It was set up just like a great ending to a fairy tale. Edgar Renteria hits a double with two outs, and then the intentional walk to David Ortiz with two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning brought up Manny Ramirez to pinch-hit. The 34,929 in attendance erupted in cheers for Manny before Ortiz was even officially walked. He came to the plate and he was "Manny being Manny" by hitting a RBI single that would give the Red Sox the win.
Where would we be without Manny Ramirez?
I'm a fan of Ramirez. I think everyone is. I ripped Terry Francona for giving him special treatment, and I still think he shouldn't get any special treatment, but I've never said that having Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron would be better than having Ramirez. I don't think it's possible to have anyone at Ramirez's caliber. We need Manny, and to be honest, he needs us.
He needs the fans and he needs Boston. We all saw how he reacted to those fans when they were chanting his name in the 8th inning, and we know he was feeling something special when the "We Want Manny" chant started earlier in the game. Manny felt it when he walked out of the dugout, and he was soaking in it when he stood on first base after hitting an RBI.
People may have jumped on his back when he requested a trade, but that wasn't the real problem the fans had with him. The problem was him refusing to play, but now new reports are saying that he wasn't aware of the extent of Trot Nixon's injury, and wasn't asked to play, but asked if he still wanted a day off. This may be Terry Francona covering for Ramirez, but if not, Manny deserves some credit.
Manny was clutch today; something he always is. It was a "classic Fenway moment," and we really needed him to step up. Manny wanted to step up, and that's why we are celebrating right now, not weeping. If Manny didn't want to play today, he wouldn't have gotten that hit. It shows that Manny really does want to be here, and he really does want to win another World Series.
That's Manny being Manny.