The final day of Manny in Albuquerque has officially dawned. And, while the past two days have been unforgettable in more ways than one, there has been great stuff happening at Isotopes Park all around, not just of and concerning the rehabbing big leaguer.
Wednesday had more in store than anyone (specifically 13,076) could bargain for as the ‘Topes and Sounds went 15 innings, nearly shattering a franchise-record 5:00 game-time mark (the game fell four minutes short at 4:56).
Most of the Manny action came in the first hour of that epic game. Ramirez saw just four innings of play and two at-bats for the second night in a row, but was given the opportunity for a little more leg work, something he said was essential to his trip to Albuquerque. Ramirez led off the first with a four-pitch walk from Mike Burns (who received a rousing round of boos) and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Chin-Lung Hu. Sitting on second with one out allowed Ramirez to reconnect with the attentiveness necessary when out on the base paths.
Ramirez also moved around a great deal in left, fielding a fly ball for the first out of the game and playing a hit off the wall in the second. With his second at-bat Ramirez grounded out to second before calling it a night.
A whole lot happened after Ramirez exited displaying the stage that Isotopes Park sets for not only once-in-a-lifetime occurrences like a rehabbing Ramirez, but also for the great game of baseball to unravel for 72 days a year.
Wednesday’s game at Isotopes Park mingled the not-so-everyday (a Major League star batting leadoff, a no-hitter into the sixth, a 15-inning game) with the everyday (excitement when the ‘Topes rallied back late, hopes that the home team would pull out the ‘W’).
All in all, while Ramirez has been a main reason fans have flocked to the ballpark, they have not been let down when it comes to viewing great baseball. Tuesday’s 1-0 nail-biter was as rare as rare gets at Isotopes Park, serving as just the second 1-0 contest in team history at home. Wednesday’s 15-inning marathon kept fans on the edge of their seats again when the ‘Topes tied it up in the ninth at 3-3. It would take five more innings before either bullpen would budge.
So, with a buzzing atmosphere in tact over the past two days, it is safe to say the fun generated by Manny’s presence has only been heightened with the the baseball and the environment that has surrounded it.