Friday, July 17, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #237 – July 13, 2009

After Further Review … Manny Ramirez, left fielder of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was ejected by home plate umpire John Hirschbeck “for throwing equipment” in the top of the fifth inning of the Dodgers vs. the New York Mets. Ramirez’s childish behavior occurred after Hirschbeck had called him out on a called 3rd strike. It was Ramirez’s second strikeout in 4 innings. He had already driven 3 runs with 2 singles, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

After Ramirez’s ejection he said, “It’s ok, I was coming out in the next (fifth) inning anyway.” What? Ramirez didn’t complain after his first (called) strikeout, but did on the second one. He didn’t protest the ejection; nor did Dodgers’ Manager Joe Torre. Torre later said that he probably was going to take Ramirez out by not sending him to take his left field position for the bottom of the fifth.

Ramirez is, without a doubt, a powerful influence as a Dodger – as he was on the Boston Red Sox when they won the 2004 World Series. Ramirez is currently batting .386 (5 for 13) with one homer and six RBI’s (at this writing), and he is invaluable to his teammates. Doug Mientkiewicz, then of the Red Sox, said, “We needed Manny in the middle of our order. Young guys get better pitches to hit.” Mientkiewicz continued, “We are more patient. We play better - relaxed.”

Manager Torre took a difference stance. Torre said, “We really don’t care who our hero is; we’re trying to win ball games. Our younger players found out something about themselves as they stepped-up to take on the pressure/responsibilities once Ramirez was not in the lineup.”

Ramirez just returned from a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. Since Ramirez’s return, Torre has often pulled him out after 5-6 innings to ease him back into playing full time. There is no question that Ramirez is the MVP of the Dodgers. Torre further said, “If there is a late scratch for the 2009 All-Star Game, I hope he is given some consideration.”

While I admire and respect Joe Torre, he is speaking with his heart and not his head. First and foremost, MLB imposed a necessary drug-related suspension – no objection from Ramirez or the Dodgers. Second, his supercilious attitude in being ejected is cavalier, especially for a professional. No problem in disagreeing with the umpire, but MLB rules of “throwing equipment” are there for two reasons: disrespect of authority and injury from the thrown equipment (i.e. bat).

Will you maintain appropriate decorum in your disagreements?

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