Manny Ramirez appeared to be caught off guard yesterday when asked by reporters what it meant to have Terry Francona back with the team after his scary bout with chest pains and subsequent hospital stay. Ramirez, who had just finished putting on his uniform before game time, seemed puzzled and asked what the reporters were talking about. He was then told of how Francona had been taken out of Yankee Stadium in an ambulance a week earlier and had been hospitalized for several days, missing a total of four games.
"You mean that bald guy who manages the team?" Ramirez asked. "No kidding. Wow! The poor guy. Hey, remind me to pick up some flowers so I can visit him in the hospital after the game. You know, this might be a good chance for me to get to know him a little better."
Ramirez was then informed that Francona had since returned to the team and was back on the bench. "Oh, okay," he said, relieved. "Yeah, you know I thought I saw him on the bench yesterday. I think I even talked to him. He’s a sweet guy, man. Lemme tell you, I gotta start paying attention to these things more. But all these owners, manager, general manager, coaches—man, I can't keep all the names straight you know? I just play baseball and do my thing."
But Ramirez vowed that with this embarrassment he would turn over a new leaf. "I'm gonna write Theo a nice note, you know, tell him I missed him while he was gone and I hope he's feeling better. I hope that smoothes everything over, you know what I'm saying?"