Andrew Kamenetzky: Manny Ramirez talks about his game-winning grand slam
Bottom of the sixth inning. One out. Bases loaded. Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds tied at two runs apiece. Manny Ramirez, to this point, seated on the bench, having suffered a hand injury during the previous night's contest. Before the game, Joe Torre informed us that, unless circumstances dictated a pressing need, No. 99 would be given a breather to heal his paw, despite it being Manny Ramirez bobblehead night. These being circumstances that could be described as "pressing," however, Torre elected to send out his biggest bat.
The crowd was immediately buzzing, and I turned to another reporter. "Manny is already a rock star in this town as it is. Think what happens if he comes through here." And by "comes through," I was thinking something along the lines of an RBI-single. Maybe even a double to clear the base paths. Basically, breaking the knot in favor of the Blue. Well, Manny had other plans.
Without the benefit of batting practice or even a session off a tee, dude rakes the first offering from newly inserted reliever Nick Masset (a 96-mph fastball) into the "Mannywood" section of left field. Grand slam. Dodger Stadium is louder than I've ever heard the place. Manny takes two curtain calls, then plays real-life bobblehead by briefly bouncing his head up and down to the amusement of his teammates.
As I noted to Ramirez after the game, it's almost ridiculous that so many circumstances would collide to create one of the coolest athletic achievements I've ever witnessed. You just can't make this stuff up, in large part because you'd feel stupid even trying. To say the least, this cat is worth the price of admission.
Here's what Manny said about a moment he described as "one of the best moments in my career."
-- Andrew Kamenetzky