Hanley Ramirez of the Miami Marlins looks on from the dugout during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
6 Total Updates since July 24, 2012
10 months ago Update 0 comments
The Miami Herald's Manny Navarro ventured into the Marlins' clubhouse Wednesday, and asked a bunch of Hanley Ramirez's ex-teammates how they felt about Ramírez going to the Dodgers in a trade. Here's the juiciest bit:
One player who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, "There were a lot of smiles’’ in the Marlins clubhouse Wednesday morning, happiness because a player disliked by many in the organization — but protected by the front office for years because he was producing — was finally gone.
"They created a monster from a very good baseball player — gave him so much slack to do whatever the [expletive] he wanted because he was performing,’’ the player said.
"You can push some things aside when you’re hitting .340 with 40 home runs. You say ‘He’s a [jerk], but I can deal with it. ... But when you’re not playing and you’re trying to be that same [jerk], it starts rubbing people the wrong way.’’
The rules have always been different for the big stars, and always will be. And it's probably not easy for a big star to change his attitude when he's an ex-big star. Which is why trading this particular ex-big star might have been the best thing for everyone involved. Even leaving aside the money the Marlins are saving.
There were a few other discouraging words, along with some diplomatic words, but at the same time Ramírez seems to have been well-liked by at least a few of his teammates. It's like most things, probably. The simple answer is that Hanley Ramírez was a cancer in the clubhouse, everyone's glad to be rid of him, and this is a classic case of addition by subtraction. But the truth is probably just a bit more complicated.
It was quite probably time for him to go. But let's not expect any miracles in his absence.
10 months ago Update 3 comments
In my last literary effort, I wondered if Marlins fans, already failing to fill their new ballpark with any frequency, will stick around for yet another rebuilding effort.
Well, Jeff Passan seems to figure that line of questioning is beyond the point. It's not about the fans. It's about the two men who run the franchise, owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson. According to Passan, Loria and Samson have been running a con:
It's little things. Telling people this team will be relevant toward the end of the season and setting it aflame in July. Spending years talking about how the season-ticket base was 5,000 when it was only 2,000. Lies. Small lies that build up into a mountain of distrust, anger and resentment.
Like Samson's assertion to reporters that one of the reasons for their disappointing attendance at Marlins Park was because of the's playoff run. It's a classic Samson trick: Say something that sounds like it makes sense, let the public believe it and skate by with an excuse that's better explained by, you know, the fact that fans may well be nauseated by owners whose idea of a great ballpark attraction is a $3 million acid trip of a home-run feature in center field.
You should read the whole thing, if only because fewer writers are more entertaining when worked up than Jeff Passan when he's worked up. Let's just say Jeff's probably not going to be on Loria's Christmas-card list this year.
The thing is, I can't say that he's wrong. I just don't know if Loria's so much worse than half the other owners out there. Most of them con their way into new (or renovated) ballparks, or at least try. Most of them espouse the wonders of naked capitalism, except when it comes to their own businesses. Most of them buy their teams because they ran out of other things to buy.
Loria, I think, is just more obvious about all these things. Which is problematic, because when you're so obviously trying to con the locals, eventually they'll get disgusted and stop showing up. It happened to Charlie Finley, first in Kansas City and later in Oakland. It happened to Frank and Jamie McCourt. And it's going to happen to Jeffrey Loria.
The good news is that Loria won't own the team forever. Eventually, someone will buy the Marlins, rip out that monstrosity beyond center field, say the right things in public, and the club might have a fighting chance for a nice run.
In 1997, the Marlins spent a lot of money, and they won the World Series. In the process, they drew more than 2.7 million paying customers, fifth most in the National League. The fans are there. They just need to be sweet-talked a little. And Jeffrey Loria probably isn't the man for that job. Not any more.
10 months ago Article 6 comments
The opening of Marlins Ballpark, along with some expensive free agents and a famous new manager, brought such hope with the Marlins this season. But it's been a lousy season, and now it's all about the future.
10 months ago Article 10 comments
The Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez for a minor-league reliever, their #3 prospect, and the willingness to absorb a contract. Welcome to the New Dodgers.
10 months ago Article 2 comments
The Dodgers and Marlins completed a trade that surprised almost everyone; it sent former All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez west, in exchange for a top pitching prospect.
10 months ago Article 1 comment
The Oakland Athletics need a shortstop. The Miami Marlins need to dump Hanley Ramirez, who used to be a shortstop. Are the A's and Marlins a love match?