Though he didn't do it in a formalized setting, Manny Ramirez did decide to speak with the media this morning (watch the video here). This could signal that Ramirez will be heading back to the old days, when he regularly talked to members of the media. He used to, but took a hiatus, finally breaking his silence in the 2007 postseason.
Here's a transcription of what Ramirez said this morning:
"This year we've got a great team. Let's go enjoy and see what happens."
How badly would you like to retire in a Red Sox uniform?
"I want to finish my career here, but it's up to them. If that doesn't happen, hey, I'll go and play somewhere else. I know I still can play and what else can I say? It's up to them. I'm not the one who writes the checks."
Does the contract situation give you more determination to show the Sox that you can still play?
"No. They know I play. So I don't gotta come and try to do too much. I'm just going to come, try to be Manny, and do my thing."
How do you look at last year, with the number down a little bit?
"Well, like I said, '07 was great for me. I learned a lot. I would trade those numbers for a World Series ring. So I got the ring again. I'm blessed, man."
Are you going to approach the Red Sox for an extension this spring?
"No, I'm not going to ask nobody for an extension. I'm going to come, play the game. I know my situation. That's it. I'm going to come and play and let them make the decision."
Are you happy here?
"I'm happy, yeah."
You've got two rings. What does that feel like?
"It's great, man. It's a blessing. A lot of people play and they never get one. What can I say, man? So many people played for the Red Sox, Ted Williams, so many guys. Such great players, and they didn't get a ring. I'm just happy to be here and blessed."
There were so many years when you didn't want to be here. What changed?
"Well, I think you start growing up, and mature also. Now I'm here and I want to stay here. But it's up to them."
How has being in Boston compared to what you expected when you started with the team?
"Boston is Boston. Boston is the same. I'm not going to change. This is a job that I've got to do. I'm happy here. I want to finish my career as a Red Sox. But it's up to them."
How much of staying in Boston has to do with your teammates?
"Nothing got to do with them. Got to do with me. I'm the one who's got to play the game. They're not going to come and play for me."
David Ortiz said yesterday that he expects you to have a monster year this year. Why do you think he said that?
"I don't know. I'm just going to go play the game, man. Whatever happens, happens."
When you say "it's up to them," do you mean it's up to them to do something before the season starts?
"No, no, no, no, no. They're the ones, it's up to them to say, 'OK, we're going to pay.' It's not up to me to go into the office and demand a four-year deal, whatever. I'm going to come here to play the game, finish my year. If they want me to come back, I'll come back."
You've said you want to be like Julio Franco. How long are you going to play?
"I'm going to go until the wheels fall off. I'm going to keep going. API, they're one of the greats. They're great people to go and work out and I'm going to keep doing it."
If the team came to you and said, 'Forget the options, we want to talk long-term deal," would you listen?
"I'm going to wait and talk to them, what they want to do after the season. I don't want to play the game and listen to that. I want to play the game, finish my year, and whatever happens, happens."
He was then asked about when the team was down 3-1 to Cleveland last season, presumably before asking about his comments at that time. Ramirez said, "No, no, no. That's in the past. I don't want to talk about that. Next year." That was it for the interview.
After standing up, out of the huge group of reporters and cameras, Ramirez went over to Bob Ryan, shook his hand, and stood talking to him for a few moments. That was it for his press conference.
We'll be back later with more goings-on.