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Tag:Manny Ramirez Retirement
Posted on: April 15, 2011 4:48 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Maddon pleased to see Rays rising up, winning

By Evan Brunell

PapelbonRays manager Joe Maddon joined WEEI in Boston to speak about the Rays' situation, who are suddenly on a three-game winning streak.

"I just knew it was a matter of time before we started to hit," Maddon said according to a transcript on SportsRadioInterviews.com. "Really the bad start has been attributable to a lack of offense. We just have not been able to move the baseball. A lot of strikeouts, we’ve hit some balls relatively well, but a lot of weak contact. We had a good inning against the White Sox -- that’s how we came back and won, then the first night [in Boston] against [Daisuke] Matsusaka (when the team plated 16 runs in the game). It’s nice to get back on the positive side. It does wonders for your confidence."

Now that Tampa has its confidence back and is climbing up the standings, two games ahead of the Red Sox and two behind the Orioles for third place. But can Tampa last without Manny Ramirez? While the team has turned things around sans Manny, it's still a pretty big hole to fill in the long-term. Maddon doesn't appear concerned.

“I think a lot of times when a perceived negative moment occurs within a group a lot of times the rest of the team will rally around that moment," he said. "I also believe at that moment you’re going to see a lot of guys elevate their game. In most situations it creates opportunities for people who otherwise wouldn’t have that same opportunity, for example Sam Fuld which happens to be working out in our favor right now."

What also helps is that Evan Longoria should be back in uniform by the end of April, which will really bolster the offense and allow Maddon more flexibility in putting the best lineup out on the field every day instead of having his hand forced.

While Fuld has been a revelation in left for the Rays, the hole Carl Crawford left en route to Boston is still rather big. That said, Crawford's been struggling in Boston, but Maddon unsurprisingly believes he will be fine.

Of course he is (feeling the pressure) and that’s where I think, I really talk about evaluating situations properly. Once he gets his feet on the ground, catches his breath, and gets used to being here he’s going to be just fine.”

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Posted on: April 9, 2011 12:13 am
Edited on: April 9, 2011 12:15 am
 

Ramirez in pictures

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Taking a look at Manny Ramirez through the years: 

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:55 am
 

Manny by the numbers

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Manny Ramirez always gave people plenty to talk about, but aside from the miscues and funny stories, there are some very serious numbers in his career. Here's a look at some of the numbers he put up as a player:

• 555 career home runs are 14th overall in baseball history, between Reggie Jackson (563) and Mike Schmidt (548) and ahead of the likes of Mickey Mantle (536), Willie McCovery (521) and Ted Williams (521).

• 2,574 hits (82nd all-time) and 1,831 RBI (18th all-time)

Manny Ramirez

• Career slash line of .312/.411/.585 with an adjusted OPS of 154 (25th all-time). Hia .996 OPS is ninth all-time.

• 29 career postseason home runs are the most in history, ahead of Bernie Williams (22).

• 21 grand slams are second to Lou Gehrig (23).

• 78 career postseason RBI are second in history, behind Williams (80).

• 12-time All-Star

• 2004 World Series MVP

• 9 Top 10 MVP finsihes

• 9 Silver Sluggers

• 2002 American League batting title (.349)

• 2004 American League home run leader (43)

• 216 intentional bases on balls are 11th all-time

• 274 HRs with Red Sox, sixth-most in franchise history

• 236 HRs with Indians, third-most in franchise history

* 111 postseason games (fifth most), 493 postseason plate appearances (third most)

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 6:29 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 10:52 pm
 

Reaction to Manny Ramirez's retirement

By Evan Brunell

RamirezSo, what's the reaction to Manny Ramirez's surprise retirement?

"I am surprised," teammate Johnny Damon -- both currently with the Rays and for years in Boston -- told the Associated Press. "This spring he played well. ... I don't know everything that's been brought up. All I know is he's a great teammate and a great player."

Close friend and former Red Sox teammate David Ortiz concurred after seeing the Red Sox beat the Yankees for the first win of Boston's season. Big Papi indicated that he had heard the news in between innings as he told MLB Network after the game.

"It shocked me," he said. "I talked to him during spring training while we were playing against Tampa. He looked really good. I know that he was going to be able to put good numbers [up]. I don't know what happened. I don't know the details."

Manager Joe Maddon tweeted out a reaction, saying "A great player retired, but I believe it is a galvanizing moment for us."

Jason Giambi of the Rockies also weighed in as someone who acknowledged taking steroids in his career and battled Ramirez's Red Sox while with the Yankees.

"I'm shocked," said Colorado's Jason Giambi, who has acknowledged taking steroids during his own career. "He was phenomenal, one of the best right-handed hitters I've ever seen. He always kind of portrayed that he was out there but he knew how to hit, man. He was unbelievable when it came to hitting. He knew what he wanted to hit and what pitch he wanted to hit and what your were going to throw him, and watching him take an at-bat was pretty impressive. ... He always played that he was aloof, but he really knew how to play the game. You could talk hitting with him and his work ethic was pretty unbelievable. He would be in the cage, hitting off breaking-ball machines and I think that's a part of him that people didn't see, that he put his time and effort into hitting."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was short and succint in his appraisal. Manuel oversaw Ramirez in 2000, his first year managing the Indians. After Ramirez left following the season, Manuel would manage two more years in town before being fired.

"Might have been running out of bullets. Father Time was catching up to him."

UPDATE: The St. Petersburg Times' Marc Topkin posts this video of reaction from Johnny Damon and manager Joe Maddon:




UPDATE: Ramirez's former Dodger teammate Rafael Furcal tells CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller he was surprised by the announecement.
"I promise you, he does not want to retire," Furcal said. "I don't know what happened."
UPDATE: Here's two more from former teammates, both Red Sox now, via the Boston Herald:
Bobby Jenks: "Once you get caught once, you're already banged 50 games. Why try again? It's a little stupid, but I guess he made his own choices and now he's got to live with them."

Kevin Youkilis: "I don't know why he retired, but the guy had one of the best careers and Hall of Fame numbers and all that. He's a guy who will go down as one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all-time. He had a great stretch. There's so much stuff on the drug thing, from stuff you can get at the drug store. You never know what it is. … I always said, guys that get caught for stuff, this game’s hard. To hit a baseball, there's a lot of guys that look great in the weight room. Some of the stuff, if you look back on Barry Bonds and all the stuff he's going through and supposedly what he did, if you saw the guy hit, it was like no other. The guy would see 15 pitches, and the catcher would hold his hand out and he'd get one pitch and it would be a home run. Manny was the same way. To me, personally, what they did was pretty remarkable. I'll always give them credit for that."

And then his former manager in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen from the Chicago Tribune: "Manny, as a friend, as his former manager, he was great for the game, he's done a lot of great things for baseball. He was one of the best hitters to play the game. He played good for us last year. I wish he could have played better. He was great in the clubhouse. I don't have any complaints or regrets to have him with the ballclub."

Guillen also said it sends a message to current players about MLB's drug testing program: "It shows people that Major League Baseball is after [drug users]. They're not playing around. They're letting the players know how tough they're going to be. They say they'll be checking and monitoring those guys, and jeez, they're showing how much they want to make this game clean and clear.

"That's the first thing I told the players in the meetings -- they're not playing around. If you get cut you should be punished because now we know for last five or six years they're after this, and any players that [take banned drugs] they're taking a risk."
UPDATE: Former teammate Orlando Cabrera tells this great Manny story to the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Curt Schilling is on the mound," said Cabrera. "He comes to the dugout frustrated and says, "What the hell is going on?' Manny comes to the dugout laughing. He saw my glove and grabbed it and says 'Gold Glove.' He raises his glove and says "Bronze Glove.'

"Then he looks at Schilling and says, "I got a bronze glove.' Schilling is so mad that he starts laughing. Then Manny goes up later in the game and hits a grand slam. Schilling said, "That's why I can't say anything. I know he's got a way to fix things and that's the way he does it."

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 6:14 pm
 

What do Rays go sans Manny Ramirez?

Ramirez

By Evan Brunell

So how are the Rays going to move on from their short Manny Ramirez era?

Well, at least in the outset, Tampa Bay is calling up first baseman Casey Kotchman to be the starting first baseman while Dan Johnson will shift to DH. Kotchman was a former starting first baseman for the Angels and Braves before his career went into a tailspin with the Red Sox and Mariners.

He signed a minor-league contract with the Rays to open 2011 and reported to Triple-A despite putting up strong spring training numbers. The 28-year-old's best days are probably behind him, although Tampa will obviously cross their fingers and hope for the best. He is a solid fielder, so can help the Rays in that department.

However, Dan Johnson moving to DH is hardly inspired, even if it's the right move. Johnson has a few big hits with the Rays over the last few years, but struggles to crack the Mendoza Line and the jury is still out on whether he can be a viable starter. The Rays have really stretched themselves thin with Ramirez's retirement and certainly have to be thinking about out-of-organization alternatives. The team will likely give its in-house alternatives every chance to succeed, however, given the team's finances. But if Tampa stays solely in-house if its options aren't performing to par, it will be a mistake. While Tampa was thought to have been far behind the curve to make the postseason, Boston's 0-6 start to the season has really opened the door.

In the meantime, Kotchman and Johnson are the guys, but don't be surprised to see backup catcher Kelly Shoppach worked in at first base more regularly. Matt Joyce also stands to benefit from the retirement, and playing time should be much easier to come by for Sean Rodriguez once Evan Longoria returns from the disabled list.

The team also has a top outfield prospect in Desmond Jennings that they farmed out to Triple-A for additional seasoning. This move may cause the Rays to dip down and promote Jennings sooner rather than later.

Whether with or without Jennings, Ramirez's retirement could cause the Rays to move Johnny Damon out of left field, where he no longer belongs. Damon DHing would free the outfield up for either Joyce or Jennings.

Yes, the Rays are scrambling a bit to replace Ramirez. However, Ramirez looked as slow and old with Tampa as he did during his stint with the White Sox to finish out 2010. It really won't be that difficult to replace that Manny Ramirez, even if we all look at him as the home-run slugging behemoth that was feared for almost two decades.

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 6:08 pm
 

No call from the Hall coming for Manny

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Manny RamirezManny Ramirez, meet Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Pete Rose and Joe Jackson -- you guys will forever be known as Hall of Shamers with Hall of Fame numbers.

In January, the Baseball Writers Association of America sent a clear message when Palmeiro received just 11 percent of the vote, despite having both 3,020 hits and 569 home runs. He is the only eligible player with 3,000 hits not in the Hall of Fame (noting Rose is not eligible). And of the 25 players with 500 career home runs, 17 are eligible for the Hall of Fame with only Palmeiro and McGwire are not in the Hall.

Ramirez doesn't have 3,000 hits, but his 555 career homers and .312/.411/.585 slash line and 154 OPS+ over 19 seasons appealed to the more stat-orientated voters, while his "presence" and "fear he put in pitchers" appeal to those who apply the eye test to voting. 

Add to his numbers, he also hit 29 postseason home runs and was the 2004 World Series MVP as the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino, so he even wins the Jack Morris voters over.

However, the activist voters have kept out not only Palmeiro, who like Ramirez, served a suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, out of the Hall of Fame, but also those assumed to have taken PEDs (McGwire) and even  those that only had the slightest rumors of PEDs attached to their name (Jeff Bagwell).

It seemed like even the constant excuse making that "Manny being Manny" was even going to get him some votes from those who wouldn't excuse Palmeiro or McGwire's transgressions and make his candidacy at least interesting when his name finally appeared on the ballot.

I called up one voter who had covered Ramirez today to ask him if this changes his vote. Well, it didn't change it, but did solidify it.

"I would have had a hard time reconciling his first suspension -- I know the argument that it's so widespread and you don't know who did and who didn't -- to me, he was caught and he was clearly cheating at the time, not only was it illegal and against the rules," the voter said. "I would have had a hard time voting for him before today. The fact that it happened again, I wouldn't vote for him now. It solidifies my feeling. WIth the steroids out of the question, he was a no-doubt Hall of Famer. He was one of the two or three best hitters I'd ever seen, but I won't vote for him now."

This voter, it should be noted, did vote for Bagwell but not McGwire or Palmeiro.

In the end, Ramirez may end up being one of the best right-handed hitters in baseball history, but he'll end up busted instead of with a bust in Cooperstown.

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:55 am
 

Top 'Manny Being Manny' moments

Ramirez

By Evan Brunell

With Manny Ramirez's retirement, he leaves a lasting legacy both on and off the field. Below are some of his classic "Manny Being Manny" moments...

CUTTING OFF DAMON: Perhaps the most seminal moment of Ramirez's career -- check out the video right here -- came on July 21, 2004 when Johnny Damon grabbed a David Newhan ball in the gap. He hurled it toward where cutoff man Mark Bellhorn was waiting, except Manny dove for the ball and snagged it in midair. That gave Newhan an inside-the-park home run.

LOVIN' THE MONSTER: Ramirez liked to enter the Green Monster on countless occasions in between innings rather than, you know, focus on the game at hand. He was spotted talking to someone on a cell phone July 9, 2008 as Javier Lopez was warming up after being called into a game. Five days later, he went inside to sip on a bottle of Gatorade as he waited out a pitching change. But years before that, in 2005, Ramirez actually stayed in the Monster so long he missed the first pitch of an inning. In that year, on July 18, he made his famed bathroom trek into the Monster.

SORE THROAT: On August 30, 2003, Ramirez bowed out of the night's game due to a throat infection. That throat must have needed alcohol to cure it, because he was spotted with Yankees player Enrique Wilson later that night at the Ritz Carlton Hotel knocking back a drink.

SKIPPING THE WHITE HOUSE: You've been there once, you've been enough, right? That's what Manny thinks of the White House, skipping the reception to commemorate the Red Sox's 2007 World Series title. "I'm sorry [David Ortiz'] running mate, Manny Ramirez, isn't here. I guess his grandmother died again. Just kidding. Tell Manny I didn't mean it," then-president George Bush quipped, referring to Ramirez's tried-and-true excuse of his grandmother's death to skip events -- like the beginning of spring training -- that he otherwise did not want to attend.

NEED THAT EARRING: Ramirez was in Pawtucket during 2002 on a rehab assignment when he slid into third base and lost his diamond earring. After the game, the grounds crew along with 13 PawSox players combed the dirt and found the stud, but not the diamond. Ramirez would go on to ask management if he could stay in Pawtucket rather than return to Boston. Hey, Rhode Island's nice.

HIGH FIVE: On May 14, 2008, Ramirez ran down a flyball hit by ex-teammate Kevin Millar. As he jumped and hit the wall, he high-fived a fan before landing, turning around and throwing to cutoff man Dustin Pedroia, who then doubled Aubrey Huff off first base.

CAUGHT STEALING: Did you know Manny Ramirez was actually caught stealing first base? Yep -- Germany Schaefer must be smiling. On August 13, 1997, Ramirez was playing in the first game of a doubleheader against the Tigers when he delivered an RBI single to left in the eighth inning with the team down 13-2. With Jim Thome at bat, Ramirez took off running to second base on a pitch and was safe, but thought the ball had been fouled off by Thome. He started walking back to first base when Willie Blair, the pitcher, tossed the ball to the shortstop who tagged out a jogging Ramirez.

SHOVING OLD MEN: Manny Ramirez shoved traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground when McCormick -- in his early sixties -- could not come up with the 16 tickets Ramirez had requested the day of the game. Ramirez later apologized.

WELCOME TO BOSTON: Ramirez's first season in Boston was 2001. On June 23 of that year, he hit an absolute bomb that landed somewhere on the Mass Pike. Despite announcers and newspaper writers feeling it was the longest home run hit at Fenway Park, the official distance was measured at 501 feet -- one foot less than Ted Williams' iconic blast into the right-field stands that is marked by a red seat. Later that year, he would bow out of the final game of the season for "personal reasons." The Red Sox honored Cal Ripken, Jr. that night as it was Ripken's final game at Fenway Park.

TRY TO HUSTLE: There's far too many accounts of Ramirez lazily running down the first-base line and in some occasions, may have been able to reach base if he didn't care enough. But September 9, 2002 takes the cake. After bashing a home run, Manny would ground out and not even bother to run, electing to walk back to the dugout.

GETTING HIGH: Ramirez requested his walkup song in 2002 to be changed on September 7 to Good Times (I Get High) by Styles, a song about drugs and laced with profanity that ended up being played over the PA speaker due to not being double-checked.

THE RED SOX DON'T DESERVE ME: Capping off a disastrous 2008 season, Manny tried and tried, but just couldn't get out of Boston. So instead he decided to take matters into his own hands at the trade deadline of 2008, claiming that his knee hurt and he was unable to play in a crucial game against the Yankees. (Ramirez would do this on multiple occasions; take days off no matter the opponent, situation or if the bench was short.) The Red Sox weren't buying it and took him to have a MRI. Except Ramirez forgot which knee hurt, so the Sox took MRIs of both knees and they came back clean. "The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me," Ramirez would later tell a reporter, which greased the skids out of town.

DREADLOCKS STAYING: Manny Ramirez completely flouted Joe Torre's rules when he arrived in Los Angeles, refusing to cut his dreadlocks. After 11 days as a Dodger, Ramirez said that he and Torre were "talking about it," while Torre remained firm on the subject, saying "I'm not negotiating anything." Guess who won?

GAS IS UP: After the 2008 season, Ramirez was a free agent. When asked about his future, Ramirez responded, "Gas is up and so am I." Indeed, he would go on to sign a two-year, $45 million pact to return to the Dodgers.

OVATION: OK, here's another feel-good Manny story -- or perhaps only if you're a Boston fan. In 2005, when Manny looked like he was going to be traded, he was held out of the lineup on July 31. At the time, David Wells made a classic comment. ''The guy's messing with my cake," Wells said, as the Boston Globe recalls. ''Whatever it is, he better have a great excuse because we need Manny in the lineup. I don't care what, this team needs him." However, he made a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth inning, much to the crowd's delight. A Red Sox fan in college at the time, I'll never forget the chills I got.

PICKED OFF: In Game 2 of the 1995 World Series, Ramirez was picked off first base by catcher Javy Lopez of the Braves in the eighth inning. Cleveland had narrowed the score to 4-3 the inning before, and Ramirez singled with one out in the eighth with Jim Thome striding to the plate. Alas, Ramirez was caught napping for the second out of the inning.

RETIREMENT: Credit goes to Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder for this one, but how much of a "Manny Being Manny" moment is today's announcement that he was retiring? Ramirez was staring at his third link to a positive drug test, a 100-game suspension and decided it wasn't worth the headache. So much, in fact, he didn't bother to tell Tampa Bay he had retired.

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 5:45 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 5:46 pm
 

Miller with Manny in spring

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Manny Ramirez joined CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller during spring training, and here's what he had to say:

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com