Lesser known than that, however, is that Ramirez, despite his loosey-goosey nature, is a batting cage rat. To beat Ramirez to Fenway for a night game, you have to get there by late morning. Because there Ramirez already is on a lot of days, working on his swing in solitude, lifting weights or scouring through video.
Because Ramirez doesn't speak to the media all that much, he is sometimes perceived as surly in national circles. That couldn't be further from the truth. Not many minutes go by when Ramirez doesn't have a smile on his face. He keeps his teammates loose by reminding everyone that it is just baseball everyone is playing, and it's not a matter of life and death. When the Red Sox trailed the Indians, 3-1, in the American League Championship Series, Ramirez had an impromptu session over at his locker where he uttered the following:
"We're confident every day," said Ramirez. "It doesn't matter how things go for you. We're not going to give up. We're just going to go and play the game, like I've said, and move on. If it doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like the end of the world or something. Why should we panic?"
Ramirez never did panic. He just kept hitting, and the Red Sox did come back from 3-1.
Though Ramirez was born in the Dominican, he spent much of his childhood in New York City, becoming a high school baseball star at Washington Heights. Other lesser known facts about Ramirez: He has MBM (short for Manny being Manny) stitched on to most of his clothing; He is an avid collector of antique cars; He loves reggae music.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.