06/19/10 12:37 AM ET
Cheers, boos greet Manny at Fenway Park
By Quinn Roberts / MLB.com
Yet as signs of love and hate were held for Ramirez during the Red Sox's 10-6 victory vs. the Dodgers in Friday's series opener, the question on people's minds was simple.
Would fans boo or cheer when he came to the plate?
The answer: a little bit of both.
"I think it was fun having him back," fan Greg White said. "I think you have to remember the good things that he did, and because of that, I cheered him."
Many fans couldn't help but remember the success Ramirez had in Boston (two World Series championships, four postseason appearances), and because of that, decided not to boo him.
"I think if we had never won with him here that it would be easy to say, 'Thanks for quitting on us, you did nothing. You were a great statistic, made a lot of money and bought your way out of town,'" said fan Dave Desroches. "When you win two championships, it is hard to be negative."
Yet, married couple Karl and Kay Helberg chose not to cheer Ramirez based on the effort and attitude they felt he gave in his 7 1/2 years (2001-08) with the Red Sox.
"He just doesn't play. He plays when he feels like it," Karl Helberg said. "If you showed up at your job and you did what you felt like, you wouldn't have a job anymore. And here comes Ramirez and he is making $20 million a year to play a game."
"It's just all about him," Kay Helberg said. "I guess if everyone had cheered then I probably would have, but that didn't happen. It was really split 50-50."
As the Dodgers' designated hitter, Ramirez went 1-for-5, striking out in his final two plate appearances in the seventh and ninth inning.
After the game, many fans were talking about his first at-bat in the second inning, a fly ball out to center fielder Mike Cameron.
"I noticed he swung at the first pitch in his first at-bat. It seemed to me that he really just wanted to get out of it," fan Jeff Breitenbach said. "It is just Manny being Manny."
Before Ramirez stepped into the box for that first at-bat, other fans were hoping he would in some way acknowledge the crowd.
"Seeing all of these other guys who played for the Red Sox step out and tip their cap to the fans when they came back, and then Manny never did that," fan Mark Littlefield said.
"I think it is a sign of disrespect to the Red Sox."
Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.