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The Return Of Manny Ramirez To Fenway Park

Thoughts on Manny Ramirez's return to Fenway Park from Russell Goldman.

Friday night marks Manny Remirez's return to Fenway Park. In the history of Boston sports, is there a player that has been more controversial than Ramirez?

From the moment he signed with the Red Sox, up until the point he was traded, Manny has been a polarizing figure. He has many supporters and just as many detractors. Ramirez returns to Fenway Friday night and the big question is: how will the Fenway fans react?

Before we answer that, let's look back. Manny arrived in Boston in 2001. He was a hit from the first time he came up to bat in a Red Sox uniform. Manny was a draw all by himself that first season with the Sox. His statistics his first year were fantastic: 41 home-runs with 125 RBI and a .306 batting average. But, as the season progressed, something else emerged besides those great statistics. Manny had a strong personality and was not afraid to show it.

From the beginning, his Red Sox career has been a balancing act. His career stats with the Red Sox are impressive. In eight seasons with the Sox, he hit 274 home runs. Ramirez was a fantastic hitter, but he had an attitude that turned off both the media and the fans at times.

Ramirez was a part of the two World Series Championships in 2004 and 2007. He was awarded the World Series MVP award in 2004. In 2002 he led the American League in batting with an average of .349. The stats for Ramirez are fantastic, but they doesn't tell the entire story. He helped David Ortiz become a great player, and together they made for a lethal middle of the lineup. They protected each other and benefited a tremendous amount from their partnership of batting third and fourth.

However, when you talk about his personality, that can leave many Sox fans with mixed emotions. He would sometimes not run hard to first on ground balls. You also heard whispers in the media that Manny had a tendency to shut it down when he was not happy. In 2003, before a game against the Yankees, it was reported that Ramirez was too sick to play. However, afterward, he was spotted in a hotel hanging out with Enrique Wilson.

In 2008, Manny was really acting up. He had an altercation with Kevin Youkilis in the dugout during a game. In June, it was reported that Ramirez pushed traveling secretary Jack McCormick. There were so many other moments with Ramirez that were often only described as "Manny Being Manny."

So here we are, with Manny Ramirez about to return to Fenway Park. Sox fans have to decide if his production outwieghed his outrageous personality. Is it more important to applaud his accomplishments with the Sox, or show your displeasure for the actual person?

So, how will the Fenway fans react to Manny Ramirez?