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Rosenthal: Manny Ramirez is unprofessional; should not make the Hall of Fame

Aug 30, 2010, 4:36 PM EDT

Rosenthal has the knives out for Manny Ramirez today. He's off base, however, in his attempts to make Manny out as some kind of monster.

Earlier today Aaron took some mighty and righteous swipes at those who are treating Manny Ramirez like dead weight for the 2010 season. But Ken Rosenthal does those naysayers one better: he discounts Manny’s entire career based on, well, let’s let Ken explain it:

Manny’s Hall of Fame chances took a dramatic hit when he received a
50-game suspension last season for using performance-enhancing drugs.
But even if you remove PEDs from of the equation, he flunks the
“character, integrity and sportsmanship” criteria — badly.

He quit on the Red Sox. He quit on the Dodgers. The Hall includes its
share of miscreants, but Manny has routinely engaged in conduct
detrimental to his team.

True, these were relatively isolated incidents. Some statistical
analysts might look at his career numbers and say, “What more can you
want?” My answer: Basic professionalism.

And not just professionalism. Rosenthal ends his article by saying “certain standards of decency apply.” So apparently Manny is indecent too. My word!

Notably, Rosenthal does not explain how Ramirez “quit on the Dodgers.”  Earlier in his piece he notes how Ramirez didn’t play in five of eight games since coming off the disabled list, but Joe Torre simply didn’t write him into the lineup for those games, probably because the team was trying to get a deal done with the White Sox. I’ve seen nothing suggesting that Ramirez begged out, and the charge that he quit on the team seems pretty damn unsupportable.

I’m on record saying
that Manny’s final days in Boston were kind of bad, and I believe that
no matter how good his stat line was at the time. He missed two games that his team thought he should have played and had one notoriously indifferent at bat against the Yankees. And then of
course there was that incident where he pushed the traveling secretary down. Whether you consider that “quitting” on the team or not is a
matter of opinion, but I think it’s safe to say that there was something bad
going on.

But bad enough to nullify his Hall of Fame case even without taking PEDs into account?  Bad enough to warrant a comparison to Albert Belle, as Rosenthal does?  The same Albert Belle who was given a jail sentence for stalking a woman? Who chased trick-or-treaters with his car? Who threw a baseball into the stands and struck a fan? Who unleashed profanity-filled tirades at the media? Who destroyed tens of thousands of dollars worth of team property a year due to his violent outbursts?  Who, when asked by the Indians to issue apologies for his transgressions famously said “I apologize for nothing?” That’s the moral equivalence Rosenthal is making here?

Look, I’m not going to play the straight “look at the stats and nothing else” line when it comes to Ramirez, because that’s being a bit too cute. Manny is complicated. He’s been difficult. He’s never conformed to anyone’s idea of a model ballplayer when it comes to deportment and attitude and all of that. I get it. But at the same time, those traits have been wildly overblown by the media in both severity and significance.

In this age of players who are schooled in p.r. savvy from Day One, the press has been hungry for a heel for a good long time, and more often than not Manny Ramirez has been that guy. He took PEDs, but so did a lot of guys.  He had a little tiff with the Red Sox as he left, but a lot of guys have had worse tiffs with their teams.

Manny Ramirez isn’t perfect, but he’s no monster, and Rosenthal’s attempt to make him out as one rings hollow.

  1. RichardInBigD - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    A guy who, prior to this year, had an averag season of .313 avg, 32 HR and 105 RBI for 17 years doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame? For being a douchebag? Methinks Ken Rosenthal may be hitting the crackpipe just a little bit too hard, and too often.

  2. Trevor B - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    I’m not fully on board 100% with the Manny to HOF gig, either… but I agree Rosenthals is over-blowing this. Is it just me or is Rosenthals starting to become the Glen Beck of sports writers? I’m waiting for him to say Manny isn’t really a baseball follower, rather he is a soccer follower and that Manny hates red jerseys wearing teams.

  3. Simon DelMonte - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Jayson Stark also suggest Manny might not belong in the Hall for such endless routines, but he’s not anywhere near as over the top on the matter.
    If we really start not electing people for being jerks, when do we kick Ty Cobb out?

  4. Spudchukar - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Here!, Here! Craig. Kudos to you. The demonization of Manny is unnecessary.

  5. ChiSoxFanPurdue - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Manny is a borderline Hall of Famer in my book (and we know I don’t have a vote). That is borderline with the PED and jerk stuff. His numbers are pretty good and no matter how bad he was in the field, he went out there and did it when told. He should have been a DH long ago. In Boston he even played the wall pretty well.

  6. jramler - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    If Manny Ramirez is such a distraction and his behavior and “antics” are so detrimental to the team, why do his teams win more when he plays? Did his behavior prevent the Red Sox from winning the world series? The Dodgers a have a WAY better record this season with him in the lineup. Sportswriters have a hate on for Manny, and blow everything he does out of proportion.

  7. FrankZappa - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    the 50 game suspension should absolutely disqualify him, but beyond that so should his lack of effort…if he had put as much effort into going all out as he did into making sure he never played or worked too hard, he really could have been great…but he is just a cheater in the end, they should deport him when his playing days are over for disrespecting the greatest game on earth…

  8. zac - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    About that last at bat with the Red Sox:
    He certainly did look bad, and you could interpret his body language as disinterested – although he looked discouraged to me as much as anything else – but he would by no means have been the first hitter to look like a fool while facing Mariano F-ing Rivera.

  9. Jack Marshall - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Manny quit on the Sox more than once, notably in 2006. As for 2008, I don’t see how refusing to play during a tight pennant race, dogging it in the field, striking out intentionally and jogging to first on possible hits qualifies as “a little tiff.” If the character requirements in Hall criteria mean anything at all, Manny doesn’t meet them.

  10. Pisano - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    Manny is no hall of famer . I would think a hall guy should be able to field a position , this guy is a joke in the field . If they let this him in , then any borderline player should get in . The hall of fame is for the best of the best , Manny is far from that .

  11. Bucky F-in Dent - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    You’re an idiot.

  12. broadcastdon - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Ramierz’s career numbers don’t look so good to me when I factor in the known fact that he used PEDs
    or whatever and whenever he chose during this career. That, to me, is a Hall of Fame disqualifier and although, as a lifelong baseball fan (1st game…Ebbetts Field…1940), I appreciate his seeming prowess, I find him too suspect and his deportment to be atrocious for his consideration.

  13. Shawon-O-Meter - Aug 30, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    He quit on the RedSox. Yeah, some players get down and don’t put forth 100% effort when the season is going bad.He QUIT on the Red Sox…that’s one of the worst things you can do in professional sports. And he cheated. I’ll take a shot in the dark and say his stats went down after he got caught cheating. One of the other worst things you can do in pro sports.
    Manny Ramirez is NOT deserving of the hall-of-fame.

  14. Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    So, you’ll be voting out Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby next chance you get, right? How about Babe Ruth? I would hardly think they demonstrated Hall of Fame-caliber “deportment.”

  15. Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2010 at 4:08 AM

    It doesn’t mean anything at all. It never has. It’s absolute bullshit. The next sportswriter who babbles about the morals clause without motioning to unelect Ty Cobb (yes, I know they can’t unelect Ty Cobb) deserved to be punched in the face. Manny Ramirez deserves to be a Hall of Famer because of his play on the field. People need to get the fuck over themselves and stop injecting a moral superiority into a process that has never had one.

  16. (Not That) Tom - Aug 31, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    “Factor in” implies you did some sort of analysis to reach your conclusion. Care to share your work with the rest of the class?

  17. (Not That) Tom - Aug 31, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    I assume then that you don’t find Derek Jeter to be a Hall of Famer then?

  18. Detroit Michael - Aug 31, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    According to the version of Wins Above Replacement at baseball-reference.com, Manny Ramirez’ on-field accomplishments place him among likely but not certain candidates for the Hall of Fame. Among other active players, he’s on par with Derek Jeter, Jim Thome, Jim Edmonds, and Scott Rolen.
    If you feel that other aspects of Ramirez’ career disqualify him for the Hall, then go ahead and make that argument. If you simply believe that Manny wasn’t good enough, you’re probably not looking at it objectively.

  19. Trevor B - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    Why not let Pete Rose in then?

  20. Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t allow him back into the game in any type of active capacity, but a museum dedicated to honoring the greatest careers in baseball history needs Rose if it doesn’t want to be a sham.

  21. YANKEES1996 - Aug 31, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    Manny Ramirez is most certainly a Hall of Fame player, just look at his stats and the fact that there was more than one occasion while he was in Boston where he put that club on his back and carried them, easily I might add. He used steroids and served his suspension and moved on. If you make up a list of hitters that pitchers have no interest in facing with the tying or winning run on the bases I will bet you more times than not Manny is going to be on that list and maybe at the top of that list. His childish behaviour in Boston is not a reason to keep him from the Hall and there is a good possibilty that the Boston management did have a hand in Mannys’ displeasure, he would not be the first player they treated badly. Athletes by nature are selfish and self absorbed and I agree with the other posters here if you are going to keep Manny out because of his attitude and behaviour then you had better be willing to remove all the other players who conducted themselves bady during their playing careers, and all this coming from a Yankees fan.

  22. BC - Aug 31, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    He quit on the Dodgers by getting thrown out of his last game there on the first pitch he saw.

  23. GP - Aug 31, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    That was a terrible call by the umpire. If a pitch in the other batter’s box is going to be called a strike, I’d say something to the umpire too.

  24. Pisano - Aug 31, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    The real idiots are your parents for having a scumbag like you .

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