Manny, Sox unfazed by pressure
Slugger says team is confident despite trailing, 3-1, in ALCS
CLEVELAND -- How is Manny Ramirez holding up amid the pressure of his Red Sox trailing, 3-1, to the Indians in the American League Championship Series?
So well that Ramirez held a rare briefing with the media in which he let his guard down and gave reporters a sense of the carefree personality that his teammates are privy to on a daily basis.
It was a vintage seven minutes of Manny being Manny. It was almost as if Ramirez was saying, "Pressure? What pressure?"
"We're confident every day," said Ramirez. "It doesn't matter how things go for you. We're not going to give up. We're just going to go and play the game, like I've said, and move on. If it doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like the end of the world or something. Why should we panic?"
What does Ramirez think about being the all-time leader in postseason home runs with 24?
"It's good, but if I would have known that I was going to be in the World Series and not have those records, I'd trade them in a heartbeat," Ramirez said. "Who cares about the records, man? We just want to go out, have fun and win."
There was a lot of talk about Ramirez raising his arms in triumph after his solo homer in Game 4, which was the third in succession by the Red Sox. The problem is that his team still trailed 7-3 at the time.
"Man, I'm just happy to do something special like that," Ramirez said. "I'm not trying to show up anybody out there. I'm just trying to go have fun. If somebody strikes me out and shows me up, that's part of the game. I love it. I like that. I like to compete. And when people strike me out or whatever and they show me up, it's all good. There's no hard feelings. I'm not trying to show anybody up."
Though Ramirez is having a monster ALCS -- .462 average, two homers, seven RBIs -- the Red Sox are struggling to hit as a team.
"It's going to happen. It's going to happen," vowed Ramirez. "We've got a lot of confidence in our teammates. They've been good all year round. Now, because we're down, three games to one ... that's what we have to do. We have to keep grinding it out and see what's going to happen."
Ramirez will save the deep dissection of what has transpired in this series thus far to the "experts." He prefers to look at things at face value.
"We've got a great team over here and the other side is playing great," Ramirez said. "They're pitching the way they should and they're coming through with big hits. What can you do? You just think about Thursday and you just try to come and play hard and have fun. It's not over yet."
Ramirez was with the lovable "Idiots" of 2004 who came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees.
Do they miss Kevin Millar's "Cowboy Up" pep in these dire circumstances? Ramirez couldn't resist a jab at his good friend.
"That was a clown. He's a clown," said Ramirez.
Then there is Ramirez, who just hits.
Does Ramirez still enjoy hitting at Jacobs Field, the place where his legend was built in the first place?
"I like hitting everywhere," he said.
Now, Red Sox Nation can only hope Ramirez has not taken his last Fenway Park swing of 2007.
"We have a great team," Ramirez said. "If it doesn't happen, we'll come back next year and try to do it again."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.