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Rays fans are already booing Manny Ramirez

Apr 6, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Ramirez watches a MLB spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles from the dugout in Sarasota

Tampa Bay is 0-4, Manny Ramirez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts yesterday to make him 1-for-16 on the season, and Rays fans are already booing the 39-year-old designated hitter.

Manager Joe Maddon described the situation as “very unfair” while adding that the fans should know “this man really cares” and “the last thing I want him to do is feel like he has to carry us.”

B.J. Upton called the booing “unbelievable” and went on to say:

Here’s a man who has had an unbelievable career. This game is not easy. His start obviously hasn’t been what people wanted it to be. But if everybody could do it, everybody in America would be playing right now. They’re not and he’s done it for 16 years. So that bothered me a little bit. Because I think if you’re a true baseball fan, you know what type of player he is and the type of damage he can do. It’s way too long of a season to be booing somebody right now. That I do not understand, not one bit.

I tend to agree. Ramirez is certainly a flawed person, but for a new fan base to boo him four games into his time with the team seems absurd, particularly since he was a shrewd free agent signing for just $2 million in guaranteed money and is crucial to the Rays’ success this season.

Boo him if he fails to hustle or disrespects Maddon or shows up late for a game, but for a bad first week at a new job? What purpose does that serve, exactly?

  1. trevorb06 - Apr 6, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    At least the Rays fan base is showing some sort of fire… unfortunately it’s the wrong fire right now.

  2. Old Gator - Apr 6, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Probably a lot of retired Feelies fans living down there on rockingchair beach. Then again, it surprises me that there are enough of them in the stands of the Tropicana Tumulus these days so that the team can actually hear them booing way down there on the field, especially over the drone of that porcine predator drone up in the rafters.

  3. mithrophon - Apr 6, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    So were both fans booing? Or just the one?

    • Ari Collins - Apr 6, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      Haha, 45 up and ONE down. Proving your point.

  4. bigxrob - Apr 6, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    rays fans have “passion”, who knew?

  5. Ari Collins - Apr 6, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    “I’m shocked, SHOCKED that overreaction to the first four games is going on in here!”

    “Your team’s record, sir.”

    “Oh, @#!$ you very much.”

  6. bklynbaseball - Apr 6, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Let’s see; how to put this – Rays fans aren’t the brightest baseball bulbs in the pack. Don’t go to the Trop anymore because I can’t find a parking space because of all the.,…..BANDWAGONS!!!!!

  7. The Dangerous Mabry - Apr 6, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    They’re probably just trying to show how loyal they are.

  8. ThatGuy - Apr 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    Did they have enough fans to make it audible? Or did the ushers pass along the message?

  9. florida727 - Apr 6, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Ever hear the phrase, “you only get one chance to make a first impression”? 1-for-16. Enough said…

  10. Ari Collins - Apr 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    In sports, it’s “What have you done for me lately?” When he hits 3 homers next week no one will boo him anymore.

    • Old Gator - Apr 6, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      For a few days.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM

      So you’re okay with this, but not with Cole Hamels being booed?

  11. AK47 - Apr 6, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Dear Rays fans, it’s not worth booing Manny, he doesn’t really care about playing baseball anymore.

    • kast2l - Apr 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

      feel like thats a ignorant comment to make when he obviously accepted a 18 mil pay cut….

      • Old Gator - Apr 6, 2011 at 3:50 PM

        And what choice did he have?

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 6, 2011 at 6:28 PM

        What Gator said.

        How can it be considered a pay cut if he couldn’t get the additional $18 million somewhere else? No, he accepted a seven figure contract to play baseball.

        And while that in and of itself doesn’t prove that he doesn’t care about playing anymore, some of the things he does, and the whole “Manny being Manny” stuff does lend itself to him not caring for anything more than a paycheck to play baseball.

  12. uyf1950 - Apr 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    I don’t think any real baseball fan even critics of both Manny and Damon expect them to finish the year batting under .100 However I do think that it was a mistake for the Rays to sign both these players. They are both well past their prime and realistically can’t be expected to even help the team. What also seems very interesting is that fact that many posters even prior to spring training where saying how the Rays will be the wild card team, etc… and how Manny and Damon would help the Rays. Well 5 games into the 2011 season (and I realize it’s only 5 games) neither one of those predictions seems to be accurate. Not only is the Rays pitching not what fans expected but their offense is almost non existent. Not just in one game but all 5 games. Will the Rays improve? Certainly. Will they contend for a playoff spot? Not likely. That’s just my opinion.

    • spindervish - Apr 6, 2011 at 3:50 PM

      I really don’t think they’ll content either and I’ve found all the optimistic projections pretty baffling actually, but it’s flat out ridiculous to say that Manny is incapable of helping this team as a DH. Dude had like a .400 OBP last year, and it’s not like that lineup is setting the bar real high. I think he could end up being their second-best hitter this season if he plays enough.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM

        spindervish – to my mind “helping a team” means helping it accomplish something it would not have without that player. I may be wrong but what is Manny going to help the Rays accomplish? Finishing 4th in the AL East as opposed to 5th. I don’t consider that helping. I’m also confused by your last sentence. You think he can end up being the second best hitter on the team “if” he plays enough. And you base that on the fact that last year he had a .400 OBP in 90 games. But you ignore the fact that he is a year older and totally ignore Manny’s history of discontent. I just don’t see it my friend, helping that is. That’s just my opinion.

      • spindervish - Apr 7, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        First of all, by your own definition, contributing to the team finishing 4th as opposed to 5th would constitute “helping.” A little consistency, please…

        Secondly, I don’t base my suspicion that he could end up their second-best hitter solely on his nice OBP from last year, though that’s one factor, and an important indicator that his pitch recognition skills and ability to make contact are still top-notch. And by adding the caveat about playing time, I’m pretty sure I’m specifically not ignoring his age, injury history and “history of discontent,” as you put it. I’m saying if those issues don’t get in the way of him playing 130ish games, he could be pretty productive this year.

        If you don’t believe he will play anywhere near enough to be a valuable contributor, well, that’s a fair enough opinion. I simply took issue with what appeared to be your suggestion that he was incapable of helping in terms of his ability as a hitter. That, I believe, is quite simply false.

  13. randomdigits - Apr 6, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    “Boo him if he fails to hustle or disrespects Maddon or shows up late for a game”

    Manny hasn’t exactly been flying down the first base line every chance he gets. Considering that 1- He doesn’t play defense and 2- He has only made it to first safely once, the only way the “fans” in Tampa can judge his hustle is if he runs hard to first.

    Right now it looks like Tampa will be well behind by the time Longo gets back and I fully expect Manny to be into shutdown mode by then.

  14. phillybilly57 - Apr 6, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    hey florida727, Willie Mayes went 0-20 to start off his rookie season and was ready to quit baseball.enough said.

  15. bklynbaseball - Apr 6, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    @phillybilly – bandwagon florida727 just proves my point about Rays fans……they all sound just like that…….and that’s why the Rays don’t draw even though they’re one of the better teams (talent-wise) in baseball…….it’s a shame……..

    • Old Gator - Apr 6, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      florida727 is hardly “bandwagon.” Look at what he wrote. You need to re-tune your antennae for “irony,” Bubba. While you’re criticising the fickleness to west-central Floridian fandom, try not to let the subtleties derail you in the process.

      Meanwhile, there are a lot of reasons why the Razed don’t draw well, and many have to do with the location and general visual atrocity of the giant gunite wart within which they play. Dear Buddha, we’ve been over this countless times. Try heading west from Lakeland over the causeways at rush hour for a 7 PM game some time. Try leaving the western suburbs of Orlando – especially if you have to wait for the five o’clock bell – and getting to the game for the first pitch. Rotsa ruck, Cholly. They stuck that team at the 98th Meridian of its fan catchment zone, perhaps expecting it to make up in dolphins what it would lose in human attendance thusly planted on its own farthest horizon. It’s an awful place for a stadium, especially such a clammy one.

      And of course, the play designatedhitterball, not real baseball per se. Many relict mammoth hunters, who would enjoy that kind of thing, haven’t even learned to drive yet.

      • bklynbaseball - Apr 6, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        Geez, Gator – angry a little bit?? I lived in central NJ for many years, and would gladly drive the 1.5 to 3 hours it took to navigate the daily Tri-State gridlock to get to either Yankee or Shea Stadium – often with the “vaya con Dios” from the boss at 3 pm in order to make first pitch. Hell, you can’t get from midtown to Yankee Stadium by first pitch if you leave at 5 pm! Traffic? Whatever. You’re right about the Trop though – it is an abomination.

        As far as the “play designatedhitterball,” you’re assuming an awful lot when you assume that 727fans know the difference. But I feel you.

      • Ari Collins - Apr 6, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        Regardless, Old Gator’s point is a good one. If baseball’s relatively new to your area, and you want to build a fanbase, putting your stadium in the worst place possible is not going to get it done. Sure, diehards are gonna make it out there, but it’s tough to get 30,000 diehards anywhere, but especially when your stadium sucks and is so far away from the population center.

        It’s a shame, because the team deserves to be followed more, and the fans deserve a place to see that exciting team, but the owners really messed up in bringing the two together.

  16. Old Gator - Apr 6, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    bklynbaseball: not angry, just frustrated when auschlanders don’t get the picture in Tampa Bay (or here in Macondo, for that matter). And don’t even get me started on what having had an impecunious turkey like Vince Namoli as an owner can do to the enthusiasm of a fan base. Imagine someone who was as big an asshole as George Steinbrenner at his worst without the saving graces of a willingness to spend on his team, a charitable side and the ability occasionally to be interesting. Sure, Borg and Mutts fans will brave the elements and the traffic to participate in what has become a legitimate communal experience – but boreals and sub-boreals with century-long local baseball traditions behind them don’t get it either when they criticize Macondo fans without having lived through the multiple dismantlings of Huizinga, Henry and Scrooge McLoria of a team that’s only been here since 1993.

    Oops…I got started….

  17. macjacmccoy - Apr 7, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    ya booing bc someone isnt hitting is absurb. I think booing should be used to let the players no when your not happy with there effort or focus.

    I just dont like when people misconstrue booing for dislike or not understanding. Its the only way we can get our point across to the players. If we thought they could hear us yell “come on guys get focused” we would yell “come on guys get focused” but we know they cant so booing is how we have to communicate. Players are smart enough to understand why the people are booing in certain situations. I think its the media that makes it seem like its done out of hatred.

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