Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Manny Ramirez: Stuck with No Kinda Get Back?

I'm a dog and I dog my broads, guerilla pimpin', drivin' four-door cars.—Too $hort, All My B****es Are Gone

A while ago, I mapped Terrell Owens career to William Butler Yates’ The Second Coming because the parallels were too irresistible. Well, after the latest news about Manny Ramirez and his wonder dog—Scott Boras—summarily rejecting the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offer of $25 million for a single year, the parallels between the dynamic duds and Too $hort’s opus to over-pimpage demand the same treatment.

Except for two problems: (A) $hort Dog’s anthem is far longer than Yates’ darkly enthralling poem; and (B) Most of it is WAY too inappropriate for general consumption.

But I’ll throw in bits where I can because it’s just perfectly apropos, even if x-rated.

That’s because Manny and Boras are painting themselves into a very small, very unsympathetic corner. If they think there’s a contract out there worth more than $25 mil per year for ANY length of time, you can add incredibly stupid to their list of accolades.

Of course, delusionally arrogant’s already on there and that could explain it.

Regardless, step back from the situation and take a look.

This is a 36-year-old outfielder who was arguably a defensive liability in his prime. And he wants compensation in excess of what the New York Yankees pay Alex Rodriguez. So he wants more money than arguably the best (non-clutch) player in Major League Baseball. A guy who also happens to be younger and play a premium defensive position.

You’ll see that Manny is a diva demanding well over his bull-market fair value. That’s not a great idea, but heretofore it wasn’t a horrible one since everyone was making money hand over fist.

However, if you read a newspaper or turn on a television, there are subtle little hints that we’re no longer in a bull-market. Things like Microsoft cutting thousands of jobs. Or the country of Iceland declaring itself insolvent. Or our own government writing about a $1.5 trillion welfare check to the financial movers/shakers.

Granted, I’m no economist. But I think that may qualify as a bear market.

Even more troubling for Ramirez is the fact that he quit on the Boston Red Sox. Vince Carter got away with it because he quit on a team that nobody was watching (Toronto Raptors). I’m sure others have done the same. But Manny went another route.

He dogged the baseball equivalent of Angelina Jolie.

Manny went Manny on the starlet that everyone is watching. NOBODY who follows baseball missed even the smallest detail of the schism. We all remember that Boston let him act the fool, paid him tip-top dollar, and was a perennial World Series contender. And we remember that wasn’t enough.

Shoot, even fans like me (I've no love for the Sawks) were disgusted. You think there are a bunch of owners lining up to take that risk? In this economy?

Well now I got a rep and they say I'm wrong.

This is a guy who proved he’ll quit on anyone—from baseball royalty to the paupers in the cellar—if he’s even the slightest bit unhappy. No matter if he’s playing in a baseball cathedral. No matter if it’s a blood bounty game against a hated rival. No matter what.

BorAss can spin all the bull excrement he wants about how Manny puts fannies in seats and is a once in a lifetime hitter. Great. None of that matters if Ramirez doesn’t get exactly what he wants.

He'll just take his considerable toys and go home.

And neither man can argue the matter because the episode is so fresh in everyone’s memory. The gruesome details are still gruesome—it’s simply too early for time to have taken the edge off.

So now Manny may be stuck. He keeps dismissing the one team that seems truly interested in him, but what happens if the Bums spend that money on someone else? Rather, several someones, since $25 million could buy you Ramirez or three other top-tier players.

As a San Francisco Giant die-hard, I’d much rather see LA bring back Manny than spend that money on some trio of Randy Wolf, Ben Sheets, Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, Adam Dunn, and Bobby Abreu. I’m no baseball genius, but I gotta believe the Dodgers are at least intrigued by the potential of adding three new shiny parts instead of one.

Additionally, Ned Colletti and friends have to be getting a little disenchanted with the childish petulance coming from the Manny/BorAss camp.

If Los Angeles goes in another direction, it will be (in large part) because Ramirez dogged a second team in the span of less than six months. A second high-profile team. A second team in contention. A second team that loved him and put up with his antics (c’mon, you know Dodger fans woulda given him leash). A second team that was willing to pay him everything but the kitchen sink.

"They all got tramped, used and abused till they all just vamped. And left a n**** stuck with no kinda get back...they know what the f*** they gon' get, took for they cash and a mouth full of..."

Like I said, Too $hort’s not quite as eloquent as Yates. But eloquence isn’t everything.

Because he’s nailed Manny’s predicament.

ManRam and BorAss have tramped and abused his last two suitors—two very conspicuous and generous suitors at that. If Los Angeles really does vamp to more secure options, Manny’s stuck with “no kinda get back.”

Think my Giants are gonna take on a potential malcontent for $20 mil after the off-season they’ve already had? With Barry Lamar Bonds’ scorched earth just now starting to re-bloom?

What about the Washington Nationals? How long do you (or they) think Manny would stay happy toiling for a economy-class franchise? In last place.

And therein lies his problem as well as our divine retribution.

Everyone knows what they’re gonna get and, especially in this economy, no one wants to waste money on a guy who’s a threat to take a seat whenever the mood strikes.

Not owners, not general managers, not teammates, and certainly not fans.

So enjoy your meal, Manny. In contrast to your ridiculous salaries, you earned this one.

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