathright singled. ESPN could have invented a new blooper trophy for its contrived award show and ceaseless self-promotion.  What pitcher turns around to count his outfielders before he looks in for the sign?

What about it, Manny? What were you doing behind the green door?  ''I peed in a cup," said Ramirez.

It's hard to know when Manny is kidding. We do know there is no bathroom inside the left-field wall. It's a dark, hot, smelly hovel, occupied by a couple of scoreboard operators -- traditionally guys being punished by the grounds crew chief. There was speculation that Manny was going into the wall to cool off in front of an electric fan, but the pee break seems more likely.

''I'm just glad he came back," said Sox manager Terry Francona.