So there are rumors abound that the ManRam is taking baseball seriously this year for the first time in his life. He apparently hasn't lifted a bat, but he's been working out like a fiend at API (with the likes of Youkilis and Pedroia) and is apparently in top notch shape. And he's doing it in his typically ManRam sort of way:
It's 8 a.m., and Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramírez is already sweaty. He looks ripped and ready to defend the world championship.That's right ManRam. Take care of yourself or else you'll end up like Uncle Rico.
He shouts "Ohio Gozaimasu" - Japanese for "good morning" - above the rock music blaring in the Athletes' Performance weight room. He runs sprints and agility drills on the Arizona State football field and signals touchdowns. He fetches bottles of water for his workout mates, Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Minnesota Twins third baseman Nick Punto. He then does a lefty weight resistance exercise and announces he's going to bat lefthanded this year. He's only kidding.
When Youkilis is temporarily challenged by a 100-pound dumbbell, Ramírez stands over him and starts a "Youk" chant that would make a Fenway bleacherite proud. The football players training for the upcoming NFL Combine think he's crazy.
"Manny being Manny, I know what that means now," says Punto. "He's an intense workout partner. I think people perceive him the wrong way sometimes because this guy really loves the game. He loves everything that goes along with it. He's working out hard and he's going to be ready to play this season, for sure."
Things are good in Manny World. Since declaring himself a "bad man" at the World Series, Ramírez, 34, has announced his plans to report to spring training on time and to play for several more years. Ramírez allowed the Globe to follow his 2-hour-15-minute workout routine but politely declined to be interviewed.
"Take care of yourself," is his advice.
No no, not like this, like the real Uncle Rico: