The sign above doesn't capture Manny being Manny at all. It's Manny being Johnny!
As Busted Coverage pointed out in its extensive, uh, coverage of the first game Manny Ramirez played in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, nobody like Manny has ever played there before. This is a big deal. And, as they do here for big games, fans made signs for Ramirez's home debut Wednesday for the EDL Rhinos. Some fans got so excited, they mixed up Manny Ramirez with another player.
That's Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds, as CBS Eye on Baseball's Dayn Perry pointed out (in a photo I bet Cueto's mother just absolutely loves). Real Manny is pictured in the inset. Manny only WISHES he had Cueto's hairline. But he is much older. That'll happen. Anyway.
Now, how did Manny do in his debut? He had two hits — both singles — and he struck out looking. That's kind of how his time with the Chicago White Sox was at the end of his Major League Baseball career. Not a lot of power left, seemingly. And not enough of a "Q" rating anymore, apparently, to be recognized by Taiwanese fans.
What's odd about the mixup is, other than the lack of a resemblance — aside from both being humans with dreadlocks — it's not like you have to guess what Manny looks like. If you do an internet search for Ramirez's image, Cueto's image doesn't come up. Or it didn't used to. They are from the same country. It probably would take some digging to find them in the same photo together. Perhaps on the Facebook of Robinson Cano, whom I imagine hosts barbecues every winter where every Dominican who has ever played in the U.S. gets invited to his home.
Ramirez and Cueto have never played on the same team, at least in the U.S. of A. Ramirez did have two plate appearances against Cueto, back in 2010. So they've crossed paths. They've probably even met at one of the Dominican Republic Baseball Player Mixers that I imagine David Ortiz hosts twice a year.
A lot of the sign is swell. The Rhino graphic, the "We support you" text, they're. But if they really want to make Manny feel welcome, the fans in Taiwan need to swap out Johnny Cueto on the Manny Ramirez signs.