Ok, I know what you are thinking right now. What do Ramirez and Kapler have in common? Other than the fact that they were teammates, absolutely nothing. Actually, I came across two interesting articles about each of them.

The first article I came across is one about how Kapler is adjusting to life as a manager now that he is retired.

“It’s been phenomenal and very rewarding,” the former Red Sox outfielder said of his move to the coaching ranks this spring. “The early returns suggest that this is just what I was hoping for. [I] wake up every day with the mind-set that I’m going to find somebody to help make better.”

This spring has resembled a boot camp for Kapler, whose busy daily regiment begins before sunrise.

“I’m here at 6:15 in the morning and leaving late,” he said. “All day long, I’m really trying to focus on being around players or coaches that I can steal some insight from, whether it be DeMarlo Hale on how to coach third base or Mike Hazen with his experience with managers and coaches in the past or [Red Sox manager Terry Francona] about his experience, or some of the Minor League staff who have been so helpful in reaching out to me and getting me through some of the early growing pains.”

I can tell you that from my experiences in minor league baseball (not as a manager obviously), that there is a lot more than just going out and managing the game. As you read in the article, he will have to do game reports and scouting reports of other players. The managers that I had the pleasure to work with usually were at the ballpark for an hour or two at least after the game doing their reports. They were also at the ballpark 3 to 4 hours before the players listening to the game reports of the other teams in their organization, and going over what ever the big club has sent them for that particular day. So if you thought the life of a minor league manager was easy, think again.

The article dealing with Manny is entitled The purpose-driven life: Ramirez consumed by desire to be great, and all else is background noise.” It details how hard Manny works to become the best player that he can be and hopefully one of the greatest hitters of all-time.

To reach his goal (and he is succeeding), Ramirez permanently wears blinders, shielding himself from the rest of the world. He has decided that explaining himself or his methods is pretty much a waste of time and energy – resources he’d rather devote to getting better.

An immigrant from the Dominican Republic who grew up in the crack-ridden Washington Heights section of New York City and turned into a multimillionaire who lives in posh digs and dresses like a Rastafarian, Ramirez remains on a single-minded quest to hone his hitting skills. He has taken some funky, inexplicable detours, but every day, Ramirez wakes up and finds himself back on the path.

Most of us are in his way.

By 10 a.m. on gameday, Ramirez is either in the Fenway Park [map] clubhouse or the team’s hotel lobby, ready to meet a workout partner for a couple of hours of weight and strength conditioning. He is on a three-day rotation throughout the entire season that focuses, in turn, on upper, lower and core strength.

“The funny part is that he may look a little eccentric, but he’s an animal. He gets after it – he’s got a full lather going in those workouts,” said Paul Lessard, the team’s head athletic trainer. “It’s not just to get the blood flowing.”

When Dave Page, the strength and conditioning coach, hears the phone ring in his hotel room, he usually can guess who’s on the other end.

“Every day in the morning, he’ll call me and it’s, ’Meet me in the lobby at 10 o’clock,’ ” said Page. “I’ve been in baseball for nine years in the major leagues, and by far, Manny is the most consistent and most intense workout guy I’ve ever had. I think he enjoys it. He comes in in the morning, lifts and works out, goes home for some lunch and a nap, and then he’s back here, running with the pitchers every day and then batting practice.

“I know he doesn’t like to miss a day. If there’s a late game and we have a morning game the next day, he still has to do something. It’s as much of a mental thing for him than it is physical. He’s very loyal to his routine.”

We all know Manny doesn’t speak to the media and from what I can gather from the article is there is a method to his madness. We all joke its just “Manny being Manny” but he does that for the sole purpose of being the greatest player and hitter of all-time. Manny is a great hitter but sometimes his attitude gets in the way. I don’t know if he likes to have his name in the media but he should be relishing the fact that he won’t be the sole focus of the media this season in Boston. With Matsuzaka in town, he won’t have to worry there.

As you read in the article, he is a tireless worker. Always doing something to be the best. As bad as Manny appears to the public, a lesson can be learned from how much effort he puts in to be the best hitter.

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