As we recapped on Friday night, the return of Manny Ramirez(notes) to Fenway Park was as conflicted as this jersey. There were cheers, there were boos, but there was no single group that could be declared a winner in terms of public sentiment. "Anti-climactic" defined the night and not even someone living in an alternate sense of reality would be moved to acknowledge the crowd in a positive or negative fashion.
As such, Man-Ram rightly did not respond to the crowd during his first trip to the dish — or any of the 12 other plate appearances he made during Boston's sweep of his Los Angeles Dodgers. The situation simply didn't call for action by Ramirez.
(Because who steps out of the box to wave his helmet at a crowd that isn't fully behind him?)
Of course, leave it to a member of the Boston media — which clearly misses Manny's fodder more than anyone back east — to slam Ramirez for not baring his dreads for the crowd.
What remains a mystery is why Ramirez was either unable or unwilling to tune out the booing and allow himself the satisfaction of knowing that, in spite of everything that happened, there are still Sox fans who love him. Had he been able to make that distinction, perhaps he could have stepped out of the batter's box, removed his helmet, and raised it into the air.
Such a simple time-honored gesture. Old Hoss Radbourn was doffing his cap to the fans at Messer Field when he was pitching for the 1884 Providence Grays. And the betting here is that if Ramirez could have found a way to remove his helmet, some of the fans who had been booing him would have chosen to let bygones be bygones and given him his props.
Buckley's entire argument seems conflicted as Fenway's is itself. First he runs down all of Ramirez's transgressions from his time as a Red Sock, makes them seem like unforgivable sins and insinuates that people were insane to cheer Ramirez on his first Boston trip since he was traded in 2008.
Then he goes ahead and says a simple wave of the cap would have made it OK for him to receive "his props" from those who were booing him. Yeah, I don't really get it, either.
Look, I thought we all knew Ramirez's return wasn't going to be greeted with a ticker-tape parade or even the type of "we forgive you, let's never fight again" sentiment that welcomed Nomar Garciaparra(notes) back into the Red Sox Nation fold last season. There might be a day when that moment comes for Manny — probably when he realizes his post-career earnings potential is a lot greater in a nostalgic New England — but it wasn't going to come this weekend.
Ramirez's lack of a response over the three games was appropriate.