Manny Ramirez has been nearly unstoppable since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 1. Tim McCarver, who will call the National League Championship Series on Fox television, is among those who have noticed.
"It's extraordinary -- the dichotomy between what he was in Boston and what he is in Los Angeles," McCarver said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I mean, talk about wearing out your welcome in a town, and it was a long welcome with the Red Sox. But some of the things he did were simply despicable, despicable -- like not playing, refusing to play. Forgetting what knee to limp on. And now it's washed, it's gone."
McCarver, and others, have pointed to Ramirez's numbers with the Dodgers, which are stunning. Ramirez hit .397 after joining the Dodgers, with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 187 at-bats. His on-base percentage is .489 with the Dodgers.
In his last month with Boston, Ramirez hit .347 with a .473 on-base percentage. But Ramirez has been dogged by allegations he didn't play hard and quit on his Red Sox teammates late in his tenure in Boston.
"A rejuvenated Manny, I think it would be fair to say," McCarver said, according to the Inquirer. "More than old Manny. Manny's doing things that even Manny doesn't do, [like] scoring on a double to right field from first base.
"It's a wonderful story in many, many ways, and from Boston's standpoint, it's a horrible story, I would imagine, because he could be doing that for Boston."
Wednesday, speaking with ESPN's Outside the Lines, McCarver stood by his comments.
"You can't ignore all of the things that happened in Boston," McCarver told ESPN's Bob Ley. Later, asked if "despicable" was the right word, McCarver said: "I'm fine with it. I was fine with it when I said it."
Ramirez was asked for his reaction. "I play hard," he said. "When you play hard, everybody respects you."
He was asked if he played hard in Boston. "Yeah, I did," Ramirez said. "I did play hard."
Ramirez spoke to the media in Los Angeles on Tuesday. He wasn't specifically told of McCarver's comments, but did tell a Los Angeles Times blog: "I was just trying to see the opportunity that I was going to get to change my image. All that B.S. that was in Bean Town wasn't true. That I'm just an easy guy to please. A lovely guy."
The blog asked Ramirez if he was worried that people are getting the wrong impression of him as a good teammate who plays hard. "Not really," he said, according to the Times blog. "You know why? As long as you know my teammates, they know how hard I play. I care about everybody on the team. That's what matters to me."
Ramirez has faced the Phillies 10 times this season. In 33 at-bats, he hit .212 with one home run and five RBIs. His on-base percentage was .409. He had lower numbers against only two of 23 teams he played against this season.
Back in Philadelphia, McCarver told the Inquirer that he's seen the likes of Ramirez before in sports.
"Every sport, there have been people who have held organizations hostage, whether it be Terrell Owens or Randy Moss or Manny Ramirez," McCarver said.
Ramirez isn't interested in talking about his final days in Boston that ended with plenty of acrimony.
"I don't want to talk about the past," he said. "I don't look back. I move forward. I don't have anything bad to say about Boston."
That goes for all his critics, too.
"My teammates know what kind of guy I am. That's where I'll leave it," Ramirez said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.