Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Manny Ramirez dia-Tribe

In general, I can't stand Manny Ramirez.

He is the absolute antithesis of a role model. His career, aside from his impressive statistics, has been tainted by multiple drug scandals, apathy, lack of effort, and a bizarre eccentricity some have labeled as "Manny being Manny" (that some find it pleasantly amusing says something about them).

He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians and played for them from 1993 to 2000. His career there was generally good but when he was able in 2000, he signed an enormous eight-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. During that span of time his eccentricities became more and more obvious. In 2003, the Red Sox put him on waivers, meaning that basically any team that was willing to assume his enormous salary could have him outright, and there were no takers. His 2004 season was memorable, and the Red Sox won the World Series that year. Various problems began to surface in the final four years with the Red Sox, both in the clubhouse and elsewhere. He seemed to express disapproval with his contract situation in 2008 [how you express disapproval making $20M/year is beyond me] by giving less-than-full effort and the Red Sox, by then fully disgusted, sent him packing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he miraculously revived and finished the season with great results. The Dodgers then signed him to a two-year deal paying him $45M.

Within the first two months of the season, Ramirez received a 50-game suspension for violating MLB drug rules. It would later come out that this had not been his first drug-related interaction with MLB. His 2010 season included both time on the DL and increasing Dodger frustration with him. They put him on waivers and the Chicago White Sox, willing to pick up the balance of the salary, claimed him. He hit 1 home run in 24 games and became a free agent.

He signed a one-year, $2M deal with the Tampa Bay Rays in early 2011. He batted 1-for-17 (.059) and, when informed of a forthcoming 100-game suspension from MLB for yet another drug violation, decided to retire instead of serving the suspension.

To summarize: Except for perhaps Cleveland, every team that has had Ramirez on their team has either actively sought to get rid of him or let him walk at the end of a season (or in the case of Tampa Bay, he retired in disgrace). He plays hard when he wants to and loses focus when he doesn't. He has manipulated his effort (ask Boston) in attempts to manipulate a bigger contract. He has talent without character and skills without morals. He repeatedly violated the rules. Despite his massive talent, teams did not want him. While you might want your son to earn his contract, you wouldn't want him to emulate Manny's personal life.

I sincerely hope that Manny Ramirez is never elected to the Hall of Fame.

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