Manny Ramirez was a huge pain to Terry Francona, who managed him for years while the pair were with the (very successful) Boston Red Sox last decade. He'd miss work, he'd show up late, he'd sometimes look like he either didn't know what he was doing or didn't care to, but he could hit. Like, really, really hit. And can still hit:
That home run, by the way, was the 7,000th ever hit in the Chinese Professional Baseball League of Taiwan, and came in front of a record crowd of 12,000. Manny's still got it, and Taiwan knows it.
For all of Manny's oddities with effort, the dude did genuinely love to play baseball. This explains why he's now 41 years old and playing in Taiwan, rather than the majors, in order to extend his career. Sure, he can be a star over there, but he can also help bring legitimacy to a league that's in its infancy when compared to what's going on in the states.
If you've ever wanted to follow Manny's international career and Taiwanese-league ambassadorship in-depth -- and you know you do -- then there's a blog for that. Manny Does Taiwan is chronicling his performance, as well as his off-the-field activities, while he's playing baseball for the EDA Rhinos of Taiwan. On the sidebar, there is a link to YouTube videos of each of his homers -- so far, he's gone yard five times -- and there are also important updates in the life of Manny Ramirez. For instance, his preference for Halloween costumes that he is wearing in May:
Go on, follow the link. There are Manny/Hulk presents that go with it.
So, unless you have some major problem with seeing Manny Ramirez hit baseballs a long way for a Taiwanese crowd hat is in love with that very thing -- seriously, listen to the reaction in the above video -- or you're totally anti-Manny-in-a-Hulk-costume, this blog should probably be bookmarked and checked daily.