Thursday, June 17, 2010
Return Engagement As Ramirez Comes Back To Boston
Say what you want about baseball fans, but know this:
A true fan never forgets...anything!
With that being said, it will be interesting to see what kind of reaction Boston Red Sox fans give to Manny Ramirez when he returns to Boston for the first time since he forced his way out of town at the 2008 trade deadline.
Fans had discounted Ramirez's "Manny Being Manny" act of lackadaisical play, fan availability, and general lack of care for the Red Sox in general because he seemingly put his numbers when he wanted to. However, that all came to an end in 2008 when the slugger basically pulled his last shenanigan in a Red Sox uniform and fans finally understood what the front office had been dealing with for years, a diva that put himself before his team and his teammates. The package received of Jason Bay easily helped Sox fans wash their hands of their former hero and move on quickly.
But as I said before, baseball fans never forget and Red Sox fans have had to wait for over 2 years to get the chance to show just how fresh in their memory the whole situation was. Manny made it clear when he left town that he didn't like playing in Boston, he didn't like the attention he received from the fans, and he certainly didn't like the Boston media. Fans certainly do not forget that type of betrayal, and you can be certain that the Boston media is going to have a field day with his return.
Granted, this isn't the same situation as Johnny Damon returning in a Yankee uniform either, but it is also a far cry from Kevin Millar coming home in the Orioles colors too. Then again, Damon's reception will likely be completely different when he returns with Detroit at the end of July.
Manny is a different story. Fans will consider every aspect of who he comes into town with, how he left town, and how much he contributed while he played in Boston. Considering he hit .312 with 276 home runs and 868 RBI's during his heyday for the Red Sox, not to mention a World Series MVP during that historic championship 2004 season, Ramirez will at least have the benefit of performance to help his cause. But Sox fans are a fickle crowd and they can smell blood in the water too, so performance may be a long forgotten factor.
It wouldn't be surprising to see his reception go in either direction, with a heart-warming cheer or a rain of boos from the stands. Then again, since this is Manny, maybe it is fitting that you don't what you're going to get.
Manny Ramirez Stats, Baseball-Reference.com