Why Manny Ramirez Is Capable of Playing a Mentor Role with Yoenis Cespedes
To many, tagging Manny Ramirez as a "mentor" is an absurd suggestion, but at this point in his career, Ramirez can actually be a suitable role model—especially to Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes can certainly use one.
The Cuban defector recently moved to the United States to play in Major League Baseball for the first time in his career.
On the small-market Oakland Athletics team, Cespedes is alone in expectations and arguably talent. He could use a veteran of the game to keep him in check before it harms his game.
Cespedes has done well for himself so far.
He's produced decent enough while remaining relatively quiet. In just a few days time, he is set to return to action from the disabled list right as Ramirez reports for duty.
Both need each other.
Here are seven reasons why "ManRam," of all people, can be a reliable mentor to Cespedes.
He Speaks the Language
First and foremost, Manny Ramirez speaks Yoenis Cespedes’ language.
Now, before you go and say, "Wow, lump them together just because they speak Spanish," hear me out.
Cespedes just defected from Cuba this year. He’s in the process of learning English, but he still has an interpreter.
Ramirez can be both an interpreter and a teammate at the same time. It’s loads more comfortable for a player when he can communicate directly with his teammates.
Seems simple, but it's one little aspect such as this that can have tons of benefits.
He Knows the Pressure
Yoenis Cespedes arrived in Oakland with heavy expectations.
A four-year contract worth $36 million for a guy who has never played in Major League Baseball caused some skepticism.
The early speculation that he would soon take incumbent Coco Crisp’s position on the field created even more drama.
Being touted as a five-tool player only increases the pressure.
Pressure is something Manny Ramirez knows all about.
Ramirez came into the league with considerable expectations. As his talents became realized, the pressure continued to grow. The dollars rolled in, along with an even higher need to perform well.
Ramirez knows what it’s like to have to live up to immense expectations.
He can provide Cespedes with tips, advice and tricks of the trade for how to deal, or he can simply be a sounding board.
He Was Once a Power-Hitting Outfielder
Not only does Manny Ramirez speak the same language off the field, he speaks the same language on the field, baseball-wise.
It’d be one thing for a small, scrappy, slick-gloved infielder to share insight about the MLB, but it’s more important and insightful coming from a guy who’s been in the exact same shoes.
In this case, Ramirez used to be the stud, power-hitting outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is expected to be.
Ramirez has hit against the pitchers and he's roamed the outfield of every park, defending turf against many of the game's current hitters.
He's Played in Large Markets
Oakland is one of the smallest markets in Major League Baseball.
But to some degree, Yoenis Cespedes is in the entire nation’s spotlight for his first season.
He can use this experience in large markets to help Cespedes cope and deal with settling into Oakland first before taking on the rest of the U.S.
He's Seen What Works (The Good)
Manny Ramirez has seen a lot during his 19-year career.
Over the course of a two-decade-long stint, he's certainly seen much success.
Somewhere along the lines, he's had to have established positive habits (no pun intended). He's certain to have received tips from the game's biggest superstars spanning generations.
Ramirez has seen the deadly combination that can be created when connecting with a teammate (David Ortiz).
He knows the work that must be done.
After being in the game so long, a player picks up tendencies and learns the minor details with incredible thoroughness.
He's Seen What Doesn't Work (The Bad)
Not all of Manny Ramirez's career has been peaches and rainbows. He's definitely seen his fair share of absurdities.
From hitting up bars when he was allegedly sick to being arrested for domestic disputes, Ramirez hasn't exactly been the best example.
Forcing his way out of Boston and testing positive for banned substances twice don't help his case.
In fact, after his last positive test, Ramirez quit.
But he's back in the game now. All of these things are in the past.
As long as Ramirez can keep them in the past and not be a repeat offender, he can finally learn from his mistakes.
Once he learns, he can teach.
He Has to Repair His Image
Many fans—whether of pop culture, movies or sports—remember someone for their last act.
Manny Ramirez has already retired once. His final at-bat in Major League Baseball is approaching very soon.
Rather than be a guy whom fans remember as a childish, selfish cheater, he needs to do everything he possibly can to repair his own image.
Taking the time to work with the young kids—especially those new to the team, the league and the country—looks really good for Ramirez.
If after Yoenis Cespedes has an illustrious career in which he stayed out of trouble he thanks Manny Ramirez for being an inspiration and mentor, it will bring a change to "Manny being Manny."
Ramirez needs this more than Cespedes does.