Whatever it is, it happened just before the end of season last year. Suddenly, Red Sox uber-slugger Ramirez became this semi-philosophical, non-reclusive, personal guy with observations that were interesting. His team-mates have all said - for attribution, and for many years - that Manny was from another planet. Whatever the reporters were asking about today, the response became just go with it, man, it's only "Manny Being Manny." A lot of folks on the outside looked askance at him, even as he put up huge numbers.
That turned around, and it wasn't a change in his production that did it. It's kind if fun to see, even if he does play for one of the 2 Evil Empires of the East. Bit of a head-scratcher, though. There's a really, really interesting case study somewhere in there, from a PR/ celebrity point of view.