Morning sports update: Manny Ramirez admitted he took time in Boston for granted, made ‘a couple of decisions’ he regrets

"Man, let me tell you, this is the best place ever to play. Too bad that I have to realize that now."

Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez
Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, and Orlando Cabrera pose for a photo at the 2019 Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park. –Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff

The Red Sox received their 2018 World Series rings on Tuesday at the team’s home opener on a windy, chilly day at Fenway Park. In the end, it was the Blue Jays who won the game, 7-5.

One of the bright spots was a home run from Mookie Betts:

Also, the Celtics concluded the regular season with a 116-110 win over the Wizards, finishing with a 49-33 record. Boston now faces the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs.

Manny Ramirez opens up about his time with the Red Sox: During an appearance in the NESN television broadcast booth during the Red Sox home opener on Tuesday, former Boston slugger Manny Ramirez offered an unusually introspective assessment of his experience with the team.

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“Let me tell you something, guys,” Ramirez began. “When I was walking form left field, I felt so much love from the fans that I felt like I never left. [It was] that feeling that I never had in my life. It was like coming back home. Man, let me tell you, this is the best place ever to play.”

Yet Ramirez admitted that he regrets not fully understanding this when he was a player.

“Too bad that I have to realize that now,” Ramirez said. “This is even better. You know why? Because when you get older, you realize that those little things, you were not supposed to take it for granted. And most of the time, I was here and I was enjoying myself, I was playing the game, and sometimes I took for granted everything that I had, making a couple of decisions that I shouldn’t make.”

“But I think that was supposed to happen,” Ramirez explained, “so I could be in the place that I am right now. Now I value more my family, my kids, my friends, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.”

Jerry Remy, sitting next to Ramirez in the booth, quipped, “They call that maturing, Manny.”

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Ramirez’s time in Boston was balanced by incredible production at the plate, but a mixed relationship with team management. In 2003, the Red Sox placed Ramirez on waivers, but no teams claimed his enormous contract. And in 2008, he was traded to the Dodgers in the middle of the season when the team felt it could no longer tolerate “Manny being Manny.”

Ramirez nonetheless helped the Red Sox win two championships, and was the MVP of the 2004 World Series. He remarked how different things are in Boston in 2019 compared with when he signed in Dec. 2000, and how the Red Sox have won four titles since 2004 compared to the Yankees’ one.

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“I remember when I came in 2000, everybody was talking about the curse,” Ramirez said. “Now who’s got the curse? We’ve got four [World Series wins]. We’ve got four championships, and New York’s only got one.”

Trivia: On the subject of Manny Ramirez and Boston home openers, Ramirez homered in his first Fenway at-bat as a member of the Red Sox in 2001. The first inning shot off Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Ryan Rupe plated three runs. Can you name the other two Red Sox who scored as a result of Ramirez’s home run, based on the following clues:

  • The leadoff hitter was originally selected by the Red Sox with the seventh overall pick in the 1993 MLB draft. He also wore the number seven jersey during his 10-year career in Boston, and helped the Red Sox end the 86-year championship drought in 2004.
  • The No. 2 hitter signed with the Red Sox as a free agent in 1998 on a four-year, $26 million deal. Prior to that, in 1993, he was the first ever player to face the Marlins in a regular season game in the team’s history. He also led the league in triples in both the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

(Answers are at the bottom.)

More from Boston.com:

One NHL player favors the Bruins to win the Cup: An anonymous NHL player thinks the Bruins have a legitimate shot to defeat the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Matchup-wise, they’re the best bet to knock Tampa off. They play well defensively and they’re structured but they’re explosive offensively. The top line is as good as any in the playoffs. Depth has gotten better. They’re not elite on the back end but play a team system and the goaltending is good enough. They can defend the Lightning and still score on them.” [The Athletic]

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A slightly overlooked moment from yesterday was some managerial history:

Miami Heat fans answered Paul Pierce’s claim about being better than Dwayne Wade:

Speaking of Dwayne Wade, he fell onto Chrissy Teigen and John Legend while taking a shot Tuesday night. Teigen captioned it appropriately:

On this day: In 1896, Greek runner Spyridon Louis won the first modern Olympic marathon. The 23-year-old covered the historic distance from Marathon to Athens in 2:58:50.

“His victory was greeted with thunders of applause,” recapped the Boston Globe a day later.

Allegedly (though differing versions exist), Louis drank wine mid-race.

“Along the way my future father-in-law, standing by the roadside, offered me a beaker of wine,” Louis reportedly said according to Olympic historian David Miller. “I slurped it down and felt much stronger.”

Daily highlight: Liverpool made it look easy against Porto in the Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday. Roberto Firmino finished a nice series of passes that sliced through the defense.

Trivia answer: Trot Nixon and Jose Offerman