by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff
The New York Times’s Tyler Kepner doesn’t hold back much in questioning Many Ramirez’s return to the majors, but it’s a quote from former Red Sox manager Terry Francona that is the most explosive portion of the piece.
Ramirez, who will be 40 by the time he can play again, is a ghostly reminder of a tainted era with a long history of roguish behavior. Terry Francona, his nice-guy manager in Boston, once said this to Peter Gammons, “Manny Ramirez is the worst human being I’ve ever met.” That might say it all.
It is indeed a loaded statement, one somewhat balanced by more genial comments made by Rays Joe Maddon and Evan Longoria, both of whom knew Ramirez for a whole two months. Francona, of course, toiled with the hopeful Oakland Athletic for four-plus years. According to Gammons’s MLB.com column from last November, Francona made the comment in 2008, not long before Ramirez was dealt to the Dodgers in a deadline deal.
Ramirez, of course, still needs to serve a reduced suspension of 50 games before he can play in the majors again, but he also has to make the club.