Caution: Enter at Own Risk

Point:

I can think of 99 reasons why Manny Ramirez is the right choice for Most Valuable Player in the National League this year. 

From SportsHubLA today. I don’t know that I’m totally on board with “Manny for MVP” – that Pujols guy over in St. Louis is pretty good, I hear – but clearly, Manny’s been an amazing influence on this team.

Point:

Ladies and gentlemen, in case you haven’t been paying attention, know this: Manny Ramirez can f—ing hit.

From Baseball Prospectus’ look at just how awesome Manny Ramirez has been at the plate. Is that not the best take-home quote from an article you’ve ever read? Oh, except for this one…

Counter-point:

Manny Ramirez is the worst baseball player I have ever seen.

Oh… well, there’s that. Via BaseballThinkFactory, this crime against journalism is from something called The Daily Breeze (“from LAX to LA Harbor!”) I’m going into this with the same sort of trepidation that FireJoeMorgan had last week when they took apart T.J. Simers’ article on Ned Colletti being the best GM in baseball – because how could something this stupid not be a joke? That said, away we go… hit me, John Klima!

A ticket-selling novelty slogan is a great excuse for a player you do not want to settle your fate with his legs, arm, glove or mind.

In other words, this guy is a liability anytime he doesn’t have the bat in his hands.

Except, that when he does have the bat in his hands, he’s almost unquestionably one of the top ten right-handed hitters of all time. No, he’s not much of an outfielder, but it’s pretty safe to say that his monster bat outweighs being below-average at one of the least important positions on the defensive spectrum, right? Are we sure this isn’t a joke?

But it sells tickets. It does not change that he can hit, nor that he cannot play. 

I’m going to assume, John, that you’re not proposing that the Dodgers only acquired Manny to sell tickets. The last time the Dodgers didn’t finish in the top half of the league in attendance was 1957, their final lame-duck season in Brooklyn. They’ve led the league in attendance in each of the previous four seasons. As for the second half of this statement, a good part of being able to “play” is being able to “hit”. You’ve stipulated that he can hit; therefore it’s patently absurd to say that he “cannot play.” Again, I’m really hoping this is a lousy joke of Simers-esque proportions, because I fear for your soul if it’s not.

This does not denigrate his home run power, though his production numbers are on a gradual decline. His presence in the lineup still has value, if for no other reason than to make Andre Either look like a dominating player instead of a very good everyday player his team can’t decide if he is or not.

“His production numbers are on a gradual decline.” Based on what, exactly? His 161 OPS+ combined this season fits right in with his career 155 mark. See, the funny thing about making generalizations based on stats is that it’s really really easy to tell when you haven’t even bothered to look at the back of his baseball card, and are just pulling things directly out of your ass.

Also, for a player who you’ve already described as “the worst baseball player I’ve ever seen,” you sure do take care to praise him for something in each paragraph, don’t you?

I’ve never seen a player of Ramirez’s level, experience and salary play the game so poorly and with such disregard for obvious basics, as if the ordinary rules do not apply to him because he can hit. He’s been allowed to live in this world.

It’s true. I can’t count the times I’ve seen Manny Ramirez decide he’s going to stride to the plate with a 3-wood and a chef’s hat, just because he can. Remember when he crushed a ball to the gap and then rode a Segway backwards around the bases, firing laser beams at doves that he’d been carrying in his pockets? Yeah, good times.

I’ve never seen a player peel off first base and then be tossed out when the third baseman’s throw misses first, because he was oblivious to the catcher trailing him and the second baseman backing up first. If Ramirez ever tries to run out of Dodger Stadium before the seventh inning, I’m certain a car will hit him.

Manny makes dumb mistakes now and then, can’t refute that. But you’ve really never seen a guy make a wide turn around first and get caught? Never? Have you ever even seen a baseball game before? It might not happen every night, but it’s hardly an unheard of play. Besides, I remember that play. It was a whole lot less about Manny being “oblivious” to the opposition backing up the play, and a lot more about Mark Reynolds making a terrible throw which skipped past first, and Manny initially thinking he might be able to get to second.

But hey, I see what you did there with that last sentence. It’s funny because people in Los Angeles leave games early! Haaaaaaa. With originality like that, I’m shocked that he doesn’t just end the article with “You are the weakest link. Goodbye!”

I’ve seen some bad outfielders, but I’ve never seen one throw so routinely with his eyes closed. A good peanut vendor’s arm is more accurate. A satellite guidance system would be useful.

I’ve seen bad fielders, but rarely the kind who plays with a glove hand stiffer than a corpse covered by a flimsy Farmer John giveaway mitt.

Sweet Jesus. I can’t even make fun of this, because it’s so pathetic. It’s one thing to be completely and utterly wrong, and it’s another thing to not even be funny. I don’t have the heart to make fun of the mentally-challenged.

He is a woefully incomplete player in every way that he is a complete hitter. It is also one reason he is a Dodger and not an Angel. Recall when the Angels acquired Mark Teixeira, Manager Mike Scioscia said he was willing to trade premium talent for premium talent because Teixeira can play defense as well as remain a fearsome hitter. Give the Dodgers an amusement park attraction any time.

Teixeria is a superior defender to Manny, without question, although first base is hardly the most important defensive position. But again with the “amusement park” crap. I still can’t figure this guy out. He keeps saying that Manny’s a great hitter, but then seems to pretend that it doesn’t count at all in compiling how valuable he’s been.

Mark Teixeria, 2008 (combined): .305/.405/.538 148 OPS+
Manny Ramirez, 2008 (combined): .325/.423/.595 161 OPS+

This is why the Dodgers have a designated hitter in left field, a hair case trigger swinger whose numbers hurt the opposition but who hurts his own team in ways numbers won’t register. He is a poor addition to running a ballgame and a drain on a bench. He’s a terrible National League player. You must run the game around him and not let him run the game. Only a very good team, which the 2008 Dodgers are not, can absorb the runs he gives back with his mistakes and still win a championship.

Or… you could just pencil him in at left field and 3rd or 4th in the lineup and watch him destroy every pitcher in his path. Are you really suggesting that the Dodgers were better off before Manny than they’ve been since he arrived? It’s really hard to argue with this guy, because these statements are so wildly insane that you start to worry for his own safety. Because man, the ways in which Manny’s killing this team are hard to measure. It’s almost like this was touched upon in another article that I linked to. Say, the Baseball Prospectus one.

To put it another way: if Ramirez is such a negative presence on a club, how come Matt Kemp had to double over to avoid visibly busting a gut in front of the cameras after Manny made a running basket catch of a fly ball late in Wednesday night’s contest?

Thanks. Back to John Klima’s cavalcade of insanity:

When Ramirez arrived in Los Angeles, Nomar Garciaparra said Ramirez was a hard worker, which I believe, because nobody can sustain such production without preparation. Not even Ramirez can fall out of bed and hit 500 home runs.

You’re kind of all over the place here. So he’s a hard working productive hitter – yet still the worst player ever. Okay. This makes complete sense.

But Ramirez is also a reason why some detest the modern game. He plays a watered-down version of what the game was designed to be, and baseball has embraced this glossy version of over-the-line.

You know the saying, “chicks dig the sacrifice bunt.”

There was once a time when baseball was considered a throwing and running game, but those days are gone as swiftly as Ramirez will be headed back to the East Coast when the season is over. He has a team to torment, unless the Dodgers overspend (the Dodgers overspend?) to keep Ramirez.

At least with Ramirez here, nobody has to watch Andruw being Andruw.

What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

John Klima, I beg you. Email me. Explain how you could possibly write this article with a straight face, or feel free to just tell me that you got me. But if this whole thing isn’t a really bad joke, seek help. I beg you. For your own good.

* Over at Blue Heaven, they’ve posted a complete set of the 1981 Albuquerque Dukes, who were the AAA affiliate of the Dodgers at the time – and who may yet be again, although now it’s the “Isotopes”, which is just fantastic if you get the joke. Anyway, there’s some recognizable names in those awful red-and-yellow jerseys, and none more so than Mr. Koufax himself. Even though it’s a Dodgers minor league team, how wrong does that look?

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

0 comments