Tag:Johnny Damon
Posted on: May 6, 2011 10:10 am
Edited on: May 6, 2011 10:13 am
 

Pepper: Struggling Giants return home



By Matt Snyder

THE SAN FRANCISCO TREE: There's a nine-foot tall avacado tree growing behind the center-field wall at AT&T Park. It was born when a former groundskeeper left an avacado pit in a jar of water for a few months, only to see it sprout. He needed a place to plant it, so he did so at the ballpark. Ten years later, it's now standing in an area where the club grows replacement sod for the playing surface. It's a really cool and quirky story you don't see often. (Mercurynews.com )

QUICK TURNAROUND: The Rangers played a night game in Seattle and will have to rush back home to face the Yankees Friday night. They're looking at getting home just over 12 hours before the start of Friday's game. The Yankees, on the other hand, we already checked into their hotel in Arlington before the Rangers Thursday game in Seattle was even started. Shouldn't getaway day pretty much always be a day game, with things like these happening frequently across baseball? Well, city ordinances are in the way. Seattle only allows the Mariners to play eight day games due to traffic issues around the ballpark. There are things like this in several cities across the nation, too. It's just one of those things teams have to deal with from time to time. Hey, they get to play baseball for living, they can deal with the quick turnaround, right? (ESPN Dallas )

QUIET RETIREMENT: Remember Russ Adams? He played for the Blue Jays for a handful of seasons and has disappeared. Apparently he retired Thursday from Triple-A Buffalo (a Mets affiliate). (ESPN New York )

DAMON RISING: Johnny Damon is climbing up the all-time hit list, as he now sits 75th. That's right, of all the guys who have ever played in Major League Baseball, only 74 have collected more hits than Damon. It's actually realistic for him to climb into the top 55 by the end of the season, too. Feels like he might have a pretty underrated body of work, but I wouldn't start talking about the Hall of Fame until he's retired and we can let his resume breathe. Here's a trivia question: There are four active players with more career hits than Damon. Can you name them? (Tampabay.com )

REVIEWING Cliff Lee TRADES: The Seattle Times rounds up the three Cliff Lee trades. There are some names you'll recognize in there, like Ben Francisco, Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, Mark Lowe and Justin Smoak. And while Smoak is hitting quite well right now and could turn into a star, the hauls each team got for Lee don't look to measure up to Lee himself at this point. COnsidering the Phillies got prospects back for Lee and then went and signed him in free agency, they'd have to be considered the winners. Honestly, though, I can't really see a big loser. The Indians got lots of young talent and weren't re-upping with him. The Mariners essentially exchanged prospects for a few months of Lee, but Smoak appears to be the best player that changed teams in the trades other than Lee. The Rangers gave up Smoak and only had Lee for a half-season, but went to the World Series.

REVIEWING THE GRANDERSON TRADE: By August of 2010, many were talking about how the Yankees' deal to acquire Curtis Granderson was a loss. After all, the Tigers ended up with Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth while the Diamondbacks got Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson. But looking at Granderson vs. Jackson this season shows the Yankees didn't fare too poorly either -- and it's probably because Granderson's gonna drop 40 bombs , right? (WSJ.com )

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM: I absolutely love this one. A Royals blogger a while back suggested Wilson Betemit should have let himself get hit by an inside pitch with the bases loaded in a tie game. Fans do this all the time without thinking about the pain aspect, but to Lee Judge's credit, he wanted to put his money where his mouth was. So he got with the team and they fired up the pitching machine and he wore a 92 m.p.h. fastball, just to see what it felt like. There's a video and everything. (Kansascity.com ). As an aside, I have an excuse to pimp my brother's feat here. He played baseball for Valparaiso University and was hit by a pitch a whopping 27 times his senior year. So I have access to a great authority in HBPs. You know what he would say? YOu're damn right it hurts, but it's only temporary.

NOVEL CONCEPT: While many teams in baseball are suffering downturns in attendance due to the economy, weather and probably some other factors, the Blue Jays are flourishing. They're up 56.6 percent since last season at this point, and this with the on-field product not doing so well. So, what gives? Well, for the first time in years they have made an aggressive marketing campaign. Wow, go figure. (The Globe and Mail )

HIGH PRAISE: Jerry Hairston has faced Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens -- easily the big four guys who endured the PED era from the bump. So when he says "he's the best pitcher I've ever faced," who was he talking about? Roy Halladay. (Nationals Journal )

REMEMBER ME? Joey Devine is going to return to the A's bullpen soon. If you'd forgotten about him, you're forgiven. Devine has missed the past two seasons after having Tommy John surgery. He's 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 7 1/3 innings in Triple-A Sacramento. He's struck out nine hitters without allowing a single walk. He's only given up three hits. Yeah, I'd say he's ready. When Devine last threw in the majors, he was lights-out. In 2008, he had a 0.59 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings out of the Oakland bullpen. He's still only 27, so he will be a major reinforcement for an already-strong pitching staff. Expect a promotion within the next few days.(SFGate.com )

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Veteran Damon leading Rays resurgence

By Matt Snyder

Remember when the Rays started 1-8? Johnny Damon was hitting miserably, Manny Ramirez abruptly retired after another failed drug test, there was no offense in the aftermath of Evan Longoria's injury and the sky was completely falling.

Well, the Rays are now 13-11, after annihilating the Twins in the day portion of a double-header, 15-3.

Not surprisingly, Damon had a big game (3-4, triple -- which was inches from being a home run -- stolen base, three runs, RBI). Hey, he's not alone. B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce also had three hits while Ben Zobrist exploded, going 4-6 with two doubles, a home run and eight RBI.

It's just that Damon's been at the center of the resurgence for a while.

Beginning with the Rays' first win of the season, a day after Damon called a players only meeting, the 37-year-old Damon has collected a hit in each game he's appeared. Yes, he has a 15-game hitting streak. It's everything he's doing that is making the run special, though. In addition to being a clubhouse leader and spark in the once-inept offense, Damon has been crushing the ball. In those 15 games, he's hitting .355 with four home runs, 20 RBI, 12 runs, two doubles, a triple and a .998 OPS. He's getting clutch hits late in the game, including walk-offs, and sparking rallies early in the game to take the lead -- giving the starting pitchers some surely much-appreciated breathing room. In following Damon's lead, Zobrist and Joyce have gotten hot as well -- not to mention the protection a hot-swinging Damon affords cult hero Sam Fuld atop the order.

Many things are clicking for the Rays right now. If you wanna find a starting point, though, look no further than the venerable Johnny Damon. 

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 8:47 pm
 

Damon leaves game with finger injury

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Johnny Damon Rays outfielder Johnny Damon left Sunday's game with the Twins in the fifth inning, two innings after he was hit in the hand on a bunt attempt.

Damon has a bruised left ring finger and has been listed as day today. X-rays after the game showed no break, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
 
"It's very sore. It's really tough to squeeze anything right now," Damon said. "Hopefully, I'll be ready to go as soon as possible. That's about all we know right now until probably tomorrow... It's pretty bruised. I've got it up in a splint right now just so I can't bang it on anything. It's just a very unfortunate thing.

"I wanted to try to tough out the game but they thought it was best if I came in and started icing and try to get ready for tomorrow. At this point, I can't guarantee anything. Whether or not I'll be in there tomorrow or not. Time will tell. It's unfortunate our streak came to an end but hopefully we can start another one tomorrow."

He initially stayed in the game and delivered an RBI single on the next pitch to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead, but in the top of the fifth, he was replaced in left field by Matt Joyce.

Damon has been a catalyst for the Rays' recent turnaround, hitting .348/.375/.609 in the team's recent five-game winning streak, with two home runs. His RBI single stretched his hitting streak to nine games. Damon had just one hit in the team's first five games, all losses.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Damon has eye on Hall of Fame

Damon

By Evan Brunell

While Johnny Damon is currently busy trying to get the Rays back to .500 (and helped that goal by bashing hit No. 2,581 for a walk-off home run Thursday night), he's also thinking about the Hall of Fame and what cap he would wear, pointing to the Royals. Yes, the Royals.

"Is it realistic? Yes," Damon told the Kansas City Star about making the Hall. "Is it the most important thing to me? No. The numbers would be great to attain, but I really don’t know how many more years I’ll play. If this is a rough year for me, I’m going home. If not, I’ll keep getting after it."

Despite Damon's strong credentials, it appears as if though he'll need 3,000 hits to have a real shot at the Hall, given none of his other numbers stand out. To be steady for such a long time like Damon has requires a tremendous amount of durability, patience and talent. But Damon doesn't have enough star-power numbers to qualify for the Hall unless he cracks 3,000 hits which doesn't seem feasible.

"It stinks that [3,000 hits] might be my only chance, because I’m climbing the runs list, too," Damon said. "I think all of those years I did it quietly without really thinking about my numbers."

Damon currently has 2,581 hits, 487 doubles, 218 homers, 100 triples, 388 stolen bases and 1,568 runs scored. The run total is behind only Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez among active players and ranks 51st overall. That means Damon could become the first player to have 3,000 hits, 500 doubles, 100 triples, 250 homers and 400 stolen bases in baseball history.

Over his 17-season career, Damon has averaged 183 hits a season. If he can stay within that average, which would come out to a .287 career batting average, he would reach 3,000 hits sometime in 2013 -- provided he remained a starter. It's not impossible to envision that occurring, as despite his age, Damon is still a solid contributor with the bat and brings tremendous value to a club with his leadership.

If he does reach those numbers, the Hall would be a virtual lock. What's less of a lock is what cap he wears into the Hall of Fame. “I think it goes by the longest tenure, so it would be Kansas City,” Damon told the Boston Herald.

Damon is actually incorrect, as players get input on what cap they will wear. In the past, players were able to choose but cannot any longer, thanks to the Wade Boggs contract clause with the Rays that stipulated he pick the Tampa Bay cap when entering the Hall despite just two years tenure with the club. 

Damon doesn't have any particular team that jumps out for representation on his cap. You can rule out the Athletics and Tigers, as he only spent one year with those clubs. The Rays, likewise, can be ruled out because he is in the tail end of his career and won't have the impact he did on earlier clubs, plus it's difficult to see him starting for Tampa for four years.

That leaves a six-year tenure in Kansas City and two separate four-year stints with the Red Sox and Yankees. Despite spending six years with K.C., the club did not accomplish much in his time. No, the cap is likely going to come down to Boston and New York.

The case for Boston is that he was a cult hero with his Caveman-like beard, was an architect of converting the clubhouse from 25 cabs, 25 people to a tight-knit group and delivered a hit for the ages with his crushing blow against the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS when his grand slam sealed Boston's improbable comeback.

Of course, Damon is reviled in Boston these days as he once said he would never sign with the Yankees and then did so just months later. He would compound matters later by declining to be traded to the Red Sox late last season, but there has still been a noticeable thaw in treatment by Red Sox fans, if Tampa's two-game set last week in Boston was any indication.

Damon was a hit in New York as well, as he helped heal a fractured clubhouse and brought a World Series to town as an important top-of-the-order presence who also enjoyed some of his best power numbers thanks to the short right-field wall. But he didn't have the cult following as he did in Boston and while that World Series was much-welcomed by the city, an eight-year drought doesn't compare to excising an 86-year-old drought.

It's anyone's guess what hat Damon requests to wear, but if he requests the Royals, that will be enough to vault the club into contention with Boston and New York. The early money has to be Boston given he became a national name, a cult hero and an indelible part of Red Sox history.

Things could change if he returns to K.C., however. If Damon returned to town, that could push K.C. over the edge to represent Damon in the Hall if he was elected

“Kansas City is the team I grew up rooting for,” Damon said. “I had almost six years there. I put up some good numbers. I’d love to end my career in Tampa, but if had to go back to Kansas City for a year to finish my career, I’d welcome that, too."

If Damon did return to K.C., even if it was just as a bench player to play his career out, it could be enough to get a Royals hat on Damon. But more importantly, Damon actually does appear as if he could be a great fit for a Royals squad that will be rather green the next few years. Damon has an impeccable reputation for his impact on keeping a team together and the clubhouse loose -- but also being extraordinarily professional with a strong work ethic and desire to win. All these traits would be incredibly valuable to a Royals team looking to integrate the game's best farm system into the majors over the next two-to-three years.

All that said, it's going to be very difficult for Damon to make the Hall of Fame, and unless he can last long enough to hit some significant milestones, will instead belong in the Hall of the Very Good.

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Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:44 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/14: Here's Johnny

By Matt Snyder

3UP

Johnny Damon, Rays. He set a record Thursday night, in case you didn't hear. A quite obscure one, but a record nevertheless. When Damon hit a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, it was the fifth team for which he'd hit a walk-off homer -- the others being the Royals, Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first player in major-league history to do so. That speaks to both longevity and bouncing around. For the present, however, the concentration should be on the Rays' third straight victory.

Randy Wolf, Brewers. After starting the season 0-4, the Brewers are now 7-5. Thursday night, they owed a big portion of their victory to the man on the hill. Wolf allowed just three hits and two walks with zero earned runs and didn't allow a Pirates player past second base. He also struck out 10 men. Big outing for Wolf and the Brewers are really rolling now.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. He entered the game hitting .194 with a dreadful .553 OPS. The star shortstop has been badly outplayed by Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki to this point. Thursday, Ramirez showed signs of life. He got on base five times in five plate appearances, going 3-3 with two walks, a run and an RBI. This could be exactly the thing he needs to get going. With the Marlins being 7-5 now, basically without his bat, watch out.

3DOWN

The Twins. Joe Mauer is going to the DL. Rays starter James Shields allowed 11 baserunners, but the Twins only scored twice. Twins starter Carl Pavano threw an absolute gem (eight innings, four hits, zero runs, seven strikeouts) and it was wasted by the bullpen. And it wasn't just two random members of the 'pen. It was Joe Nathan, who coughed up the lead in the ninth on a two-RBI Matt Joyce double, and Matt Capps -- who lost the game on Damon's aforementioned shot in the 10th.

Mariners offense. They were already starting with a strike against them. Adam Kennedy was hitting cleanup. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. Then the Mariners go out and get handcuffed by Bruce Chen. In fairness to Chen, he had a 4.07 ERA and 1.38 WHIP last year, so he's not the worst pitcher in baseball or anything. It's just that he's still Bruce Chen and held Seattle to six hits, a walk and zero runs over eight innings. That shouldn't be happening to a major-league offense. Then again, Adam Kennedy should never be batting cleanup even in a minor-league offense.

Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers. He got off to a stellar start to the season, but it came crashing down Thursday night as the Cardinals let loose against the right-hander. He was only able to get through five innings, allowing 10 hits and five earned runs as the Dodgers lost 9-5.

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Posted on: April 11, 2011 1:40 pm
 

Damon expecting boos tonight

Johnny Damon
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Johnny Damon is pretty sure he'll be booed tonight when he plays at Fenway Park for the first time since Aug. 23, 2009.

The last time Damon was at Fenway Park, he was a Yankee. He played for the Tigers last season, but missed the Tigers' three games in Boston with lower back spasms.

Even though he won't be wearing a Yankees uniform this time, he expects a similar reaction to the one his old teammates get in Boston.

"I guess whenever you put on the Yankees uniform they get upset about it," Damon told reporters on Sunday in Chicago (via the Boston Globe.) "I get booed. They absolutely despise me. I just have to say, 'You're welcome for '04. You're welcome for making it fun again over there.'"

Damon used his no-trade clause to deny a trade to the Red Sox last season and help the team in its late-season push. He chose instead to stay with the Tigers and help that team, which was out of the playoff race out of a sense of loyalty. However, the team didn't re-sign him and he signed instead with the Rays.

Damon played in Boston from 2002-05 and helped lead the team to the 2004 World Series title.

Damon said last year he'd heard some cheers when he first returned to Boston, but he said he doesn't have a problem with Boston fans -- or New York fans.

"I've been booed so many times in my career," Damon told the Boston Globe last season. "I got booed yesterday. I get booed everywhere. It really does not bother me. It just shows I've been around and people know I can make a difference in ballgames. Like Reggie Jackson once said, 'They don't boo nobodies.' I like to think of it as a positive instead of a negative."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 8, 2011 6:29 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 10:52 pm
 

Reaction to Manny Ramirez's retirement

By Evan Brunell

RamirezSo, what's the reaction to Manny Ramirez's surprise retirement?

"I am surprised," teammate Johnny Damon -- both currently with the Rays and for years in Boston -- told the Associated Press. "This spring he played well. ... I don't know everything that's been brought up. All I know is he's a great teammate and a great player."

Close friend and former Red Sox teammate David Ortiz concurred after seeing the Red Sox beat the Yankees for the first win of Boston's season. Big Papi indicated that he had heard the news in between innings as he told MLB Network after the game.

"It shocked me," he said. "I talked to him during spring training while we were playing against Tampa. He looked really good. I know that he was going to be able to put good numbers [up]. I don't know what happened. I don't know the details."

Manager Joe Maddon tweeted out a reaction, saying "A great player retired, but I believe it is a galvanizing moment for us."

Jason Giambi of the Rockies also weighed in as someone who acknowledged taking steroids in his career and battled Ramirez's Red Sox while with the Yankees.

"I'm shocked," said Colorado's Jason Giambi, who has acknowledged taking steroids during his own career. "He was phenomenal, one of the best right-handed hitters I've ever seen. He always kind of portrayed that he was out there but he knew how to hit, man. He was unbelievable when it came to hitting. He knew what he wanted to hit and what pitch he wanted to hit and what your were going to throw him, and watching him take an at-bat was pretty impressive. ... He always played that he was aloof, but he really knew how to play the game. You could talk hitting with him and his work ethic was pretty unbelievable. He would be in the cage, hitting off breaking-ball machines and I think that's a part of him that people didn't see, that he put his time and effort into hitting."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was short and succint in his appraisal. Manuel oversaw Ramirez in 2000, his first year managing the Indians. After Ramirez left following the season, Manuel would manage two more years in town before being fired.

"Might have been running out of bullets. Father Time was catching up to him."

UPDATE: The St. Petersburg Times' Marc Topkin posts this video of reaction from Johnny Damon and manager Joe Maddon:




UPDATE: Ramirez's former Dodger teammate Rafael Furcal tells CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller he was surprised by the announecement.
"I promise you, he does not want to retire," Furcal said. "I don't know what happened."
UPDATE: Here's two more from former teammates, both Red Sox now, via the Boston Herald:
Bobby Jenks: "Once you get caught once, you're already banged 50 games. Why try again? It's a little stupid, but I guess he made his own choices and now he's got to live with them."

Kevin Youkilis: "I don't know why he retired, but the guy had one of the best careers and Hall of Fame numbers and all that. He's a guy who will go down as one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all-time. He had a great stretch. There's so much stuff on the drug thing, from stuff you can get at the drug store. You never know what it is. … I always said, guys that get caught for stuff, this game’s hard. To hit a baseball, there's a lot of guys that look great in the weight room. Some of the stuff, if you look back on Barry Bonds and all the stuff he's going through and supposedly what he did, if you saw the guy hit, it was like no other. The guy would see 15 pitches, and the catcher would hold his hand out and he'd get one pitch and it would be a home run. Manny was the same way. To me, personally, what they did was pretty remarkable. I'll always give them credit for that."

And then his former manager in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen from the Chicago Tribune: "Manny, as a friend, as his former manager, he was great for the game, he's done a lot of great things for baseball. He was one of the best hitters to play the game. He played good for us last year. I wish he could have played better. He was great in the clubhouse. I don't have any complaints or regrets to have him with the ballclub."

Guillen also said it sends a message to current players about MLB's drug testing program: "It shows people that Major League Baseball is after [drug users]. They're not playing around. They're letting the players know how tough they're going to be. They say they'll be checking and monitoring those guys, and jeez, they're showing how much they want to make this game clean and clear.

"That's the first thing I told the players in the meetings -- they're not playing around. If you get cut you should be punished because now we know for last five or six years they're after this, and any players that [take banned drugs] they're taking a risk."
UPDATE: Former teammate Orlando Cabrera tells this great Manny story to the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Curt Schilling is on the mound," said Cabrera. "He comes to the dugout frustrated and says, "What the hell is going on?' Manny comes to the dugout laughing. He saw my glove and grabbed it and says 'Gold Glove.' He raises his glove and says "Bronze Glove.'

"Then he looks at Schilling and says, "I got a bronze glove.' Schilling is so mad that he starts laughing. Then Manny goes up later in the game and hits a grand slam. Schilling said, "That's why I can't say anything. I know he's got a way to fix things and that's the way he does it."

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:55 am
 

Top 'Manny Being Manny' moments

Ramirez

By Evan Brunell

With Manny Ramirez's retirement, he leaves a lasting legacy both on and off the field. Below are some of his classic "Manny Being Manny" moments...

CUTTING OFF DAMON: Perhaps the most seminal moment of Ramirez's career -- check out the video right here -- came on July 21, 2004 when Johnny Damon grabbed a David Newhan ball in the gap. He hurled it toward where cutoff man Mark Bellhorn was waiting, except Manny dove for the ball and snagged it in midair. That gave Newhan an inside-the-park home run.

LOVIN' THE MONSTER: Ramirez liked to enter the Green Monster on countless occasions in between innings rather than, you know, focus on the game at hand. He was spotted talking to someone on a cell phone July 9, 2008 as Javier Lopez was warming up after being called into a game. Five days later, he went inside to sip on a bottle of Gatorade as he waited out a pitching change. But years before that, in 2005, Ramirez actually stayed in the Monster so long he missed the first pitch of an inning. In that year, on July 18, he made his famed bathroom trek into the Monster.

SORE THROAT: On August 30, 2003, Ramirez bowed out of the night's game due to a throat infection. That throat must have needed alcohol to cure it, because he was spotted with Yankees player Enrique Wilson later that night at the Ritz Carlton Hotel knocking back a drink.

SKIPPING THE WHITE HOUSE: You've been there once, you've been enough, right? That's what Manny thinks of the White House, skipping the reception to commemorate the Red Sox's 2007 World Series title. "I'm sorry [David Ortiz'] running mate, Manny Ramirez, isn't here. I guess his grandmother died again. Just kidding. Tell Manny I didn't mean it," then-president George Bush quipped, referring to Ramirez's tried-and-true excuse of his grandmother's death to skip events -- like the beginning of spring training -- that he otherwise did not want to attend.

NEED THAT EARRING: Ramirez was in Pawtucket during 2002 on a rehab assignment when he slid into third base and lost his diamond earring. After the game, the grounds crew along with 13 PawSox players combed the dirt and found the stud, but not the diamond. Ramirez would go on to ask management if he could stay in Pawtucket rather than return to Boston. Hey, Rhode Island's nice.

HIGH FIVE: On May 14, 2008, Ramirez ran down a flyball hit by ex-teammate Kevin Millar. As he jumped and hit the wall, he high-fived a fan before landing, turning around and throwing to cutoff man Dustin Pedroia, who then doubled Aubrey Huff off first base.

CAUGHT STEALING: Did you know Manny Ramirez was actually caught stealing first base? Yep -- Germany Schaefer must be smiling. On August 13, 1997, Ramirez was playing in the first game of a doubleheader against the Tigers when he delivered an RBI single to left in the eighth inning with the team down 13-2. With Jim Thome at bat, Ramirez took off running to second base on a pitch and was safe, but thought the ball had been fouled off by Thome. He started walking back to first base when Willie Blair, the pitcher, tossed the ball to the shortstop who tagged out a jogging Ramirez.

SHOVING OLD MEN: Manny Ramirez shoved traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground when McCormick -- in his early sixties -- could not come up with the 16 tickets Ramirez had requested the day of the game. Ramirez later apologized.

WELCOME TO BOSTON: Ramirez's first season in Boston was 2001. On June 23 of that year, he hit an absolute bomb that landed somewhere on the Mass Pike. Despite announcers and newspaper writers feeling it was the longest home run hit at Fenway Park, the official distance was measured at 501 feet -- one foot less than Ted Williams' iconic blast into the right-field stands that is marked by a red seat. Later that year, he would bow out of the final game of the season for "personal reasons." The Red Sox honored Cal Ripken, Jr. that night as it was Ripken's final game at Fenway Park.

TRY TO HUSTLE: There's far too many accounts of Ramirez lazily running down the first-base line and in some occasions, may have been able to reach base if he didn't care enough. But September 9, 2002 takes the cake. After bashing a home run, Manny would ground out and not even bother to run, electing to walk back to the dugout.

GETTING HIGH: Ramirez requested his walkup song in 2002 to be changed on September 7 to Good Times (I Get High) by Styles, a song about drugs and laced with profanity that ended up being played over the PA speaker due to not being double-checked.

THE RED SOX DON'T DESERVE ME: Capping off a disastrous 2008 season, Manny tried and tried, but just couldn't get out of Boston. So instead he decided to take matters into his own hands at the trade deadline of 2008, claiming that his knee hurt and he was unable to play in a crucial game against the Yankees. (Ramirez would do this on multiple occasions; take days off no matter the opponent, situation or if the bench was short.) The Red Sox weren't buying it and took him to have a MRI. Except Ramirez forgot which knee hurt, so the Sox took MRIs of both knees and they came back clean. "The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me," Ramirez would later tell a reporter, which greased the skids out of town.

DREADLOCKS STAYING: Manny Ramirez completely flouted Joe Torre's rules when he arrived in Los Angeles, refusing to cut his dreadlocks. After 11 days as a Dodger, Ramirez said that he and Torre were "talking about it," while Torre remained firm on the subject, saying "I'm not negotiating anything." Guess who won?

GAS IS UP: After the 2008 season, Ramirez was a free agent. When asked about his future, Ramirez responded, "Gas is up and so am I." Indeed, he would go on to sign a two-year, $45 million pact to return to the Dodgers.

OVATION: OK, here's another feel-good Manny story -- or perhaps only if you're a Boston fan. In 2005, when Manny looked like he was going to be traded, he was held out of the lineup on July 31. At the time, David Wells made a classic comment. ''The guy's messing with my cake," Wells said, as the Boston Globe recalls. ''Whatever it is, he better have a great excuse because we need Manny in the lineup. I don't care what, this team needs him." However, he made a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth inning, much to the crowd's delight. A Red Sox fan in college at the time, I'll never forget the chills I got.

PICKED OFF: In Game 2 of the 1995 World Series, Ramirez was picked off first base by catcher Javy Lopez of the Braves in the eighth inning. Cleveland had narrowed the score to 4-3 the inning before, and Ramirez singled with one out in the eighth with Jim Thome striding to the plate. Alas, Ramirez was caught napping for the second out of the inning.

RETIREMENT: Credit goes to Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder for this one, but how much of a "Manny Being Manny" moment is today's announcement that he was retiring? Ramirez was staring at his third link to a positive drug test, a 100-game suspension and decided it wasn't worth the headache. So much, in fact, he didn't bother to tell Tampa Bay he had retired.

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