Manny Ramirez might be a new man. But he apparently is the same daunting slugger.
Ramirez, who recently was hired by the Chicago Cubs to be a player-coach for their Triple-A affiliate, saw his first game action Wednesday in Arizona as part of extended spring training. The 42-year-old marked the occasion by crushing a 450-foot home run, according to multiple reports.
Ramirez, one of the most polarizing players in Major League Baseball history, appeared at Fenway Park last week for the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Boston Red Sox’s 2004 World Series-winning team. The 12-time All-Star looked and sounded like a changed man, saying he has found peace through faith and realizes he has made mistakes throughout his playing career.
The Cubs hired Ramirez with the understanding he would play for Triple-A Iowa in addition to serving as a coach. The idea is for him to impart his wisdom on the younger players rather than audition for a major league job, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still rake from time to time.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Ramirez’s home run Wednesday is that photos show Manny dishing out a trademark bat flip.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.