When he steps up to the plate, you may not pay particular attention to his stance, the way he holds his bat, or even the way he looks out at the pitcher. What you will notice is a long mane of neatly braided hair that slightly hides his name on the back of his uniform: Ramirez.
Yes, Manny wouldn’t be Manny without his trademark long dreads. Perhaps that is why general manager Kenny Williams didn’t mind bending the rules a bit for his recently acquired player.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Angel Pena, well-known baseball barber to the major leaguers, had a date with Manny and his dreads to help him conform to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s policy. Better known as Monster99, Pena admitted he just couldn’t cut off Manny’s dreads.
“His hair is what makes Manny cool,” Pena pointed out.
Well, I am happy to report that the dreads are still in tact, though Williams indicated Ramirez cut his hair three times in ten days. “Manny is fine. It’s nice and neat,” Williams said. Manager Ozzie Guillen agrees saying he has conformed as far as he is concerned.
Manny’s take on the whole hair thing: “It seems like everywhere I go, people want to talk about the hair,” Ramirez commented.
Coming to the White Sox has been good for both Manny and the team. Ramirez has an opportunity to make a fresh start after missing some 60 games due to injuries while playing for the Dodgers.
And many a baseball fan knows there is more to Manny than his famous head of long hair.
The “Manny effect” has spread throughout the team, giving players visions of possible play-off chances in the hunt for October. Already he has made some positive contributions. Since Friday, the 10th, Ramirez has a .292 batting average and he’s still warming up with a few nice singles. He’s been on base in seven of nine games.
He still doesn’t have the long ball or RBI’s, but they will come in time. Ramirez has 554 career home runs, so it’s just a matter of time before his bat heats up. “I’m getting there,” Ramirez said. “I’m just trying to put the bat on the ball.”
His presence is felt in the lineup, as well. A.J. Pierzynski’s game-winning three-run homer Aug. 31 against Cleveland was hit while Ramirez was on-deck to pitch-hit. The game ended in a victory for the Sox. The next day, Paul Konerko blasted a three-run long one. Manny was on-deck next up to bat. The White Sox took the game, 6-4. Manny got his first single with the Sox in the seventh, but failed to score when Mark Teahen grounded into a double play.
Guillen thinks Ramirez is a nice fit for the team. “He’s been real good since we got him. I expect him to have a great, great homestand.”
uastoday.com, suntimes.com, chicago.whitesox.mlb.com