Manny Ramirez is back to being Manny, but this time he is doing it half way around the world in Taiwan.
Manny recently signed with the newest team in the Chinese Professional Baseball League out of Taiwan, the EDA Rhinos. E-United Group bought the Sinon Bulls franchise and have made big splashes in the league ever since.
The first thing they did was change the name of the team and then they moved the team from Taichung City further south to Kaohsiung. But the biggest splash came when the Rhinos singed Manny Ramirez a few weeks ago. Manny sat out the Opening Day loss for the Rhinos and instead waited until the team returned to Kaohsiung, and it was a circus when they did.
Forgive me if some of this is off by a little. Translation is coming from the CPBL website.
The game set the single game attendance record with 20,000 fans showing up to watch Manny play (previous record came in 2004 with 18,342).
Ramirez batted fourth as the designated hitter going 2-for-6 in the game with a pair of singles.
His first hit came in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs and a runner at first, Manny lined a breaking ball over the third baseman into left field. After the hit, the ball was taken out of played and saved.
His next hit came in the bottom of the fourth. After perhaps getting a call on an 0-2 count, Manny lined a fastball for a single to right field.
In his other at bats, Ramirez struck out once, flew out to left field, and grounded out twice.
In the end the Rhinos lost to the Brother Elephants 9-8 in 12 innings, but all of that was lost with Manny stealing the show.
The Rhinos are paying Ramirez $25,000 a month to play on the island which is going through a rejuvenation of sorts with baseball. Less than a month ago, Taiwan saw its largest audience ever for a baseball game with 23,431 fans coming out to see the hometown Chinese Taipei team take on Korea in the World Baseball Classic.
Now with Manny in tow for the Rhinos, the league looks to gain much needed, and somewhat deserved, international attention.
He might be a few pounds heavier and a few steps slower, but from the video it seems Manny can still hit. Now we will just have to wait and see how he does, and if he stays with the team or moves on to bigger and better things. No matter what, it’s going to be interesting to watch.
Manny’s first hit.
Manny’s second hit.