It seemed like a crazy idea initially: cold-calling on Manny Ramirez.

Our quest seemed over when the guard at the gate said there was no Ramirez at the address we provided, but he volunteered that Manny Ramirez lived at a different address within that neighborhood. When he called the house and got the OK to let our car through, those might as well have been the gates of heaven that opened up.

Moments after our arrival, Ramirez walked out the door of his mansion, wearing sweatpants, a ragged shirt and a quizzical smile on his face that asked, What in the world are you doing here?

My explanation and a previous history of doing Spanish-language interviews with him clearly sufficed, as Ramirez proceeded to chat for an hour about his life as a stay-at-home father, his baseball past and unlikely future, and religion.

Lots and lots of religion.

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