If it's July, then it's time for Manny Ramirez to perform his yearly ritual of requesting/demanding/hinting a trade, another quirk in his personality that falls under the ever-expanding umbrella of "Manny Being Manny". But do these bouts of madness affect his performance? Are these little episodes ways to relieve pressure allowing him to perform on the field, or are they just another day in his insane life?
To answer that question, let's take a look at his stats during the 10 games prior and the 10 games following five of his more notorious MBM moments. Previously we looked at another madman's Ten Up, Ten Down and it showed no effect. Is Manny any different?
Just how much does a Manny Moment affect the on-field performance?
Incident: September 7th, 2002—Manny requests a not-so-fan-friendly song for his plate appearances—"Good Times (I Get High)" by Styles P.—which is played over the Fenway Park public address system in its unedited form.
Pre-MBM: .225, 3 Rs, 7 RBIs, 1 HR
Post-MBM: .432, 10 Rs, 16 RBIs, 6 HRs
Analysis: Whether it was the mass quantity of cuss words or the various references to drug paraphernalia, Manny sure enjoyed that entrance song well enough to have an explosive turn-around.
Incident: August 23, 2003—Manny plays the outfield with a water bottle in his back pocket. The guy wanted to stay hydrated. (Ed's Note: We once saw Cubs fans throw Twinkies at Lance Berkman as a play on his Fat Elvis status at the time, and he ate one and back-pocketed another between outs.)
Pre-MBM: .359, 11 Rs, 9 RBIs, 5 HRs
Post-MBM: .316, 1 R
Analysis: This one's going down as an incomplete because Manny only played five games following his water exploits after asking out of the lineup on August 29th with a "severe sore throat". However, Manny continues to be himself by being spotted at a bar with some friends the next night. Maybe it wasn't water in the bottle after all.
Incident: July 21, 2004—Manny intercepts a cut-off throw from Johnny Damon in absurd fashion— he appeared to be about about 20 feet away at the time—allowing an inside-the-park home run in the process.
Pre-MBM: .333, 7 Rs, 7 RBIs, 1 HR
Post-MBM: .214, 6 Rs, 6 RBIs, 1 HR
Analysis: Probably one of the greatest plays of all time, even if it's great for all the wrong reasons. Manny's average takes a wallop following the ill-advised cut-off despite staying consistent in other areas.
Incident: July 18th, 2005—During a coaching visit to the mound, Manny runs inside the Green Monster for a much-needed bathroom break. Moments before the pitcher delivers his first pitch, Manny hustles back out, tucking in his shirt on the run.
Pre-MBM: .281, 7 Rs, 8 RBIs, 3 HRs
Post-MBM: .241, 10 Rs, 8 RBIs, 4 HRs
Analysis: If there ever was a time for evidence to support the theory that MBM incidents act as a "relief mechanism", it would be this one. Unfortunately, there isn't much of a difference in pre- and post-urination stats. Of course, the fact that Manny was willing to use any means to relieve the stress, so to speak, implies that he likes to stay on an even keel.
Incident: May 14, 2008—While catching a deep fly ball, Manny runs up the wall and high-fives a Red Sox fan in the front row, mid-play. He turns and makes a solid throw in, cutting a runner down. Play is re-played 6,435 times on Baseball Tonight.
Pre-MBM: .154, 5 Rs, 5 RBIs, 2 HRs
Post-MBM: .195, 2 Rs, 7 RBIs, 2 HRs
Analysis: Maybe he picked the wrong fan to high-five. Again, there's not much of a difference here, with the exception of about a million more Ramirez jerseys sold for this display of insane, um, focus.
Final Pre-MBM: .273, 33 Rs, 36 RBIs, 12 HRs
Final Post-MBM: .274, 29 Rs, 37 RBIs, 13 HRs
The Final Analysis: Just like the last time we did this, there's not much of a difference before or after the incidents. In this case though, the stats are just mind-bogglingly similar. There's only 1 point difference in batting average, RBIs and HRs? It's almost amazing.
It seems Manny is Manny no matter what's happening; on the field or in his head.