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10/23/07 11:00 AM ET

Heart of the Order: Manny Ramirez

He has become defined by a three-word phrase in a region that positively adores him -- Manny Being Manny. What exactly is Manny being Manny? It can mean just about anything - good, bad or in between -- in regards to the left fielder's carefree and flaky nature. But more than anything, Manny being Manny is Manny crushing the baseball. Ramirez is one of the most gifted and accomplished right-handed hitters the game has ever seen.

Lesser known than that, however, is that Ramirez, despite his loosey-goosey nature, is a batting cage rat. To beat Ramirez to Fenway for a night game, you have to get there by late morning. Because there Ramirez already is on a lot of days, working on his swing in solitude, lifting weights or scouring through video.

Heart of the Order
With the World Series approaching, MLB.com explores the people behind the numbers on the AL champion Red Sox.

C: J. Varitek
1B: K. Youkilis
2B: D. Pedroia
SS: J. Lugo
3B: M. Lowell
LF: M. Ramirez
CF: J. Ellsbury
RF: J. Drew
DH: D. Ortiz
SP: J. Beckett
SP: C. Schilling
CL: J. Papelbon

Because Ramirez doesn't speak to the media all that much, he is sometimes perceived as surly in national circles. That couldn't be further from the truth. Not many minutes go by when Ramirez doesn't have a smile on his face. He keeps his teammates loose by reminding everyone that it is just baseball everyone is playing, and it's not a matter of life and death. When the Red Sox trailed the Indians, 3-1, in the American League Championship Series, Ramirez had an impromptu session over at his locker where he uttered the following:

"We're confident every day," said Ramirez. "It doesn't matter how things go for you. We're not going to give up. We're just going to go and play the game, like I've said, and move on. If it doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like the end of the world or something. Why should we panic?"

Ramirez never did panic. He just kept hitting, and the Red Sox did come back from 3-1.

Though Ramirez was born in the Dominican, he spent much of his childhood in New York City, becoming a high school baseball star at Washington Heights. Other lesser known facts about Ramirez: He has MBM (short for Manny being Manny) stitched on to most of his clothing; He is an avid collector of antique cars; He loves reggae music.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.