It was a roller-coaster day for Olivia Ragon, a ponytailed 12-year-old from Melrose. First thing yesterday morning, she asked her father if her favorite Red Sox player, Manny Ramirez, had been traded overnight.
Not yet, he said.
So, in her blue No. 24 Ramirez jersey, she headed in high spirits to Fenway Park with her father, for her first game ever.
At first she was disappointed to see Ramirez out of the lineup against the Minnesota Twins for a second day. But when the 4 p.m. trading deadline expired, and with Ramirez still in a Red Sox uniform, Olivia felt that all was right with the world.
She joined the crowd in chanting ''Manny!" while hoping Ramirez would pinch hit in the seventh inning.
She then cheered loudly when Ramirez finally did come to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning -- and drove in the winning run.
''He's definitely my favorite, so I was really excited," she said. ''I'm very happy he's still on the team."
As the first-place Red Sox won their fifth straight game, most fans said they felt the same way. Sure, the enigmatic slugger has his flaws -- eccentric behavior and occasional lackluster effort -- and many fans remained angry that he had reportedly asked to be traded, and that he had refused to play in a game last week.
But for most of those at Fenway yesterday, Ramirez's offensive talent and boyish charm outweighed the ''Manny moments," a term for his fielding and baserunning gaffes.
In short, most fans want Ramirez to shape up, but in the end most seemed delighted that he hadn't been shipped out.
''We love him, even if he needs an attitude adjustment sometimes," said Donna Hamrock, 36, of Canton. ''And we need those grand slams. Just run hard to first -- OK, Manny?"
The uncertainty surrounding Ramirez's future brought an edginess to the usually festive atmosphere at Fenway.
As baseball's trade deadline neared, fans switched into a kind of split-screen mode, simultaneously watching the action on the field as they contacted friends by cellphone and gathered in front of concourse televisions for any trade developments.
Rich Murphy, a 37-year-old from Billerica who had signed up to have the Red Sox message him with breaking news, was pleased that his phone had remained quiet. When it came to Ramirez, no news was good news, he said.
Once it became clear that Ramirez would remain in Boston, the crowd roared for him to enter the game. He promptly singled up the middle, and Ramirez, booed on Friday, was a fan favorite once again.
''That's just the way he is," said Phil Grant, a souvenir vendor who said Ramirez often waves to him while driving in. ''You take the good with the bad."
The trade rumors swirling around Ramirez also affected jersey sales, clerks at souvenir shops said. Many people gobbled them up as potential collectors' items, while others decided such a step would be too risky. Joan Walters at The Souvenir Store on Lansdowne Street said two people bought $150 Ramirez jerseys Friday, only to return them a short time later after hearing he might be traded.
She exchanged one jersey for a Varitek version, and refunded the other person's money.
Many fans said they were willing to give Ramirez the benefit of the doubt because of his talent at the plate. Emotions aside, the team has a better chance of making the playoffs and defending its World Series title with him anchoring the lineup, they said.
''Bottom line, he produces," said Steve Galea, 42, of Jamaica Plain. ''They've got a shot to win this year, and I don't see them able to fill his offense without him."
Mark Kates, a 44-year-old from Brookline who wore his Ramirez jersey to the game as a show of support, said that people should be used to Ramirez's quirkiness by now, and that they shouldn't get so worked up over it.
''He's very consistent in his craziness, but he's also consistent on the field," he said. ''How many other World Series MVPs do we have on this team?"
High atop the Green Monster, some of the fans were less understanding. Many had looked forward to seeing Ramirez patrol left field beneath them, and they expressed some anger over his absence.
Jack Hamre, 12, of Holliston, who had brought a sign reading ''Where's The Rebate, Manny?" with his father, Jim, said he was washing his hands of Ramirez after the outfielder's latest antics.
''He's pouty," he said. ''I wanted to see him go. If no one else wants him, we should fire him."
But for the most part, the kids in attendance were Ramirez's most loyal supporters. News that he would continue to blast homers over the Green Monster made a day at the ballpark that much better. ''He's a really good hitter," said Will Sylvia, 7, of Newton. ''He hits a lot of home runs. He's too good to be traded."
Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com