Tag:Joe Torre
Posted on: September 12, 2011 12:49 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Fister continues to impress



By Matt Snyder


Doug Fister, Tigers. When you hear people talking about teams not wanting to face the Tigers in the first round of the playoffs because you don't wanna see Justin Verlander twice in a short series, do not forget the Tigers now have a very formidable No. 2. Fister was brilliant again Sunday in a 2-1 Tigers win over the Twins, allowing just three hits in seven shutout innings. Since coming over in a trade from the Mariners in July, Fister is 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, the Tigers now have a better record than the Rangers and are five games behind the Yankees for the top seed in the AL.

Drew Pomeranz, Rockies. I wonder how long before the Indians want a mulligan on that Ubaldo Jimenez trade deadline deal? Pomeranz was one of the pieces the Rockies got back and the 21-year-old lefty dazzled in his major-league debut Sunday. He needed just 63 pitches to get through five shutout innings against the Reds, picking up the victory. He gave up just two hits and two walks.

Luis Valbuena, Indians. In the past two seasons, before Sunday, Valbuena was hitting .188 with two home runs in 345 plate appearances. So it was quite shocking to see the light-hitting middle infielder knock the ball around the yard Sunday. He went 3-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored in a 7-3 win over the White Sox.



Jon Lester, Red Sox. The Red Sox's starting rotation is in shambles, but Lester should have been the one cog -- with Josh Beckett injured -- that could be counted upon. Instead, he could only get through four innings, due to a massive pitch count, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks. The Red Sox lost 9-1, and saw their lead in the Wild Card race shrink to 3 1/2.

Tim Hudson, Braves. Like the Red Sox, the Braves are reeling and needed a big start. With Hudson taking the hill, it seemed like a good time -- considering the Braves had won six of Hudson's past seven starts. Instead, Hudson was battered for six runs and eight hits in six innings and the Braves were swept by the Cardinals. Even worse, a once-commanding Wild Card lead has shrunk to 4 1/2 games.

Major League Baseball. I usually never complain about the rigidity of professional sports leagues when it comes to rules on uniforms because of the slippery slope principle, but not allowing the Mets to wear the NYPD, FDNY and PAPD hats for Sunday night's game was a farce. You can make one exception without being worried about the precedent set.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:56 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 2:28 pm
 

Torre: Umpires were wrong in KC

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Torre said Thursday that the umpires of Wednesday's Royals-Yankees games erred in giving Billy Butler a home run, Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets.

Torre, baseball's head honcho for on-field matters, said umpire Dana DeMuth "feels very badly about it," but probably not as badly as Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Girardi didn't file a protest, so the matter is now closed, Torre told Davidoff.

If Girardi had protested, Torre said, "I can't tell you what the result would have been, but we certainly would have had to look at it." 

Torre told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that there was a "misunderstanding" by the umpires of the ground rules at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.

"The replay gave him every look that he needed to make the right call," Torre said. "He thought he did make the right call. This isn't an umpire not doing his job. That was his understanding of the rule when he's umpired there and nothing had happened to change his mind until last night."

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Posted on: August 7, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Ex-Yankees batboy writes tell-all book

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Former Yankees batboy Luis Castillo was the last of the team's batboys to not have to sign a confidentiality agreement, so he's spilling the beans in a new memoir, Clubhouse Confidential.

The New York Post has some of the highlights from the book:

Alex Rodriguez was "high-maintenance": "A-Rod irritated the other players because he was so high-maintenance. He required his personal assistant to position his toothbrush on a certain part of the sink, specifically the edge near the right-hand cold water tap, leaning with bristles up over the basin. The first time he ordered me to do this, I couldn't believe my ears when he said, 'And put some toothpaste on it.'"

A-Rod brags about his homers: "A-Rod was different in another, childish way that made players laugh behind his back. When you watch games at home you sometimes see players come into the dugout after they hit a home run. If you've ever wondered what they're saying, it's usually things like 'Way to go!' or 'Good job!' Not A-Rod. After he hits a home run, he comes into the dugout and brags about it. Usually he's speaking Spanish to one of the other Latino players, and if he hit a home run he wouldn't shut up. 'Wow, did you see I hit a home run?' he'd say. 'That pitcher threw me a ball right over the plate and I smashed it over the fence. Did you ever see anything like that before?'"

Jeter had a mildly profane greeting for all the clubbies: "But this greeting wasn't meant to annoy anyone; on the contrary, it was intended to be a funny way to start our workday together. There's no question in my mind that Jeter's easygoing personality traits -- the way he joked, teased and bonded with players -- were something extra, almost in contrast to the aggressive fielding that fans had come to expect."

Hideki Matsui had a rather different rally cry before Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS loss to the Red Sox: "at the end of the meeting it was traditional for Joe Torre to ask Jorge Posada what we were going to do. He would reply, "Grind it!" This time -- I guess to make Hideki Matsui feel more part of the team -- Torre turned to him at the end of the meeting. 'What are we going to do?' Hideki paused for just a second before replying. 'Kick ass. Pop champagne. And get some ho's.'

Castillo also has more on how Jeter picked up women, a then-married A-Rod had several ladies on the side and Joe Torre's penchant for the ponies.

The code of baseball frowns upon airing dirty laundry in public, but if you can get one-on-one with a clubhouse attendant -- or clubbie in baseball parlance -- you'll hear some of the best stories about baseball you'll ever hope to hear. Castillo will never work in baseball again, but I'm sure he'll get some cash out of his book, which comes out Aug. 16. I've got to admit, I'm looking forward to it and will certainly read it, even though it's not exactly a revelation that Jeter's good with the ladies, A-Rod's kind of a jerk and Matsui is amusing.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:18 pm
 

Torre 'human element' is part of baseball

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Torre, MLB's vice president for baseball opperations, released his statement on the ending of Tuesday night's/Wednesday morning's Braves-Pirates game that ended on what appeared to be a missed call by home plate umpire Jerry Meals.

Here's Torre's statement:

“Unfortunately, it appears that the call was missed, as Jerry Meals acknowledged after the game.  Many swipe tags are not applied to the runner with solid contact, but the tag was applied and the game should have remained tied.  I have spoken with Jerry, who is a hard-working, respected umpire, and no one feels worse than him.  We know that this is not a product of a lack of effort. 

“Having been the beneficiary of calls like this and having been on the other end in my experience as a player and as a manager, I have felt that this has always been a part of our game.  As a member of the Commissioner’s Special Committee for On-Field Matters, I have heard many discussions on umpiring and technology over the past two years, including both the pros and the cons of expanding replay.  However, most in the game recognize that the human element always will be part of baseball and instant replay can never replace all judgment calls by umpires. Obviously, a play like this is going to spark a lot of conversation, and we will continue to consider all viewpoints in our ongoing discussions regarding officiating in baseball.

“We expect the best from our umpires, and an umpire would tell you he expects the best of himself.  We have to continue to strive for accuracy, consistency and professionalism day in and day out.”

I don't disagree with any of the words here -- but I do disagree with the sentiment. The sentiment is "stuff happens, deal with it." I will constantly harp thtat there are improvements that can be made and should be made to help umpires make the game better and more fair. To stand in the way of progress for the simple reason of tradition is myopic at best and lazy at worst.

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Torre: Rule change on collisions unlikely

By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, I guess it's about time for the day's Buster Posey update -- I'll resist a "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead" joke -- and this one is from Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations.

Joe TorreTorre, a former catcher, says it's unlikely baseball will change any of its rules as a result of Posey's injury.

"I think it's safe to say that I don't anticipate any changes, but I'm willing to listen," Torre told MLB.com.

Torre said he's talked to Giants general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy about the play on May 25.

Torre said he didn't see anything dirty about the play and didn't believe Scott Cousins was trying to hurt Posey.

"I spoke to Brian Sabean [Friday] and Bochy [Thursday], and I told them I'd be willing to sit with them and whoever they want to invite to discuss it," Torre said. "I told them that I didn't see anything that had to be changed, but I certainly would be open to listening to them. I think they just what discussion."

Another former catcher spoke up on the play, as perhaps the best catcher ever, Johnny Bench, told the Tulsa World that Posey "put himself in such a bad position" on the play.

"I teach my kids to stay away from the plate when you don't have the ball so the runner actually sees home plate and his thought is, 'slide,'" Bench told the newspaper. "But Buster is laying in front of home plate, and it's like having a disabled car in the middle of a four-leaf highway. You're just going to get smacked. Show them the plate. You can always catch the ball and step, or step and catch the ball, as long as you've got the runner on the ground. And if you have the runner on the ground, there's less of a chance of any severe collision."

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 10:26 am
 

Pepper: Rivalry weekend in MLB



By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: Excited about rivals getting together? Danny Knobler joins Adam Aizer to look at some exciting matchups as the weekend approaches. Watch the video above.

FOUR INNINGS FOR WEBB: Brandon Webb made another start in extended spring training Thursday and pitched four innings. The big issue thus far in his rehab progress has been velocity, specifically a lack thereof. Thursday he reportedly averaged around 84 m.p.h. and topped out at 86. That's still pretty bad for someone who wants to be an effective major-league pitcher -- unless he plans on being a great knuckleballer -- but it is an improvement from what we've heard over the course of the past month, when he was sitting high-70s and low-80s. Considering he's still pain-free, maybe some progress is being made. (ESPN Dallas)

SQUEEZED: Based upon data from PitchFX, BaseballAnalytics.org checked out which pitchers have had the fewest percentage of called strikes within what is supposed to be the strike zone. It's pretty interesting, because one of the biggest problems with the strike zone is how many of the umpires seem to have their own interpretation. Topping the list of the people who have been the most squeezed is Nelson Figueroa. As the site pointed out, if we had robot umpires, maybe he'd still be pitching for Houston instead of Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Cardinals BULLPEN SORTED OUT: Since removing Ryan Franklin from the role, the Cardinals had not really named a closer, but it's a pretty foregone conclusion at this point that young Eduardo Sanchez is the closer, as he's saved four games in four chances. Hard-throwing right-hander Jason Motte is their put-out-the-fire guy. "Last year he was very successful doing that, coming in in the middle of an inning and pitching out of it," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "You have to kind of remember what he did there. Because there is a need for a guy like that." (MLB.com)

WHAT ABOUT THE Braves? After Craig Kimbrel went out and blew his third save of the young season Wednesday night, a Braves beat writer (AJC.com) brought up the subject of having Jonny Venters be the closer -- or at least be part of a committee with Kimbrel. He makes a good piont that Kimbrel is the long-term closer and has elite-closer stuff, but that Venters has been so dominant and the Braves are trying to win now. So it's a conundrum. It wasn't a save situation, but Kimbrel's outing Thursday night should stave off any temporary concerns for the time being. He struck out all three batters he faced in a tie game and ended up getting a win.

BUMPED: This is at least mildly humorous. The Mets were forced to stay an extra night in Colorado due to a rainout (I'm sure Carlos Beltran is now fine with the decision), but they had to relocate to a new hotel because they were bumped ... by the Padres, who face the Rockies in a weekend series starting Friday and arrived a day early. It really does seem like the weirdest stuff always happens to the Mets, whether it's due to self-sabotage or uncontrollable outside factors. (ESPN New York)

WALK-OFF WALKS: The boys over at Big League Stew have put together a compilation of everything you've ever wanted to know about walk-off walks. For example, did you know two pitchers issued four walk-off walks in their respective careers? Hall of Famer Goose Gossage did it three times. As for hitters, Jorge Posada is the active leader with three career walk-off walks. I better stop now, lest I reach my allotment of saying "walk-off walk" for the entire season in one paragraph.

GREAT SKIPPERS: ESPN.com's Sweetspot blog ranked the top 10 managers of all-time. The highest active manager (well, the only one) on the list was Tony La Russa, who checked in at sixth. Interestingly, Joe Torre was eighth while Bobby Cox was third, rankings sure to draw the ire of the people who put a good amount more stock on the postseason than the regular season.

WORST HAT EVER: Jim Caple of ESPN.com offers up his pick for the worst cap in major-league history -- the Seattle Pilots' 1969 monstrosity -- and he'll certainly get no argument from me. Man, that thing is awful.

CASHMAN'S CONTRACT: While everyone is concentrating on CC Sabathia's contract situation at the conclusion of this season, when it comes to the Yankees, there is another contract negotiation that will occur. General manager Brian Cashman's deal is going to expire after the season. Though both Sabathia and Cashman figure to stay put, the always-thoughtful River Blues Avenue opines that the Cashman negotiations will be "messier," most notably because ownership went over his head in the Derek Jeter and Rafael Soriano signings.

ANOTHER SLOW START: Adam LaRoche has been pretty terrible for the Nationals thus far, but he's trying not to worry about it from an individual perspective. There's a good reason for that, as he's been there, done that. “I wouldn’t say I’m stressing over it, because I’ve been there so many times in my career,” LaRoche said (Washington Times). “But the frustrating part is not what the average is, it’s the fact that you look back and think, ‘Man if I’d have been doing a little more, we may have won two or three extra games.’” Not only does LaRoche have several awful starts under his belt, but he's one of the most drastically streaky hitters in baseball. He'll get hot. And then he'll go stone cold again. It's a cycle with LaRoche.

HUMBLED STAR: Andrew McCutchen was benched Thursday night for not running to first on a dropped third strike the previous night. It was a good move by manager Clint Hurdle to make sure it didn't become a recurring problem, and it doesn't appear it will. "I know that's not the type of person I am," McCutchen said on Thursday. "I let my emotions get the best of me. I took it out on my bat and myself when I shouldn't have been mad. I was just frustrated at the time and not focused on the game, not focused that the ball was in the dirt with two strikes and I needed to run to first." (MLB.com) I feel like it's important to note that McCutchen is generally a hustler and this shouldn't be discussed any further. He's a good guy and a good player who made a mistake. End of story.

NO RETIREMENT: Dodgers relief pitcher Hong Chih-Kuo is one of the better relievers in the game when he's mentally right. It's just that he seems to suffer from the yips on occasion. He's currently on the disabled list with anxiety disorder as the Dodgers have reported he's too scared to take the mound right now. Kuo's agent did say Thursday that there are no plans to retire, though, and he's going to battle his way back. It's one of Kuo's traits, actually, as he's had four surgeries, including Tommy John surgery twice. He always comes back, so this time won't be any different. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Peavy's encouraging return, young guns



By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: See the video above for my takes on Justin Masterson, Zach Britton, Daniel Hudson, the Angels without Kendrys Morales and Jake Peavy's encouraging first start of 2011.

OVERTHINK MUCH? Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had a theory as to why Derek Jeter was struggling earlier in the season. It's that Jeter was pressing due to feeling the pressure of the upcoming 3,000-hit milestone. "I'm not concerned about Derek," Steinbrenner told the New York Post. "Milestones can be difficult. They can be a big weight on a guy." Oh, yeah, and then this: "He's obviously broken through that and is hitting well now." As if right on cue, Jeter went out and had an 0-6 day Wednesday night. So is he feeling the pressure again? Let's all take a deep breath and realize guys are going to have ups and downs over the course of 162 games. You too, Hal.

FIRST OF MANY: Royals prospect-turned-first baseman Eric Hosmer went yard in Yankee Stadium Wednesday night for the first home run of his very young career. To top things off, he came through with the go-ahead RBI on a sacrifice fly in extra innings. He's sure to see some hills and valleys throughout his rookie season, but thus far he's been really solid. Cling to that .250 batting average if you must, as Hosmer's sporting a .409 on-base percentage and a .909 OPS, which is outstanding.

BACK ON TRACK: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro started the season absolutely on fire, but then drastically cooled. In fact, he recently had a 12-game stretch where he hit .137 with an abysmal .311 OPS. The Cubs' rivals came to town, Mike Quade dropped Castro in the order and things seem to be back where Starlin likes them. In the past two games, he's 6-8 with a triple, four RBI, three runs and a walk.

MORE HUG-GATE: Wednesday in Pepper we discussed the completely meaningless yet somehow blown out of proportion hug between Albert Pujols and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Hendry laughed about the talk that fateful embrace sparked. Pujols offered up his thoughts on the situation Wednesday afternoon. "I figured that would happen, that they would play with it," Pujols said. "At the end, it's not what you do on the field. It's what kind of person you are off the field. That's the kind of relationship you want to build with somebody you respect. He's on the other side. I'm on our side. I just think it's kind of ridiculous. Three writers came and talked to me about that and the contract. "Are you serious? C'mon." (StLtoday.com) Meanwhile, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times says Cubs fans should forget about Pujols for two reasons: 1. He's not signing with the Cubs; 2. They'll be better off in the long-haul for it.

TORRE SETTLING IN: Joe Torre is ready to attend the first owner's meetings in his new role of executive vice president of baseball operations. The first meeting's agenda doesn't appear to have any impact in terms of on-field play, but there is one interesting nugget in this article: Torre's reason to retire from managing was that he couldn't take losing anymore. "It wasn't balanced out by the winning anymore. I hated it," Torre said. "I was more ready not to do what I've been doing for years. When the Commissioner made this job offer to me, I asked him a few times if he thought I could do it. It was the insecurity of not knowing what the job entailed, even though it's baseball-related. But it has been fun and very energizing for me." Good for him. Honestly, he's 70, who needs that kind of day-in, day-out stress at that age anyway? (MLB.com)

I MIGHT BE A SADIST, BUT ... : Grant Brisbee over at SB Nation asked how much money it would take to step into the batter's box and face Aroldis Chapman right now -- keeping in mind that he can hit 105 on the radar gun and has walked nine of the last 14 batters he's faced. The stipulation is that you could wear a helmet but no "Barry Bonds armor." Honestly, I'd give it a go for free just to see what it looked like from there. My biggest issue isn't so much the fear of getting drilled, but the fact that he's left-handed (I'm a lefty and they always had me mentally whipped when I played). Then again, I haven't been hit with a pitch in probably 11 years and never took one more than 90 mph. Maybe I'll take some cash for the fictional at-bat afterall.

CREDIT WHERE DUE: Tigers manager Jim Leyland was going to give slugging first baseman Miguel Cabrera the day off Wednesday to give him a few days off (the Tigers have an off-day Thursday) before a weekend series to rest his sore back. Instead, Cabrera waved him off and insisted on playing. (MLB.com) Keep this in mind whenever you hear people complaining about how the guys only play for the money and don't really care about the results. Sitting down would have had no effect on Cabrera's earnings. Since the complainers like to use real-world examples, compare this to having your boss tell you to take the day off and you insisting on staying at work (yeah, sure you would). Oh, and he had a two-RBI double in the fifth to give the Tigers the lead. They would win 9-7.

IN THE CINCY AREA AND LIKE SMOKED MEATS? The Reds have put in a new restaurant called Mr. Red's Smokehouse, and it will open Friday for the first game of the Reds' series against the Cardinals. On the menu, you'll find smoked ribs, turkey legs, pulled pork and chicken wings -- in addition to rotating specialty items. This weekend's item is "smoked Cardinal" (it's actually quail). Click here for a video tour of the new smokehouse.

HAIL DELAY: Via Big League Stew, here's a video of the hailstorm that caused an hour-plus delay to Tuesday night's Twins-Tigers game in Minnesota. Yes, that is golf-ball sized hail and a good amount of it.



IF YOU CARE ABOUT DYKSTRA: I'm pretty well over him at this point, and have been for years. If you are interested in what's become of Lenny Dykstra's life, according to this interview, by all means click through and read it. Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com got an exclusive interview with Dykstra's limo driver.

HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN: Roger McDowell's suspension is almost over, as he'll rejoin the Braves Friday and resume his duties as their pitching coach. (MLB.com) I'd encourage fans across America to heckle him and test if those sensitivity classes paid off.

CANADIAN DOLLARS: An interesting discussion here, in that -- as long as the Canadian dollar is valued higher than the American dollar -- players for the Blue Jays are actually earning more money than their contracts dictate, assuming they cash checks in Canada. It's the exact opposite of how it used to be, when players used to get traded to either the Expos or Blue Jays and take a hit. (Slam Sports)

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