Remember when Manny Ramirez spent four years hugging David Ortiz?

Remember when Manny Ramirez spent four years hugging David Ortiz?

Beyond the fact that the Boston Red Sox had spun a 10-game losing streak into a 3-game winning streak, there was some unbelievable stuff taking place at Fenway Park last night.

Plenty about it was certainly within belief. The team honored the 2004 World Series champions, so there were some old idiots welcomed home. Kevin Millar’s unhinged stream-of-conscious commentary during one inning of play was delightfully manic. Pedro Martinez danced through the outfield. David Ortiz hugged everyone. And Manny Ramirez showing up with a mohawk wasn’t the most ridiculous haircut he could’ve sported.

But the contrite Ramirez that apologized for the inglorious ending and burned bridges wasn’t something that ever felt possible. Peter Gammons, famously, reported that manager Terry Francona told him, “Manny Ramirez is the worst human being I’ve ever met.” He knocked down 64-year-old traveling secretary Jack McCormick towards the end of his stint in Boston in 2008. There were numerous run-ins with management and other players beyond that — I vividly remember him and Kevin Youkilis getting into it in the dugout during one game — and the bizarre path of his career after Boston, through Hollywood and Chicago and North Korea, spaced out by suspensions and retirement, made it seem as though Ramirez was lost in the woods forever. The man who, with Ortiz, formed half of the most terrifying 3-4 in baseball since Ruth and Gehrig, arguably, was a punchline and a fading memory. (more…)