Everyone loves to watch Manny Ramirez at the plate. Even other major league players stop to watch him take batting practice – some are even distracted during the game. That’s because they can’t do what Manny does, which is hit a baseball better than just about anyone else on the planet. In Welcome to Mannywood, in the new issue of ESPN The Magazine on sale now, writer Jeff Bradley talks to teammates, coaches and swing experts to get their take on the swing savant.
- Sean Casey, former teammate: “If slumps are between a player’s ears, which I think they are, then Manny is slump-proof, because mentally he is always the same.”
- Russell Branyan, Mariners: “Players were asking for video of him when he was a kid in Cleveland. And it hasn’t changed. You watch him, and you try to grasp even a little of what he does, hope it sinks in. You wonder what he’s seeing that you don’t see, what he’s doing that you’re not doing.”
- Don Mattingly, Dodgers hitting coach: “When he hits a home run, I swear, on the bench, it’s like he never hit one before in his life. But when he strikes out, he’s still smiling, coming back to the bench saying, ‘He throws me there again, and asking the ump for a new ball.’ Man, the game is hard, but to him, it’s still a game. I wish everybody could be like that.”
In addition to the Ramirez feature, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian break down all 30 teams to find out who’s the team to beat this year…their pick: The Tampa Bay Rays. Plus, a new wave of fielding analysis changes the way free agent sluggers are valued, and the experts from Baseball Prospectus on how a few subtle changes in the field can dramatically change a team’s defense…for better or worse.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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