Former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, who has tempered his comments on Boston and the Red Sox since being traded to the Dodgers in mid-season, had plenty to say to T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times in a column published yesterday.
Ramirez told Simers that he was unhappy during his entire eight-season tenure with the Red Sox. “The first time I stepped foot in Boston, I said to myself, ‘Whoa.’ I told Pedro Martinez, ‘Damn, man, I just want to get traded and get out of here; this place is not me.’ I was unhappy for eight years in Boston but still put up great numbers.”
More interesting tidbits from Simers’ conversation with Manny:
Manny Ramirez celebrating at Dodger Stadium
- Ramirez told Simers the fans in Boston supported him, but the media made his life difficult.
“Baseball in Boston is like a Sunday football game, but played every day,” Ramirez said. “We lose in LA, I go to breakfast and people say, ‘Well, you’ll get them tomorrow.’ In Boston, it’s ‘Hey, what’s going on, the Yankees are coming.’ It’s just a different atmosphere. The fans in Boston got your back no matter what, but I’m talking about the people who write all this bull because it means so much to them. If your happiness depends on Boston winning or losing, you have to get a life.”
- More from Ramirez on the differences he perceives between Boston and LA.
“I would bring my kids to the park [in Boston] and I want my kids to be kids, but there’d be people trying to interview them. That’s so stupid,” Ramirez said. “I’d go to the parking lot after the game and 20 people I didn’t know would be offering food, CDs and things — then wanting something in return.
“[In LA], the game ends, I go to the elevator, my car and no one bothers me.”
- In a roundabout way, Manny seemed to admit to Simers that he did not always give a full effort running to first base while in Boston:
“I love to hit, to compete and would never do that; that’s just people looking for stuff,” he says, while admitting he now runs everything out in L.A., “and I don’t even have to think about it.”
That suggests he wasn’t running everything out in Boston, and while he tries to explain, he’s interrupted. There’s no explanation for such behavior after signing a contract and being paid $20 million a year to give his all.
“You’re right,” he says. “You’re right.”
- While Manny didn’t challenge Curt Schilling’s accusations that Ramirez was an ongoing problem in the Red Sox clubhouse, he responded to the charges:
“I don’t wish him anything bad, although it did make me madder and play harder to show everyone who I am,” Ramirez said. “I don’t disrespect or takes shots at anyone. I don’t want someone going to one of my sons and saying your dad is a punk and talks bad about people behind their backs.”
- It sounds like Manny just wants to move on, and hopes Red Sox fans can do the same:
“Just let me be happy someplace else,” Ramirez said. “I’m against the clock.”
- He also appears to be loving life in Los Angeles. “It’s just great here; I don’t feel like I’m in a cage. The fans in L.A. are unbelievable — never in my 16 years have I received such a reception.”
We’re sure some folks who frequented Fenway Park for the last eight years would take umbrage with that last statement.
- In today’s Simers column, Ramirez shed some light on the shoving incident between him and Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick in June:
As for the incident that had him knocking down a Red Sox executive, “I was wrong,” Ramirez said.
He said the relationship with the executive had been deteriorating for some time, and a day earlier the guy had said some nasty things to Ramirez in front of Ramirez’s teammates.
Ramirez went home troubled, returned and asked for a meeting with the executive. “I told him, ‘I can’t have you disrespecting me in front of my teammates.’ ”
When he didn’t get the response he liked, it escalated into a shove.
“I didn’t handle it the right way,” he said.
- Manny, who is a free agent at the end of the season, on his future with the Dodgers: “I think I can play four or five more years. And the way the division is, the Dodgers can win it the next four or five years, but they have big decisions to make. It just depends on how badly they want to win.”