It's too bad the Dodgers can't pay Ramirez for every inning that he plays hard. It'd only cost them cab fare.
|If you think a team would be wise to pay Manny Ramirez around $25 million annually, then you've flipped your lid. (Getty Images)|
And we wonder why Ramirez sometimes plays baseball with the intensity of Sarah Palin at a geography quiz.
These teams never learn. They never, ever learn.
If you break the bank for a guy like Ramirez, he'll end up breaking your heart.
Just ask the Red Sox.
His skill is arousing and talent unmistakable but so is Ramirez's lack of respect for anything outside of his self-centered universe. Whichever team signs Ramirez will get one or two solid-but-frustrating seasons before Ramirez descends back into clown-camp hell.
Don't do it, L.A. Don't do it unless the asking price falls dramatically.
And as a public service I'd like to offer the following reminders of Ramirez's career follies. You can thank me (and the Boston Globe, which keeps a running tally of Ramirez's uber-knuckleheaded-ness) later.
It's my privilege to serve.
• September 2001: Missed last game of the year for "personal reasons." In that game, the Red Sox honored Cal Ripken which was his last game at Fenway Park.
• December 2001: The Red Sox decide to build a separate room for media interviews because Ramirez says he's uncomfortable in the locker room. Poor guy.
Would you want your team to sign Manny Ramirez?
Yes: He's a winner
No: Too many issues
Total Votes: 3,977
• May 2002: Lost his $15,000 diamond earring while sliding into third base.
• September 2002: Asks for song Good Times (I Get High) by Styles P to be played over the stadium loudspeaker when he bats. The song is an ode to drug use and full of obscene lyrics. Like idiots, the Red Sox oblige.
• September 2002: Hits a homer. Then, in ensuing bat, hits a ground ball, and doesn't leave the batter's box. Nice effort.
• August 2003: Says he would like to play for the Yankees. (If he stays with the Dodgers, Ramirez will say he wants to play for Anaheim).
• August 2003: This is one of my favorites. Ramirez says he's too sick to play in a big series against the Yankees. But he's seen in a bar, hanging out with a friend who plays on the Yankees.
• Fall 2003: Refuses to pinch hit and is benched for the next game.
• July 2005: Takes the day off despite manager Terry Francona declaring Ramirez was needed. Oh, just Manny being ... never mind.
• August 2005: Doesn't hustle to first and is thrown out.
• September 2005: Doesn't hustle to first and is thrown out. (This could actually probably be repeated several hundred times).
Go Bearssssssss: There are two dates you forgot.|
October 2004 - Leads Red Sox to first world seris in over 80 years.
October2007 - Leads Red Sox to another World Seris win.
Bottom line. He slacks off and is a huge jerk, but if your team makes it to the postseason, he is going to give everything he has. He is a winner, and when he wants to be, is easily one of the best hitters ever.
|Mike Freeman: Ramirez might go down as maybe the greatest hitter ever. He's got a chance. That doesn't mean he's a great teammate. You take a huge risk paying a guy who is as great a slouch as he is hitter. And hopefully the Dodgers keep all traveling secretaries away from him.|
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• October 2005: Stories appear in the media, stating Ramirez demanded to be traded and would boycott spring training if he wasn't.
• July 2006: Commissioner Bud Selig is agitated about Ramirez not coming to Pittsburgh for the All-Star Game because of a tender knee despite being the AL's leading vote getter. "Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but if you are voted on the team, it's a privilege," Selig told the media. "You ought to be here. He's the only person who did not participate this year. Everybody else has been here and has been terrific." Reward the fans for voting him to the All-Star Game by showing up? Why so demanding, commissioner?
• September 2006: Missed 22 of 30 games late in the year with alleged patellar tendinitis.
• June 2008: Gets into a dugout scuffle with Kevin Youkilis. Oh, just Manny being ... never mind.
• June 2008: Shoves a 60-year-old traveling secretary to the ground.
• July 2008: Talks on a cell phone during a pitching change.
• July 2008: Sits out pivotal game against the Yankees, infuriating the Red Sox.
• July 2008: Tells ESPN, "The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me." They trade him to Los Angeles.
Now, baseball is going to reward Ramirez with one of the most lucrative contracts ever.
Can anyone honestly say he deserves that kind of money?