Tag: Manny Ramirez

Beckett’s New Unwritten Rule: Don’t Watch Your Deep Homer Leave the Ballpark

In the middle game of a three game set between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards earlier this week, a rubber match was taking place between Boston’s Josh Beckett and Baltimore‘s Jeremy Guthrie.

That is, until O’s outfielder Luke Scott smashed a 425-foot two-run homer onto Eutaw Street in the bottom of the fourth to break the scoreless tie.

Understandably, Scott admired his ball as it carried off into the night. Who wouldn’t? If you hit a ball that far, you’re going to want to see it go.

Unless your name is Josh Beckett.

The Red Sox‘ pitcher didn’t appreciate Scott watching his hit fly, and appeared to be yelling at Scott as he stared him down multiple times as he rounded the bases, and even after he reached the inside of the dugout. The game’s plate umpire, Fieldin Culbreth, had to calm Beckett down.

In Scott’s next at-bat in the game against Beckett, the pitcher didn’t retaliate, though that could be due to the teams being caught in a close ball game, as well as a sure-fire ejection had Beckett drilled Scott.

After the game, Beckett told reporters on the subject that “Those things have a way of working themselves out.”

So is Beckett planning on drilling Scott the next time the two teams meet? Or will he have a fellow pitcher do so?

On the flip side, this is what Scott had to offer to reporters when asked about it after the ballgame: “When I got into the dugout, the guys said he was yelling or something like that. I’ve got all the respect in the world for Josh Beckett. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game. I respect every pitcher who takes the mound against me. He is a tremendous competitor, and there are emotions. I’m an emotional person, so I can understand people getting emotional.”

What’s so bad about one admiring a lengthy home run they hit? Personally, I’m not exactly sure. If I were a pitcher and someone beat me in that fashion, I would understand them wanting to give it an extended look.

That’s baseball, as well as life. People naturally want to take a look at their accomplishments, and for Beckett to get upset over it further proves that he has the emotions of a pre-teen going through puberty.

Beckett is well known for being one of baseball’s most notorious cry-babies, and though there have been all too many examples proving as much, one sticks in my head.

I can’t remember what season it was, but my guess is between three to five years ago. It was, again, a game at Camden Yards between the Sox and the Birds with Beckett on the bump.

Melvin Mora, a longtime Oriole during the last decade, was on second, taking his lead, when all of a sudden, Beckett turned around and started walking towards Mora, shouting at him the whole time.

I don’t remember specifics, such as if the benches cleared or if Beckett was stopped by umpires/teammates before he reached Mora, but I do remember that no punches were thrown. It was a rather controlled incident, in terms of a baseball altercation.

I also remember why Beckett suddenly became incredibly pissed off.

He claimed that Mora was stealing his catcher’s signs, something that Mora denied post-game, was very obviously not doing, and that happens in baseball all the time by the players. It’s part of the game, just like how New York Yankees‘ captain Derek Jeter faked being hit by a pitch in a game late last year between his team and the Tampa Bay Rays. Teams find any way they can, within the rules of the game, to get a leg-up on the competition.

Again, that’s baseball. For Beckett to react the way he did was simply childish.

God only knows why Beckett feels that he needs to be the unwritten rule police on the diamond. If he decides to retaliate against Scott the next time the two meet, it’ll just be another example of the man’s immaturity.

The time to unnecessarily retaliate was in Scott’s next at-bat, which as I said, he failed to do. But a better alternative would be for him to grow up and play the game of baseball, not throw a fit over it. He should try to put a K next to Scott’s name the next time he faces him, instead of a HBP.

Apparently, Beckett can’t handle getting beaten in a game very well, and if I were a part of the Red Sox’ management, I would have looked into getting him help for that a long time ago.

And just for the record, did he ever have a problem with Manny Ramirez and/or David Ortiz for doing the exact same thing so many times over the past decade? Didn’t think so.

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Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Best Hitting Tandems in Each Team’s History

This is NOT a list of the two greatest hitters for each team. This is a list of the greatest individual seasons for two hitters on each team. 

Steroids are ignored. Barry Bonds is on this list. So is Alex Rodriguez (twice, actually, and not with the Yankees). Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, and other known or assumed users are here. 

Listed by division, not ranked by greatness. 

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Barry Bonds Is Guilty, but What Does That Mean for MLB?

Barry Bonds is the all-time home run leader in major league baseball with 762. He also holds the record for most home runs in a single season with 73 in the 2001 season. Overall, Bonds ended up with a career .298 batting average, 2,935 hits, 1,996 RBI, 2,558 walks (MLB record), 688 intentional walks (MLB record), and 514 stolen bases. Barry was a 14 time all-star, 8 time gold glove winner, 12 time silver slugger award winner, 7 time NL MVP and 3 time Hank Aaron award winner.

 Let that sink in for just a minute, all of these statistics, awards and accolades for one man. Yet, he is still probably most widely remembered for his association with the BALCO scandal ahead of all of these other things.

This week we were reminded, once again, that the greatest player of his generation had to cheat to achieve that status. The government has made him the poster boy for the steroid scandal, prosecuting him for perjury and obstruction of justice, finally convicting him of the latter.

They made sure that while spending $6 million we all knew about the positive steroid test from 2000, the 3 year growth spurt in San Francisco where his shoe size went from a 10 to 13, hat size went from a 7 1/4 to 7 3/8, and shirt size from a 42 to 52. Even more amazingly, his weight went from 185 while with the Pirates to as high as 260 with the Giants. Keep in mind that Bonds was 27 his last season in Pittsburgh, so not a growing teenager by any means.

While Bonds always was one of the most hated men in baseball anywhere outside  of San Francisco, these facts all fail to take into account how he mesmerized a nation back in 2001. After Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s chase brought baseball back to the forefront of sports in America, Bonds’ run put it over the top. At that time, there was no one in baseball indicting these guys for how they had grown to cartoon-ish size figures accomplishing things never before seen in the sport. To the contrary, we were being regaled with tales about how lucky we were to be living during such a vibrant time for baseball fans.

Over the last several years, one after another we have had our heroes knocked down. From McGwire to Sosa, Bonds, Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez and most recently—for the second time—Manny Ramirez. We continue to see the sports biggest figures caught in this never-ending scandal. Having a young son, it makes it very hard to want to share the game with him, because who really wants to answer the question about why his favorite player got suspended.

Every time I see a player who looks like he’s gained some muscle or hit a few more home runs than usual, I have to question it, and that takes a lot of the fun and child-like innocence that makes baseball so special out of the game.

I for one think these issues have helped to magnify the impact of some players who have managed to stay unstained to this point, like Ken Griffey Jr. The muddy times ahead for hall of fame votes will hopefully close the final chapter on a headache I’m sure most of us would love to see come to an end.

I don’t have a vote, but if I did, I wouldn’t elect any players who we know have cheated into the hall. Even a player like A-Rod, who theoretically has the chance to redeem himself and will probably eclipse Bonds’ mark, should be viewed with a one strike and you’re out rule. If we ever want that innocence to return to the game, we can’t celebrate those who tried to take it away in its most revered place.


Brian is a Senior Writer for 4thandHome.com where this, and other work, can be found. Additionally, he is co-host of the 4th and Home Radio show on Blog Talk Radio.

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Manny Ramirez: A Red Sox Fan in NYC’s Take on Manny Being Manny

Being a Red Sox fan in New York was much different back in 2000.  

My family did not own a high-quality computer—the Macintosh we used allowed little more than writing papers and playing Oregon Trail—and even if we did, the Internet had not become the 24-7 news source that it is today. 

Following baseball’s hot stove was much more difficult.  There was SportsCenter before school and WFAN 20/20 news flashes throughout the day after.  Anything else was gravy.

Back in those days, I slept with my radio tuned in to WFAN.  I would fall in and out of sleep most nights listening to bits and pieces of Joe Benigno’s (and originally Steve Somers’) overnight show.  If I woke up and heard Imus, I turned the radio off.

One night in December, I quickly awoke in disarray, not to Imus or Benigno, but to an update guy reporting that the Red Sox had agreed to an eight-year, $160 million contract with Cleveland Indians outfielder Manny Ramirez

Could this be true? 

The Red Sox had pursued Ramirez for weeks, but I never expected them to sign him.  The negotiations mirrored the Sox’s courting of Bernie Williams in 1998.  All along, it felt like Ramirez was stringing the Red Sox along to raise the stakes for the Indians.

I was not sure if I had been dreaming, so I stayed up an extra 20 minutes until the next 20/20 flash to make sure.  Sure enough, it was true: Ramirez was signed.

I woke up for school the next morning as tired as I was hopeful.  Unlike my brother, who entered St. Francis Prep as a fan of the defending World Series champion Red Sox, being a Boston fan at SFP was no easy task for me.  (The Yankees won the World Series three times during my four years there!)  A victory in December was a World Series to me.

Ten years have passed since that December night.  At the time, I never realized how much it would change the complexion of the franchise.  Twenty-five percent of the time that the Red Sox employed Ramirez, they won the World Series.  It may be the most successful free agent contract in MLB history. 

Manny was an offensive artist whose at-bats were his masterpieces.  Baseball knows of no image more beautiful than that of Ramirez standing at home plate, admiring another laser that he just deposited into the Mass Turnpike.

Sure, his tenure was a roller coaster.  But I like roller coasters.  I go to Six Flags once a year. 

Some will say that Ramirez’s involvement with performance enhancing drugs tarnishes his legacy.  I say, get real.  If Major League Baseball cared about performance enhancing drugs, there is a slight chance I would, too.  It is too late for that, though. 

In the meantime, take a quick glance around the sport.  The hypocrisy is all over the place. 

There is Ryan Franklin making good money closing for St. Louis, Edison Volquez starting Cincinnati’s first playoff game in 15 years, Andy Pettitte, who would be welcomed back with open arms the next time Phil Hughes gets rocked, and a list that goes on and on. 

There is a place in baseball for “cheaters”—that is, as long as you are not that good.  

Well, I, for one, do not discriminate against greatness.  On a day when the greatest left-handed hitter of my lifetime was ridiculously convicted of obstruction of justice, I am writing to salute the greatest right-handed hitter of my lifetime.

Cheers to you and your Hall of Fame career, Manny Ramirez.  Baseball will never be the same without Manny being Manny.

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Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds and the MLB All-Steroid Team

Manny Ramirez is no longer a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. He decided to retire rather than face a suspension of 100 games for his second positive drug test. His second positive test will most likely also keep him out of the Hall of Fame along with the other players who have either used or allegedly used performance enhancing drugs during their career.

That doesn’t mean his career should go uncelebrated.

Perhaps baseball should open a separate exhibit in a trailer in the parking lot of the Hall of Fame. In this trailer fans can pay tribute to all of the greatest juicers and alleged juicers to play the game.

Aside from the exhibit there is also the discussion of the greatest steroid users of all-time.

I now present to you my Major League Baseball All-Steroid Team made up of the best admitted users, players caught by drug tests, and others implicated with ties to the best creams and clears a professional athlete’s salary can buy.

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2011 Atlanta Braves: 8 Silver Linings Through the Season’s First 10 Games

The Braves enter their mid-week series with division rival Florida Marlins 4-6, a record that most in the baseball world would call a mild fiasco for a team that garnered such praise out of March.

After putting together a strong opening series in Washington, the Braves have gone on to lose five out of the last seven games in series against the Brewers and Phillies.

Does this early-season skid foretell of another long summer in A-Town? People are already wanting Fredi Gonzalez out, Terry Pendleton brought back as hitting coach, and Freddie Freeman sent to AAA.

Ah, Braves fans…. you never fail to show the world why patience and dignity are never found without the other.

There are some definite signs that show the Braves are not going to revert back to being a team that bobbles below and above .500 in 2011, but that they actually have the makings of a National League powerhouse.

Here are 10 positives the team has shown through the first 10 games of the season.

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Manny Ramirez May Not Have "Tiger Blood," but He’s Definitely "Winning"

Is anyone really surprised? Really? It almost feels as if this is how it’s supposed to be.

After parts of 19 seasons in which he accumulated 555 home runs and over 1,800 RBI, the former Yankee-killer we know as Manny Ramirez has called it quits. We’ve seen the last of his cell phone conversations in left field between innings, and no longer will his critics be able to accuse the 12-time All-Star of not playing hard.

Fans in New York can sleep well knowing that Manny retired nine home runs shy of passing Yankees legend Reggie Jackson on the all-time list, but no one will ever be able to take away what Manny accomplished on the field. Simply put, Manny was a winner, and regardless of how his career is looked at from this point on, he will always be a winner.

Steroids or no steroids, Manny was a great baseball player. People assume that any “Average Joe” can take steroids or Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs), and then suddenly they will be a great athlete. It doesn’t work that way. Just ask some of the players on this list.

Out of the 129 total MLB players who were either listed on the Mitchell Report, have admitted to using PED’s, were suspended by MLB for using, or were otherwise implicated as being users, you can only pick out 25 to 30 players who are or were household names. The rest were the “Average Joes” who wanted to be in Manny’s class, yet, most of them never were.

Many people are wondering why he even risked it at this point in his career. Maybe he was struggling with the fact that he’s almost 39 years old and his career was winding down? Or maybe he never cared about the Hall of Fame in the first place? One never knows with Manny.

The good thing is, in the end, none of it matters. In 11 of his 19 seasons, Manny took his team to the playoffs. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series championships in 2004 and 2007, and won the World Series MVP in the first one. He even led the Cleveland Indians to the World Series in 1995 and 1997.

Altogether, in 111 playoff games, Manny belted an MLB record 29 home runs and drove in 78 RBI with an on-base percentage near .400. He was a nine-time Silver Slugger award-winner and even won the Hank Aaron Award twice, which is given to the top hitter in each league. He has been the AL batting champ (2002) and he has led the league in home runs (2004).

Steroids and PEDs did not give these awards to Manny. It may have helped prolong his career, and maybe it helped “pad” his stats, but Manny was of a rare breed. He had the kind of talent that no PEDs can provide.  

Without a doubt, Manny Ramirez had a Hall-of-Fame career. Whether he ever gets there remains to be seen. He was never the kind of guy that would ride off quietly into the sunset, but with his retirement signaling a clear end to the steroid era, his legacy will always live on with infamy.

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Manny Ramirez Calls It Quits: A Sad End to a Controversial Career

Manny Ramirez is officially hanging up his cleats, leaving behind a career filled with highs and lows.

After Ramirez tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance during Spring Training, the 38-year-old slugger decided it was better to step away from baseball rather than face the scrutiny and embarrassment of a 100-game suspension.

Although it is shocking to see a repeat offender of baseball’s substance abuse policy, it is even more shocking to see the tumultuous downfall of Ramirez over the past couple of seasons.

After Ramirez was dealt to Los Angeles from Boston in 2008, the controversial slugger made his mark known in Tinseltown. He won Dodger Stadium over and “Mannywood” seemed like a great resurrection for his career. After the Dodgers swept the Cubs in the first round of the 2008 postseason, Ramirez signed a two-year, $45 million contract to stay in Los Angeles. It was shortly lived.

During his second season in L.A., Ramirez tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance and was sentenced to a 50-game suspension. Since then he has been the laugh of the league, reverting back to his old bad habits in Boston.

After joining the White Sox at the trade deadline in 2010, Ramirez made little noise on the field, and his horrible-looking dreadlocks seemed to draw more attention than his bat.

Nobody wanted to touch the washed-up Ramirez after the White Sox did not offer him a contract after the 2010 season. The Rays signed him to a one-year contract worth two million dollars prior to Spring Training of the 2011 season.

A far fall from the $45 million contract the Dodgers offered him two years prior.

After a one-for-17 start to the 2011 season, an 0-6 team record and a positive drug test looming over him, it makes sense that Ramirez is walking away. After all, he left Boston and Los Angeles on sour notes, so it’s only fair that he walks away from baseball, in general, amidst harsh skepticism.

His bat was one of the greatest of all time. He retired with 555 career home runs, 14th on the all-time list.

The once glorified Ramirez walks away a sham after a roller coaster career. Laziness, greed and performance-enhancing drugs have overtaken Ramirez’s reputation as a great hitter.

Although Ramirez ended his career with first-ballot Hall of Fame numbers, it is highly unlikely he will be admitted into the shrine of Cooperstown. Due to two positive drug tests, he is sure to face the same punishment as Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire.

Perhaps he’ll take his talents to South Beach, since he’s retired now.

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Manny Ramirez: Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way out

So, Manny Ramirez has decided to retire rather than face another suspension for failing a drug test.  Not surprising in the least, either the failed test or the walking away.  Once again, a lack of character taints an entire career and for Ramirez this is just the latest example.

Ramirez is one of those sports figures that gets a lot of press.  Not necessarily because of his on the field performance, though over some of the 19 years of his career they were quite good (but most likely PED enhanced), but for his demeanor and look.  Ramirez is one of those guys that the sports media eats up with a spoon.  They get down on their knees and pray that he does something they can spin into stories for a couple of weeks.  And more often than not, he was more than willing to give it to them.

He has always had a lack of character in my opinion.  He is one of those ‘ME’ athletes that wants the attention on him for whatever reason, good or bad.  He wasn’t about team.  If the team was winning and he had a part in it, his part was of course the most important and the most worthy of coverage.  If the team was losing and he was doing his part to help, dogging balls, batting poorly, acting like a jerk, then he got the coverage as well.  So it was a win/win for him in the press.  Remember, there’s no such thing as bad press and in this day and age, bad press is even better.  

Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for violation of the drug policy.  When he returned, he was never the same.  On the field or as a celebrity of the moment.  A downtrodden, poorly performing Manny on losing teams is just not interesting to the media.  He joined the Rays in the off season and has performed abysmally.  His batting verage was hovering near .060.  The Rays hadn’t won a game, until he announced he was retiring.  He also took a couple of days off this past week to deal with a “personal matter.”  We now know what that was.

Ramirez tested positive in Spring Training for a banned substance, what exactly we do not know as yet.  Instead of going through the drug program process, which would have included a 100-game suspension this time, Ramirez walked away.  Abandoning the Rays and almost surely abandoning his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame.  Yes, he has the numbers.  He also has two failed drug tests, one suspension and another pending suspension if he had not retired OR if he returns to the game.  He will still have to serve the suspension if he should return to the game at some point.  It doesn’t just go away.

His lack of character will not go away either.  His poor choices will not go away.  And the taint of PEDs use that this newest failed test perpetuates will never leave the game of baseball, which Ramirez and others like him have ruined for all time.  Thanks Manny, hit the road.

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Manny Ramirez: Tampa Bay Rays Finally Win as 1-Hit Blunder Retires

Manny Ramirez has decided to retire from professional baseball amid speculation of a second positive drug test. The debate has already started on whether his legacy will be based primarily on his statistics, drug tests or “Manny being Manny” moments. The Tampa Bay Rays were still searching for their first win in 2011.

It seemed to make sense when the Rays added Ramirez to the roster as the designated hitter for the 2011 season. The team was in need of a good right-handed power hitter and Ramirez needed a good season under his belt following his stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. Manny’s Rays career included a whopping 17 at-bats and one hit.

That’s how the story always goes with Manny. It’s always a honeymoon start, followed by awkward absences and ending with an abrupt departure.

His time in Tampa was no different.

Manny arrived in Tampa appearing to be in great physical shape and won over Joe Maddon and the clubhouse. The opening press conference with Manny and Johnny Damon looked like two old buddies reuniting at the end of their career. During spring training, there were stories of him showing up on his days off to take part in hitting drills and be a part of the team.

Then came the predictable absences.

On May 30, Manny was absent from a Rays game due to personal reasons.

Finally, the abrupt departure.

Yesterday, Ramirez told Major League Baseball that he will be retiring. As expected it came as a total shock to his teammates, fans and other players around the league. Also, as expected was Manny’s response as if nothing significant occurred.

“I’m at ease,” Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com via phone from his home in Miami. “God knows what’s best [for me]. I’m now an officially retired baseball player. I’ll be going away on a trip to Spain with my old man.”

When it’s all said and done, Manny will always be Manny. I hope anyone that bought his Tampa Bay Rays jersey hasn’t worn it and still has the receipt.

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