By Joseph P. Kahn, Globe Staff | November 30, 2005
Forget batting behind David Ortiz. How could Manny leave this
That was one question lingering high above the Hub yesterday after Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez officially put his $6.9 million condominium on the market and made it available for inspection by the media, of which there were plenty.
The doors to the 4,500-square-foot apartment, located on the 37th floor of the North Tower of the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, opened early for a steady parade of print, radio, and TV reporters. While the Ramirezes were not on hand to walk prospective buyers through the place, ample evidence existed that a $160 million contract buys a whole lot of lifestyle for a young ballplayer and his family, even if Manny has soured on playing for the Red Sox and would prefer being elsewhere next season.
Visitors had much to gawk at, beginning with views that are, in a word, stunning. Only from the Hood blimp could a more panoramic sweep of Greater Boston be had, taking in miles of scenery from Boston Harbor to the Public Garden, Back Bay, Charles River, Fenway Park, and, as Jerry Trupiano might say, waaayyy back beyond those.
Yet to enter Mannyland is not only to dwell in the clouds. It also opens a window on Ramirez himself, a transcendent if enigmatic ballplayer whose quirks have both captivated and frustrated Sox fans during the past five years, and whose motives for unloading his condo at this time are as murky as his chances of being traded to the New York Mets next week.
In addition to the condo's 44-by-22-foot living room with giant-screen TV, dining room with built-in cabinets, gourmet kitchen (Viking Professional countertop stove and double oven) with dining alcove, 40-by-26-foot master bedroom suite, six bathrooms and three guest bedrooms, and wraparound terrace, there are many smaller touches visible that make a home homey.
For instance, there is the handsome World Series MVP trophy sitting in the living room, right beside framed photos of Ramirez, his wife, Juliana, and their two children. Also, two large boxes of autographed baseballs (game-used), two cartons of signed ''Manny" jerseys, a stack of batting gloves and a pine-tarred batting helmet piled on the dining-room sideboard, and two bundles of bats near the front entrance, one an Alex Cora model and another bearing Edgar Renteria's signature.
Children's toys -- like the large-scale, motorized Mud Warrior 4x4 parked in the dining alcove -- say something about the homeowners, too, as does the spa-quality elliptical machine practically within reach of the refrigerator. And who knew Manny was an art fancier? Yet there's art all over the place: abstract paintings and fine-art prints in the living and dining areas, a towering floor sculpture in the foyer, a 2-foot-tall bobbing-head statue of Pedro Martinez, and a large oil painting of Manny at the plate, bat cocked and front foot raised toward the pitcher.
Off-limits to the press yesterday were the bedrooms and bathrooms, and visitors were asked not to open closets or drawers, out of respect for the owners' privacy. However, a peek inside the refrigerator revealed several bottles of Corona Light beer, cartons of milk and grape juice, and not much else. If Manny and family have been in residence recently, they've likely been opting for room service -- one of many ''white glove" amenities covered by the nearly $4,000 monthly condo fees, along with concierge service, access to a health club, and valet parking.
Ramirez, who bought the condo in 2001 for around $5.7 million, plans to take his belongings with him, according to Jason Weissman of Boston Realty Advisors, the firm handling the sale. ''We're selling the property unfurnished," Weissman said yesterday. ''However, everything in real estate is negotiable."
Translation: If a buyer really wants Manny's condo just the way Manny decorated it, the deal could be doable -- minus the MVP trophy and for the right price.
And who might be looking? A few calls have already come in, according to Weissman, but the listing is fresh and the free publicity has only begun to whet interest. Anyone seeking a private tour needs to be prequalified, he added, preferably with a letter from a bank in hand.
''There's a lot of thrill seekers out there," Weissman noted dryly.
A Newton native and Red Sox fan, Weissman struggled to maintain his game face when asked what Manny's moving out of Boston might mean for him personally, not just as a realtor with a commission to consider.
''We've dealt with other professional athletes' relocating," Weissman said slowly. ''It's what we do for a living."
And if, say, Carlos Beltran walks through the front door, looking for a new home?
''If he's prequalified," said Weissman, brightening, ''we'd be happy to show him around