It’s wake up time for Hanley Ramirez

I have a new respect for Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez in wake of his decision to bench All-Star Hanley Ramirez. Because Gonzalez has sent a message that most fans wish athletes would receive.

I didn’t think Ramirez could make himself look any worse than he did after he loafed after a ball that he booted into right field against the D-Back on Monday night. Then he spoke on Tuesday.

Did you lose respect for Gonzalez?
Ramirez: A little bit. We got 24 more guys out there, hopefully they can do the same things I do. That are wearing the Marlins uniform. There’s nothing I can say.

Are you going to apologize to your team for dogging it?
Ramirez: For what? Do what? We have a lot of people dogging it after ground balls. They never pull guys.

Profound. You have to appreciate it when a guy doesn’t take responsibility for his own actions and instead shifts the blame to those around him. I guess if some his teammates all decided to rob a bank, Ramirez wouldn’t have a problem following suit. After all, they did it first, right?

This is what Gonzalez had to say following Ramirez’s interview session with the media yesterday:

“I think he’s got to take care of some problems,” Gonzalez said when asked when his star might play again. “When he handles that the right way, he’ll be fine. It could be good. I think whatever feelings he has with me or not . . . it’s fine and dandy. We don’t need to get along. But I think he needs to get along with the 24 other guys on his team, and when that happens, we’ll run him back in there. I think if he sets his ego aside, this could be good.”

Spoken by a man who gets it. There are plenty of professional athletes that need to be reminded that their team comes first and Ramirez is one of them. This isn’t a Gonzalez vs. Ramirez thing – it’s a Ramirez thing. He didn’t only let his manager down – he let his entire team down. And while it’s only one game in the middle of May, every game counts. What if the Marlins finish one game out of the Wild Card race in September? Teams come up a few games short every year of making the playoffs and maybe Ramirez just cost his team one of those opportunities.

If this were the first time that Ramirez acted up, then maybe everyone would be willing to move on quickly. But even the Red Sox had to discipline him for behavior problems and last year Marlins’ second baseman Dan Uggla called him out for his poor attitude. He’s not 19 anymore – this kind of thing shouldn’t be happening.

Either way, he’s crossed the wrong person in Gonzalez, because the Marlins’ skipper is all about the team. Ramirez can either get on board with the philosophy or ride the pine. It’s his call.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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