Sunday, July 27, 2008

The New Biggest Jerk in Baseball

For years, "The Biggest Jerk in Baseball Trophy," was the exclusive property of Barry Bonds. How could any fan feel sympathy for the supposed best player in the game (at least from looking at the stats) who cried and whined about everything? Fans don't feel much pity for someone who cops the attitude, "Awh, boo-f##king-hoo, nobody knows how tough it is raking in these millions of dollars playing baseball...." Add to that, just believe what your eyes tell you, a trim slender body with an angular head as a young player with the Pittsburgh Pirates compared with the chunky, moon-faced slugger with the Giants, this is nothing that came from bellying up to the dinner table. Barry Bonds can throw out all the excuses he wants, the dude took tons of steroids. Regardless of where his legal battles take him, do not insult baseball fans' intelligence and try to argue this fellow is a victim of circumstances. Far too many audit trails point right to Bond's locker. Even if it was just "skin cream" which is doubtful, many substances are absorded through the skin including "Androgel," a form of testosterone absorbed through the skin. While he might have snagged Hank Aaron's home run record, what made him strong in his forties could kill him in his fifties as the long term health prospects of steroid users is not good. Bonds sold his soul to the Devil for baseball immortality when he could have most likely had a very respectable, Hall-of-Fame career without doping up. One of the most accomplished players mentioned in the same breath as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays, is a whining, sarcastic thug who no young athlete in his right mind would dare want to emulate.

The heir-apparent to Barry Bonds for the "biggest jerk award" has to be Manny Ramirez, not since his surly teammate Albert Belle who even chased away trick-or-treaters, has the American League had such an arrogant snot of a player. It may seem like ancient baseball history, but Belle and Ramirez were Cleveland's troublesome teammates. Though Cleveland Indian fans might miss the powerhouse team they enjoyed in the early days of Jacobs Field (or whatever it's been renamed now -- RMF avoids the commercialized name in his writing so as not to provide free advertising for Corporate America), few fans along the shores of Lake Erie miss either one of these fellows. Let another city have the headaches.

While the Boston Red Sox are in an excellent position to compete in post season play if not win the Eastern Division outright, Ramirez is not happy. Instead he pouts and complains perfectly willing to let his dissastisfaction be known far and wide though nobody is really sure just what it is that has him so unhappy -- having some of the most consistent stats of any player while playing for the decade's most successful team? Ramirez says he would welcome a trade. If not, he should hope to receive a thank you note from the Red Sox brass informing him they will not play their options releasing him to the free agent market at the end of the year. For all Manny Ramirez brings to the team, his temper and foul attitude can poison a club house. How many franchises will welcome those headaches for a contract of up to the $100 million over four years Ramirez is seeking?
Surely, Ramirez will be the subject of a lot of hot stove conversation in the off-season as speculation would surely focus on what team might see itself one player short of serious contending where Ramirez's fat bat would look tempting in the heart of the lineup.

For the reasons cited above, Manny Ramirez is the Biggest Jerk in Racing.

Hey Manny, it's not too late, get a haircut and smile. Maybe people might like you then if you keep pounding balls over the "Green Monster." In the meantime, be quiet and do your job. Few people in the world have been given your opportunity and make a fortune doing so.

On this day that Baseball recognizes its legends with the Hall-of-Fame inductions, it's hard not to look at the current players who look like they have achieved the kind of numbers that make a place in Cooperstown almost a certainty in the future. Manny Ramirez will be there for all his batting prowess for the Indians and the Red Sox. If the sports media who votes for Hall-of-Fame members seriously considered "character" as one of the qualification for membership, Manny Ramirez would be the odd man out. Only steroid use appears to have kept players out given Mark McGwire was not on stage with Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn when the first player to break Roger Maris's record became eligible. Today, fans realize that all efforts which have exceeded the 61 homerun mark set by Maris in 1961 could be tarnished as there is little doubt Bonds and McGwire used performance enhancing drugs and hormones with whispers Sammy Sosa did the same. If just being a total jerk were grounds to keep a player out, then perhaps Ty Cobb's membership would have to be revoked. That would not be right. As such, some time within the next decade, we might have to hold our nose and suck it in as Manny Ramirez could very likely take center stage on a late July Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, New York.
In the meantime, RMF will create his "Hall of Shame" in cyberspace. Your nominations please?

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