Peace and tranquility for Hanley Ramirez: gone in six seconds
There was something gut-wrenching about watching
Two runs scored -- and I figure both runs would have scored no matter how hard Ramirez ran after the ball. Maybe he could have gotten the second runner at the plate, but I doubt it. With hustle, he probably COULD have prevented Abreu from reaching third base, and Abreu did score on a follow-up single. But all in all, the RESULT of the play was not devastating. It was a lot like watching a guy stand at home plate and admire a fly ball that ends up bounding off the wall... getting held to a double when a triple was certainly possible.
But WATCHING the play was devastating. I love watching Hanley Ramirez play baseball. In my lifetime, I suspect I have not seen even a handful of players as talented. The guy stole 50 bases at age 22. He had a 30-30 season and led the league in runs scored at 24. He won a batting title at 25. He built a reputation as a sloppy defensive shortstop, but he improved dramatically and became at least average, maybe even a tick above. He was one of the few players in baseball, in sports, who you could count on to do something, almost every day, that would make you drop your jaw.
And then... this. Ramirez would later say that he was hurt and running as hard as he could -- on video it doesn't quite look that way to me. Others might say that Ramirez was not hurt at all and was just throwing an on-field tantrum -- it doesn't quite look that way to me either.
No, it's more of a combination. You probably know that an inning earlier, Ramirez fouled a pitch off his ankle. And you probably know that Ramirez has long been a bit of a diva. Hey, as Marlins manager
The aftermath was predictable -- except for one part. Gonzalez pulled Ramirez from the game -- that was predictable. A teammate or two (in this case
Gonzalez had waited until the end of the inning to remove Ramirez, which I think was the right thing to do. Yes, he could have pulled Ramirez right away, during the inning -- the announcers clearly wanted him to do that -- but I personally think that's just managerial showboating. That's
And, then Ramirez took the predictable shot at Gonzalez. He seemed to be saying that Gonzalez singled him out unfairly and would not have pulled another player for a similar stunt. He said: "Hopefully, he does it with everybody. That's OK. He doesn't understand that. He never played in the big leagues."
There it was.
But that's not true about Fredi Gonzalez -- he never PLAYED in the big leagues, but he coached in Atlanta, and this is his fourth season as manager of the Marlins. He knows what's going on.
Gonzalez was presented with that quote, and he offered one of my favorite responses of the year. I'm not saying that Gonzalez has handled this thing perfectly. No. His job is to defuse the situation, and it has instead gotten out of hand. Maybe he could have prevented the blow-up. Maybe, in a perfect world, he could have kept this thing internal. In one scenario, he might have yanked Hanley into the office, chewed him out, warned him not to make this thing any worse by yapping to reporters and then told the press that Ramirez was hurt and it was all "handled internally." But he also knows a lot more about the situation and his own history with Ramirez so maybe that just wasn't possible. Maybe this thing had to blow up.
What I do know is that when
He simply said this: "He's right. But I know how to play the game. I played six years in the minor leagues, and I know what it takes to play this game, and I know the effort it takes to play this game, and I know it's hard to play the game. That's it."
That's it. That's the perfect answer. He's right. "...
Whatever happens, I just think about how nauseating it was to watch that six-second jog. Hanley Ramirez is a remarkable player. But even remarkable players need to try.