BOSTON (CBS) – The “Idiots” are together again.
The Tampa Rays introduced outfielders Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon on Tuesday, reuniting the duo that helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series, the franchise’s first in 86 years.
“We’re Back,” Ramirez joked as he took the podium.
Both signed one-year contracts with Tampa after the Rays lost their two big sluggers to free agency. Center fielder Carl Crawford is now in Boston, while first baseman Carlos Pena signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Each took a pay cut to join the Rays. Ramirez signed a one-year, $2 million deal, but said money had nothing to do with his decision.
“I’m here because I love the game. I love to compete,” Manny said. “I’m happy to be with Johnny. He’s a great person, a great player. I’m just happy to be here and to be next to him.”
Damon said he and Ramirez had hoped to be reunited again after Damon left the Red Sox to join the New York Yankees in 2006. Together they not only bring playoff experience to a young Tampa squad, but the experience of winning a championship.
“We know we can bring a lot of experience and playoff experience to these guys,” the 37-year-old Damon told reporters. “I think that’s why this move is very intriguing and Manny is ready to go and so am I.”
“Like we always do, we’re just going to be ourselves,” Ramirez said. “We just go play the game and show everybody to play hard. I think when everybody sees us play hard, they’re going to follow.”
Ramirez split time between the L.A. Dodgers and Chicago White Sox in 2010, hitting .298 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs.
Damon spent 2010 with the Detroit Tigers. The Red Sox made a waiver-claim on Damon late in the season, but he blocked the move that would have returned him to Boston.