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Scott Miller on Manny Ramirez’s presence on the Oakland A’s: “unconscionable”

Feb 27, 2012, 12:03 PM EDT

Manny Ramirez

Last week Scott Miller of CBS made a series of tweets excoriating the Athletics for signing Manny Ramirez. He called the move “reprehensible” and said it was evidence that we lived in a “twisted world.”  He then promised to tear Manny and the A’s a new one when he visited their camp in Phoenix and wrote about him. It was not the typical thing you see from an experienced reporter and columnist.

After I wrote a post about that I had an email exchange with Miller. It was very pleasant, as Miller is an extremely polite and pleasant man. Not just my opinion, by the way. Others I know who have met him or corresponded with him have said the same thing and I have no doubt about it. Anyway, we didn’t come to any grand agreement in the exchange apart from us both agreeing that Twitter is odd.

Miller did say, however, that when he did meet Ramirez at A’s camp that he would give the story a fair shake, listen to what he had to say and what the A’s had to say about it all and that his resulting column would not be based exclusively on preconceived notions and his first, somewhat intemperate reaction to the Ramirez signing.

Well, Miller’s column is up, and it seems that Manny didn’t do anything to change his mind.

Indeed, Miller’s reaction was the same, if not even more extreme regarding the morals and ethics of signing Ramirez.  It’s “unconscionable,” Miller says. He concludes his story by saying “Right is right, and wrong is wrong. And this is wrong from every angle.”

Except there’s nothing in the story, complete with an interview with Ramirez, which explains why Miller feels this way apart from the fact that Manny has, in the past, been a serial jackass. Ramirez talks at length about how he has found religion and how it has set him straight (and, implicitly, how the way he behaved before was wrong).  He talks about a fresh start and trying to do right.  In the course of the interview, Ramirez is delivered flowers from “someone in Boston” — where Ramirez is supposed to be hated, if you believe the anti-Manny crowd — and Miller disapproves.

One anonymous player — and it’s not clear if it’s an A’s player, but I’ll assume it is — disapproves of Manny’s past transgressions. Those on the record have no problem with it. There is no information presented or argument made in the article that this is a bad move for the A’s financially or competitively. The entirety of Miller’s disapproval of Manny Ramirez  on the Oakland A’s is that he’s Manny Ramirez.

Which is fine. It’s Miller’s column and Miller’s opinion. But I just don’t see what, based on the nature of all of the men who have played before Manny Ramirez and still play this game despite being less-than-savory characters, makes the A’s signing of Ramirez so much worse than any number of other signings. Josh Leuke pled no contest to false imprisonment with violence after being charged with rape (and lied to the police and the Seattle Mariners about it).  Brett Myers punched his wife. There are a bunch of players, coaches and executives who have been arrested for drunk driving. These are all far worse things than testing positive for PEDs.

So why is Ramirez so bad? What is it about him that sets Miller — and others, I’ll grant — off when it comes to him?  I don’t know.  I really don’t know why Manny is such a lightning rod compared to others who have screwed up and annoyed us.

  1. samu0034 - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    I would imagine it has to do with his seeming lack of effort. For some people, to see a man blessed with great talent at something the love merely profit from his talent rather than (as they see it) hone that talent to perfection, is an unconscionable act. Personally, I think (as you said) that Manny is a jackass, but to argue that he didn’t hone his craft is ridiculous. You don’t become that good at hitting a baseball on blind talent alone.

    • conjecture101 - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      The people you are referring to have something like the napoleon complex, only worse. They take out their bitterness and lack of ability, and will to win, on others who have achieved things they could never dream of.

      • djpostl - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        rofl, obviously Manny couldn’t without juicing since he was clearly doing it for a decade based on the time periods he popped hot.

        So go ahead and act like he actually did something if he had to be a scumbag to get it done, some of choose not to.

      • Old Gator - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        Whatever one thinks of Manny – and I must say I think not much of him as a human being, with a nod to his having been a great hitter once – I am at least gratified that sanctimonious soapbox jockeys like Scott Miller, having fired their salvos, now can do no more than sit back and eat their kishkes out with their own bile secretions while Manny goes out and plays baseball. Miller reminds me of the clueless seventeenth century poet Ebenezer Cooke in John Barth’s great novel The Sot Weed Factor, who, when confronted with threats and challenges, would threaten to “immortalize” his adversaries as the dolts they were in one of his execrable poems. You can imagine how much deterrent effect that had. Underneath all the bleating, If he plays passably well, Manny’s got a job. If he plays badly, he doesn’t have a job. Scott Miller knows full well that he will finally have had nothing to do with the outcome.

    • genericcommenter - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      I find that “lack of effort” is a very subjective ( obviously) characterization used as an excuse to justify disliking someone, which usually has little basis in reality other than interpretation of non-universal social cues. It makes as much sense as hating a player who mashes lefty pitching because he smiles when he strikes out.

      There’s really no way to gauge the effort or lack thereof. If you want to be objective and look at the stats, I guess you’d have to believe that Manny at full effort would belong to an upper-echelon of player(s) that includes only himself. Because he sure performed at a hell of a level for a long time for not giving much effort.

    • jwbiii - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      Yet his ex-teammates say he spent as much time in the batting cages and worked as hard as anybody. Probably not so diligent about his defense, though.

    • djpostl - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      I don’t think anybody thinks he didn’t “hone his craft”, at least I hope they don’t.

      I feel it’s just his absolute lack of respect for the game that matters most to me. From the on-field dogging it, to quitting on his team more than once.

      Then there is the whole PED issue.

      Yeah, he did them in an era when everyone did them and came up hot in 2003.

      How did he respond to that? He did it again in 2008 and then AGAIN in 2011. Absolute disregard for the game, fairness and every other issue (big or small) involved in the thing.

      That to me is the most compelling reason to view him as a major dirtbag whom isn’t worth peeing on to put out a fire.

  2. Jonny 5 - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Craig, I think you missed the memo.

    Any time you cheat the religion of baseball by using PED’s you are committing a Blasphemous act towards the sacred religion known as Baseball. Any transgressions you may have committed off the field, no matter the nature cannot possibly amount to that of a Blasphemous act towards this religion. As a matter of fact, just like most other religions you can feel free to rob, rape, murder, and/or pillage, as long as it’s in the name of baseball.

    I don’t know how you missed it.

    • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:21 PM


    • dwishinsky - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      I still don’t get how PEDs are different than Whitey Ford scuffing the baseball or Gaylord Perry doing God knows what to the baseball. I think you’re right about how stuff is viewed, but why the double standard like that? At least this “cheating” is to improve one’s chances to win and perform better right? Better than point shaving or taking a fall.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        Back in the old days before the world went and got all PC, scuffing balls, wiping them with viscous body fluids, etc. was considered a religious ritual akin to animal sacrifice and other forms repentance such as flagellation. This “cheating” is more like telling your religious leader you “bumped and grinded” with his old lady and then telling, ” here’s my child support” while placing monopoly money in the offering dish. Don’t you see the difference?

      • sdelmonte - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Go and read Charles Pierce’s alternately thoughtful and provocative column at Grantland about steroids. He has something worthwhile to say.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      This also explains why all the local stores are sold out of high horses……

    • nategearhart - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      Apparently Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi missed it, too.
      Matter-of-fact, where was Miller when the A’s re-signed Giambi?

      • djpostl - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        Giambi at the very least admitted he was wrong. He then didn’t run out and pop twice more in his career, assaulting elderly team employees and quitting on his team multiple times.

        Not saying he was right when he cheated first time around, but their are different degrees of sleaziness in this world and Manny is right at the bottom of the cesspool.

    • conjecture101 - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      So you don’t consider amphetamines PED’s? What about scuffed baseballs?

  3. skids003 - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Plus, Manny has burned so many bridges with his past behavior, he has never failed at every chence he got to act the fool before he left.

  4. alexandercartwright - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Has anything more come of Manny’s domestic battery case?

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I agree that morally speaking, PED’s < Drunken driving and domestic abuse.

    When did Myers punch hs wife? What a scumbag.

    • obamatoes - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      In boston walking down a major street dragging her by her hair in front of 50 people. About 2 years a go

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        What a sick f**k. How did he not do jail time? What a disgusting piece of filth.

    • skeleteeth - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      Ironically enough, in Boston the night before he was to pitch I believe. 2004 or 2005.

  6. obamatoes - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Here’s why.

    1. quits on team
    2. beat up old man traveling secretary for sox.
    3. 5 years in a row only red sox to refuse to visit critically injured vets
    4. beats wife
    5. obvious drug cheat
    6. rude and stoopid
    7. lies like a rug
    8. lies down like a dog

    What more do you need

    • eduff56 - Feb 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      On the money!

    • djpostl - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:54 PM


  7. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    It’s “unconscionable,” Miller says.

    You know what’s “unconscionable?”

    The damn Bill-Plaschke-one-line-per-sentence-column.

    Seriously, how f’ing annoying is it to read drivel written like this?

    How is this considered good writing?

    F*ck me, now I’m doing it….

  8. AlohaMrHand - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    And still Pete Rose is banned…..

    • wendell7 - Feb 27, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      That’s where all those previously mentioned “high horses” went

  9. hushbrother - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Don’t forget that some writers often act as mouthpieces for teams’ front offices and ownership. Manny burned some bridges in Boston and LA. Perhaps Scott Miller is expressing an opinion other than his own when he attacks M.B.M. In his column.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Possibly, but if he’s acting as the mouthpiece for a 3rd party, why go on one’s twitter account to express delight in a future ass-reaming?

  10. djpostl - Feb 27, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    I agree with Miller if only because even once you set aside the fact Manny has been a “serial jackass” the dude came up hot for ‘roids three different times. He was on the infamous 2003 list, then popped again in 2008 and then yet again in 2011.

    I mean good Lord, at what point does it become clear the guy is the absolute dirtiest of the dirty?

    That’s BEFORE we get into assaulting elderly travelling secretaries and quitting on his team multiple times.

  11. kingjoe1 - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    I hate self righteous reporters they lose all credibiity. Manny did what so many others have done across all sports. He is not the role model for a MLB player, but he is far from a terrible human being. Miller, get over yourselves until you prove that you walk on water and can change water into a nice Malbec.

  12. sabatimus - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Miller’s just being a hack and trying to get more listeners. I hadn’t heard of him before today.

  13. yahmule - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Miller committed the dual sin of provoking the Beaneheads and talking negatively about PED users on this website. The inevitable excoriation was both swift and silly.

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