Manny Ramirez put toghether a stellar baseball career, highlighted by his brief tenure in the Cubs organization as a player/coach with Triple-A Iowa, but he’s not ready to hang up his cleats just yet. The quirky superstar hasn’t played professionally since 2014-15, when he posted a .648 OPS with three homers in 77 plates appearance for the I-Cubs in 2014, then had a .917 OPS with six homers for Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League.
An aborted comeback attempt in Japan could only satisfy his jones for so long, which is why he’s eying a another with Taiwan’s CPBL. Maybe it’s the robot mannequins, a few of which could be easily converted to Mannyquins, or the transcendent appeal of the Rakuten Monkeys in general. Whatever the case, Ramirez told Mark Buckton of the Taiwan Times that he’s ready to give it another go.
“My goal for 2020, is to find a roster spot in the CPBL,” Ramirez said. “I have been itching to get back in the batter’s box and be able to compete again. I also miss being around teammates and team dinners post-game.
“I know if I was given the opportunity to come in an organization as a player-coach, it would do great things for the organization and the league. When I arrived in 2013, attendances nearly quadrupled overnight. That means, there is love for the game and the fans will come but the owners must bring what the fans want.”
Ramirez added that he’d received offers from the independent Atlantic League, but that the delicious food in Taiwan made the CPBL a more, er, appetizing option. That and the fact that baseball is actually being played in Asia right now. It’s a little absurd to think that a guy who’ll turn 48 in May could compete professionally, but the CPBL is roughly equivalent to Double-A in the states and could provide a softer landing.
Besides, Julio Franco hit .222 for the Mets and Braves in 2007 at the age of 48. I’m all-in on ManRam getting a little run again, even if it’s as a glorified mascot. The CPBL is all about pageantry and we could all use a little more fun these days.