Hanley Ramirez a Problem Child?
What to make of the Hanley Ramirez brouhaha? I’m still not sure.
I’ve been busy with work and I’ve kind of wanted to see how it would play out. Now that he’s back in the lineup, the one thing I can say for certain is that it’s a very ticklish situation.
Hanley made a mistake not hustling after that ball he kicked, but I can somewhat see where he was coming from. He’d hit a ball off his shin, and soon after he tries to make a play and ends up kicking the ball into the left field corner. I can see how that would be intensely frustrating and might lead to a stupid decision.
I was a lot more disturbed by all the really stupid things he said afterwards about how manager Fredi Gonzalez’s opinion carried no weight because he’d never played in the majors, how his teammates weren’t hustling either, and aren’t as good as him so they have no right to be angered by his conduct, etc. Hanley really comes off as a spoiled brat.
That being said, he’s the Marlins’ franchise player, in terms of talent, performance, and also contract commitment. There’s pretty much no way they can trade him and get equal value in return.
Still, it’s got to be disheartening to everyone in the Marlins organization that Ramirez is so immature. Hanley is 26 this year and in his fifth full season in the majors, which means he’s right on the cusp between being young and immature on the one hand, and being a full-fledged prima donna on the other.
Also, it’s not the first time Ramirez has been accused of jaking it. He and Dan Uggla got in a shouting match in the locker room last season over what Uggla thought was a lack of sufficient effort on Hanley’s part.
It causes real problems when a team’s best player is perceived as giving less than his best effort. If he stays in the lineup, it causes dissension among the other players. If he’s benched, obviously that hurts the team too.
In fact, if a player is going to be a big jerk, better to have a Barry Bonds type of jerk. Bonds got special treatment and was a real pill, but no one ever doubted his effort on the ball field (although in truth, Bonds sometimes didn’t run out ground balls and pop-ups and embarrassed himself a couple of times by giving up on fly balls he thought were home runs but stayed in the yard).
Deep down, I don’t think it’s over, even though Hanley was back in the lineup and helped the Fish with three hits today. There’s a lot of season left to play, and I have a feeling there will be problems again later in the season. We’ll see.
Also, my favorite problem child Milton Bradley was back in the Mariners’ lineup after two weeks of some kind of therapy for his anger/stress management issues. Of course, I’m not sanguine that Milton has turned a corner because he’s been down this road many times before.
I’ve said before that I don’t think Bradley is the worst human being in baseball. However, he’s got serious emotional problems that can’t be dealt with without several years of intense therapy. Unless he continues to talk to a mental health professional at least a couple of times a week for the rest of the season, I think it’s just a matter of time before he blows again, particularly if he continues his current struggles at the plate.
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