When Manny Ramirez left in 2008, it was on very bitter terms with the Boston Red Sox. He basically forced the organization to trade him to the Los Angeles Dodgers because he refused to play. On top of that, Ramirez tossed Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick, who was 64 years old at the time, to the ground over a dispute involving game tickets. With all that in the past, Ramirez was welcomed back by the Boston faithful during Wednesday’s ceremony that honored the 2004 World Series team.
Ramirez emerged from the green monster to cheers of “Manny, Manny, Manny.” He was also the person who threw out the ceremonial first pitch, which was playfully intercepted by Johnny Damon. To make the night even better, he gave McCormick a long-awaited apology for the way he behaved in 2008.
With everything appearing to be going great, it is hard not to notice that Ramirez seems to be a completely different person than he was just a couple of years ago. When asked what had changed him, the former slugger stated that he turned to religion to help him out of the dark hole he had fallen into. It was after he spent a few days in jail for allegedly assaulting his wife that he realized he did not like the person who he had become.
“When I went to jail with that problem with my wife, they didn’t let me see my kids for two or three months,” Ramirez told ESPN, “and one day I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror and I said I needed a change. I started going to Bible studies, I saw it was good. God helped me to change my life. … Now I realize I behaved bad in Boston.”
Hopefully, Wednesday’s ceremony is the first of many instances the Red Sox will be in the presence of Ramirez. Even though he is now a player-coach for a minor-league team in the Chicago Cubs organization, there is plenty Ramirez can do for the Boston community down the road, especially now that the team and he are on good terms once again.