Why did the Florida Marlins sign Hanley Ramirez to a long-term contract? If it was to embarrass himself and disrespect 29,000 Marlin fans, in tonight's 7-3 loss to the Phillies, the All-Star shortstop sure did his best.
With the Marlins ahead 3-0, Ramirez led off the bottom of the fifth and hit a towering shot to the deepest part of Dolphins Stadium.
The ball looked like it could leave the park and Ramirez, instead of running, casually trotted out of the batters box, while watching the ball sail over the center fielder's head.
There was just one problem; the ball never made it out of the park! Instead, it ca-roomed off the fence and bounced away from the center fielder. It looked like a sure triple for the speedy Ramirez, maybe an inside-the-park home run.
Ramirez ended up with a double. This was mistake No.1, and if Marlins manager Freddie Gonzales doesn't fine Ramirez for dogging it to first base, he's a fool.
So Ramirez is on second base, with no outs, and Marlins first baseman Ross Gload comes up and hits another long ball, this one to left center.
Ramirez sees that Gload hits the ball deep and goes about three quarters the way down the line toward third, waiting to see if the ball is going to be caught or not.
The Phillies left fielder, going full speed, made a great catch on the run. Ramirez hurried back to touch second but couldn't tag up because he went too far down the line toward third.
If Ramirez knew what he was doing, he would have gone about half way down the line. He would have had time to tag and go to third. If the ball wasn't caught, Ramirez, with his great speed, would have had plenty of time to score on the play. This was mistake No. 2.
Mistake No. 3 occurred when the next Marlins hitter, Dan Uggla was at the plate. With one out, Ramirez decided to steal third and got thrown out by two or three feet.
Ramirez made the baseball no-no of making the second out of the inning at third base, he ruined what could have been a big inning because Uggla walked, Jeremy Hermida singled to right, and Cody Ross walked to load the bases.
Mayben, the Marlins' center fielder, grounded to short and the inning ended. The Marlins walked away without a run in the fifth and still led 3-0.
The game ended up going into the top of the ninth with the Marlins still holding on to a 3-0 lead, when reliever Matt Lindstrom, in the worst outing of his career, let up seven runs, and the Phillies won, 7-3.
I don't blame Lindstrom entirely for the loss. If Ramirez did his job correctly and hustled, the Marlins would have likely had a bigger lead and the dynamics of the top of the ninth would have been completely different.
We've seen these kinds of mistakes by Marlin base-runners last year, and if they start happening again, the 11-1 start they compiled this season will be wasted. These mistakes—mental errors if you want to call them, although lack of hustle seems more appropriate—will catch up with the Marlins, and they will pay for them.
The worst thing about Ramirez's performance tonight was that he didn't run the ball out, and even though he had a pair of doubles in the game, he disrespected the fans by making a mockery of his at bat.
Ramirez recently voiced objections to the Marlins "no facial hair policy". He might have issued a statement about wanting to be traded, but it didn't go further than that.
Hey Hanley, your making a lot of money. How about forgetting the facial hair and remembering to run out every hit?
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