When Manny Ramirez was a member of the Red Sox, he caused fans a lot of headaches. Now, as a member of the Dodgers, he’s still causing Sox fans headaches.
Ramirez returns to Fenway Park as a member of the Dodgers this weekend. And, as was often the case each season of his Red Sox tenure, many fans aren’t sure whether to boo him or cheer him.
During his time in Boston, Ramirez gave us plenty of reasons to loathe him: phantom injuries that wouldn’t show up on tests but would cause him to miss games; not hustling, at times not even running, demanding trades, arguing with teammates and pushing down traveling secretaries, and, most of all, seeming to not care.
Of course, he gave us plenty of reasons to cheer. Along with David Ortiz, he was part of what statistically was the best 3-4 hitting combo since Gehrig and Ruth. AND, he just happened to be the MVP of the first Red Sox World Series in 86 years.
Ultimately, he was the worst kind of baseball player — the kind that quits on his teammates and his fans — and at the same time our Baseball Jesus, saving us from 86 years of torture.
So now, just like years ago, we don’t know whether to boo him or cheer him.
Fans booed Johnny Damon when he came back as a Yankee. But his sins were much less. All he did was go for the money as a free agent, just like 99.9 percent of all other athletes. And just like you’d do in the same situation. This despite all his heroics in the 2004 playoffs.
Johnny shouldn’t have been booed. But to me, Manny and his quiting present and much more difficult case.
Come game time tomorrow, I don’t think Manny should be booed. Face it, without him we don’t win two World Series. And maybe it’s easy now to take those for granted. But for those of us who REALLY remember what it was like before 2004, we’ll never take those for granted.
However, Manny quit, and quit many times on this team. He should never receive a standing ovation in Fenway Park, just like he should never have his number retired.
Just polite applause please, and then cheer for him to quit on the Dodgers.
Early in the season, when teams and players are very hot or very cold, I often say “Wait and see where they are come Memorial Day.” Now here we are, at the end of May, and we can finally take a look at who are real players this year, and who are pretenders. So here are some of my thoughts on the year so far:
–Goodbye, Toronto. Thanks for playing.
–You have to be happy with where the Sox are considering Papi’s woes and that their starting pitching has yet to click.
–I hate to say it, but Papi looks done. Consider that this slump extends well back into last season. This happens a lot in baseball. You just hoped it wouldn’t happen to such a pivotal great in Sox history.
–I don’t know what’s more surprising: That the Devil Rays are four games under .500, or that the Orioles are only four games under .500. Actually, yeah I do. The more surprising one is the Orioles.
–The Tigers are winning the Central. But what’s up with the Indians? They just can’t put it together. Eric Wedge, meet the unemployment line.
–The Rangers are good, but not that good. They benefit from a weak division. And, yeah, I am saying the Angels are weak.
–Stick a fork in Matt Holliday. He’s done.
–Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would own the title of Team Owner I’d Most Like To Hit With A Shovel . . . if Mark Cuban wasn’t so damn annoying.
–The Cardinals won’t be near the top of their division come September.
–Ha ha ha ha. The Cubs are .500 and more than 4 games out! Ha ha ha ha ha . . .
–The Dodgers own the game’s best record by nearly 6 games . . . and they are probably only about the sixth best team in the game. They should send thank-you notes to all those Four-A teams that make up the rest of their division.
The Boston Globe recently ran this little passage about Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt being miffed at Manny Ramirez:
If Dodgers owner Frank McCourt had his way, he’d kick Manny Ram’rez to the sidewalk, void his contract, and say, “See ya later.” But McCourt doesn’t have that luxury, so he has simply asked Ramirez to do some very basic things to make amends for his embarrassing 50-game suspension. He did address the team, so that’s one off the checklist. But that’s about all he’s done. All Ramirez has to do is show remorse, take batting practice, be a presence in the clubhouse, and continue to help out the young hitters. So what is he doing? He’s staying away. The Dodgers expected Ramirez to come to Los Angeles after he briefly addressed the team in Miami last week. But Ramirez didn’t. It’s another act of defiance – a slap in the face to McCourt, who has been more than generous to Ramirez. Don’t forget, Ramirez had no other offers of substance before McCourt came in to pay him $25 million this season and tacked on an option year for $20 million. In the offseason, Ramirez worked at Athletes Performance Institute, but he did it at the one in Pensacola, Fla. Nobody could figure out why. All the Dodgers want Ramirez to do is come clean about what he did, be a good teammate, and prove to the management and fans that he’s truly sorry. He told the Los Angeles Times sports columnist T.J. Simers, “I’m not ready.”
Talk about justice being served. McCourt’s ignorance and foolishness are to blame here; not Manny. These antics of Manny are no surprise to any Sox fans who have watched Manny being Manny since 2001. You mean to tell me McCourt, who risked $45 million on this man-child, paid no attention to any of this? And when he was throwing all of that money at Manny, who was he bidding against? The answer: Nobody. McCourt and company didn’t do their homework, botched their negotiations, and now are reaping what they’ve sewn. Just another example of why you should appreciate the good ownerships we have at Fenway and Foxboro.
Since Manny’s positive test, all the so-called baseball experts have been climbing over each other to proclaim that they aren’t surprised, that nobody surprises them anymore. That’s convenient — just blanketing everyone means you don’t have to think about it and do any analysis . . . and you’ll always be right whenever someone tests positive. Now if somebody not obvious like an Ichiro or Ken Griffey tests positive, they can smuggly proclaim “I’m not surprised.”
The fact is, Manny’s positive test is somewhat surprising. If you take the time to analyze his numbers, he’s been consistent since the time he came up with the Indians in the early 1990s. Throughout his career, he’s steadily been that .300, 35, 120 hitter. Whereas other steroid suspects saw a dramatic (and suspicious) jump in their numbers — McGwuire, Sosa, Bonds, Brady Anderson, Luis Gonzalez — Manny’s numbers stayed level throughout the Steroid Era. Given the type of hitter he is, one would suspect that he might have jumped to a 60-home-run guy during that time had he been on ‘roids. The only time his production took a dramatic jump was last year.
So what are we to think? Has he been taking them since he came up in the early 1990s and just maintained steady numbers? Or (perhaps more likely) has he started taking them in recent years as his production has started to decline . . . leading to his explosive production with Los Angeles. We’ll probably never know.
Oh, Manny. What are you thinking?
The Dodgers just handed Manny Ramirez a big, fat stack of cash to play for them next year — $25 million. And Manny said, “No thanks.”
I know Manny wants a 4-year deal. But it’s time for him and Boras to admit they’ve had a bad offseason, take their lumps and move on. They’ll be better off for it in the long run. Nobody is going to give them a 4-year deal at this point. Nobody. Maybe they can squeeze 2 years at around $25 million out of the Dodgers . . . maybe. Maybe another team like the Giants or Angels sweep in and give him a 3-year deal for around $20 million . . . maybe. But that’s it. The reality is there aren’t a lot of buyers for Manny, and without that demand there, the price won’t be high. It’s basic economics.
Manny would be better served taking the obscene $25 million to play ball next year, hit .300 with 35 homers and 120 RBIs, and look to cash in next offseason, when there might be more buyers. Right now, Manny isn’t in a position of strength (see Jason Varitek). Teams would be smart to sit back and wait him out; they might ultimately be able to land him for under $20 million, although the Dodgers seem a little desperate.
Actually, the real question might not be “Manny what are you thinking?”, it might be “Dodgers, what are you thinking?” They don’t seem to be approaching this very rationally. They seem blinded by Manny’s incredible two months last season. But the fact is he won’t perform like that over an entire season. He can’t; nobody can. So why are they bidding against themselves? And why are they throwing so much money at him? For $25 million, they could probably land both Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn for next season. That would give them a better team than having just Manny. What about signing a Ben Sheets?
The smart teams will look for deals and steals right now. The dumb ones will overpay when they don’t have to, and then watch the playoffs on TV in October.
Unless you’re still a shameless Manny apologist — of which there are still some out there — you have to get some joy out of the latest development in the Manny Ramirez saga.
According to New York Newsday, Ramirez is unhappy at the lack of interest in his services this offseason. While guys like CC Sabathia, Mark Texeira, AJ Burnett and even Derek Lowe have received all the attention and have each received several offers, Manny has so far been just an afterthought waiting for Teixeira to get signed so he can get the leftovers.
And it has hurt his feelings.
According to the report, Manny has even told friends that he might retire if a suitable job can’t be found. It’s great to see Manny is still being Manny.
Now, we all know Manny won’t retire. And whoever doesn’t sign Teixeira will certainly make Manny a good offer. But, hopefully, not the $20 million a year he would have received with the Sox. The Dodgers pulled their original 2-year, $45 million offer off the table, and they don’t appear in any hurry to put it back out there. If there’s any justice in the world, they’ll tell Manny there has been a market correction since then, and they’ll offer him a lower price. With any luck, Manny will end up with a contract no more than three years at “just” $18 million a year.
Of course, if they Yankees don’t sign Teixeira, they’ll screw everything up and give Manny gobs of money again. He’ll get the paycheck he wants, thumb his nose at Boston, and then we can enjoy watching his diminished skills perform in pinstripes next to those of Johnny Damon.
Talk about a productive night. Not only did the Red Sox beat the Yankees to knock the Yanks another game back, they also picked up a game on the Devil Rays. Now if we can take one of the next two games, New York will be essentially done, and we can focus our sights on overtaking the Chicago Bay Devil Twins.
Don’t look now, but things are starting to happen out in Denver. And I’m not talking about the Democratic Convention. Those Colorado Rockies might only have a .470 winning percentage, but they are now just six games back in the NL West. Now, when I look around the Major Leagues and see teams six back (ala Yanks six back of the Sox), at this point in the season I say they are done. But I can’t say that about the Rockies. The first reason they are still alive, and most obvious, is what happened to them in September of last season, when they went on a historic run. They might not win 21 of 22 this year, but they might not have to. For the second reason is that they are chasing the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, two of the most mediocre division leaders you’ll ever see. Both teams are struggling to stay at .500. And any team that plays well in September has an excellent shot at making up a lot of ground against them. Finally, the Rockies have been winning. They’ve been putting together a lot of winning streaks lately, and quietly making up ground in the division. This team had a terrible — TERRIBLE — start to the season. But they are getting healthy, guys who struggled early like Ubaldo Jimenez are playing well again, and this team is starting to roll. If the Rockies can pick up just two games by the end of next week (September 6), THEY WILL WIN THE DIVISION. You heard it hear first, folks.
As you may have noticed, I’m trying to promote a little blog you may not have heard about called October Gonzo. It’s a little site that just doesn’t get any respect or publicity, the kind of site I wish MLB and MLBlogs would take some time to promote once in awhile. October Gonzo provides great insight and hard, cutting-edge opinions like ‘the White Sox and Twins are fighting for the division, and it is anybody’s game.’ Or how about this one: ‘the Diamondbacks and Dodgers are still fighting for the division, and this one is far from over.’ Where else are you going to get insight like this? October Gonzo obviously isn’t afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings. He’s not pulling any punches. He’s going to tell you just how it is.