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Another prominent columnist perpetuates the "Manny Ramirez is no longer any good" myth

Aug 31, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

I wrote yesterday about how silly it is for mainstream media members to act as if Manny Ramirez is no longer a good player despite his owning the fourth-best OPS in the entire league and the Dodgers having a significantly better record when he was in the lineup.

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times wrote a column about Ramirez today and it includes exactly the sort of “don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story” approach that I was talking about. Here’s an excerpt:

With the exception of an occasional lucky moment when a fat pitch hit his slow bat, he departed the Dodgers the moment he was busted for being a performance-enhancing drug cheat. How do you say goodbye to someone who has been gone for 16 months?

“Man ain’t the same since he’s been off his medicine,” one of the Dodgers told me late last season.
Man lost faith in his drug-free swing. Man lost the swag in his clubhouse swagger. Man wasn’t Manny again, really, until last weekend. That was when he officially quit.

According to Plaschke he “lost faith in his drug-free swing” and “has been gone for 16 months” except for “an occasional lucky moment when a fat pitch hit his slow bat.” That all sounds good until you actually try to match up Plaschke’s statements with facts.

Since “he was busted for being a performance-enhancing drug cheat” Ramirez has batted .287 with a .396 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage in 143 games. That works out to an .896 OPS, which is the best on the Dodgers during that time and ranks 12th in the entire National League, directly behind Adrian Gonzalez (.916) and Ryan Howard (.903) and right ahead of Hanley Ramirez (.877) and Ryan Braun (.865).

I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone has to overlook Ramirez’s many faults, but why does pointing out his flaws have to include ignoring or even distorting his strengths to fit into a certain storyline? Since returning from his 50-game suspension Ramirez has been the best hitter on the Dodgers and one of the dozen best hitters in the entire league, yet from reading the many articles like Plaschke’s you’d think he was batting .190.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    Typical media piggy-backing. One guys says it, and the rest of the hoard jump on the bandwagon. There’s not many original thinkers in the sports media today.

  2. Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    There’s a reason Plaschke was an FJM staple.

  3. THE godfather - Aug 31, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    According to the attached story, Plaschke was quoting a Dodger player. Perhaps Aaron Gleeman could get such sources to contradict someone that earns a living playing the game he’s writing about?

  4. SosasCork - Aug 31, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    More Anti-Manny news: David Haugh from the Chicago Tribune:–20100830,0,7734207.column

  5. yesitsme - Aug 31, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    Where did the other article on Manny go? That was interesting.

  6. Paper Lions - Aug 31, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Yeah, because players are really smart and have in depth understanding about what leads to winning and losing baseball games.

  7. basiltherat - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Plaschke also feeding the narrative that Manny’s drop in production from terrifying to merely very, very good has everything to do with being off the “medicine” and nothing to do with being 38.

  8. John_Michael - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    You want Aaron to find a player to say that Manny is a good baseball player? Really?

  9. Luke Bean - Aug 31, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    FJM!? Man, I miss FJM. Ken Tremendous was/is one of the funniest bloggers ever! And listening to Morgan the other night on the Rays game reinforced what a COMPLEAT jackass he is.

  10. doctorfunke - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    I’m surprised that Aaron expects mainstream sportswriters to look at numbers (besides the easy and useless ones) and write an article using the facts. Seems that’s how most writers do it these days. It’s more about their own thoughts and opinions rather than the way it is. I used to think that it was different with sports, but apparently not. This is why I enjoy this blog, there’s lots of factual information, with little opinion mixed in.

  11. D-Luxxx - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Nope, that was only the quote from the “Dodger player” from the previous year. I always love that one, I wonder who the “Dodger player” is. Anyway, the part about fat pitches hitting his slow bat where Plaschke’s, and he’s completly wrong. I don’t see Plaschke as a “reporter” though, he’s more of a “columnist” which means he’s fat, lazy, and doesn’t care much about fact over opinion.

  12. D-Luxxx - Aug 31, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    If you read the article SosasCork posted, you’d see the Chicago writer used stats, and then basically said it was bunk. Some of them actually use it, but as Aaron stated, some columnists won’t let facts get in the way of opinion…

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