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Manny Ramirez’s Return: Orioles or A’s… Why Bother?

Photo Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters

Do you ever get the feeling like there’s no one on earth who loves you? That feeling that you’re completely alone in the world, completely abandoned by people who once cared so much for you?

I bet that Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles fans feel that way all the time. These two franchises had so much to look forward to at one point in their history: World titles, All-Star players and recorded-setting teams are now all gone. The fans of these teams have nothing left but to watch the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox and the Yankees dominate their respective divisions. There isn’t much to brag about or look forward to if you’re a Baltimore or Oakland fan. Almost as if the grace of God is non-existent.

And if anyone in either city still even believes in God, they’re about to have one more reason to abandon faith because Manny Ramirez may be headed to one of these two sorry, sorry franchises. Apparently, the rumor mill (and reputable news sources, but what’s the difference anymore) is spouting some talk of Manny being Manny in Baltimore or Oakland. I can’t even believe that the management of these (I almost wrote respected) teams are even considering taking in a player who is way past is prime and won’t even play in the first 50 games of the season. If I lived in Oakland or Baltimore and I read the headline “Manny’s coming to Town!,” I’d quickly flip to any and all stories about drive-byes and missing children to cheer me up.

Why Bother?

At this time, there’s no contract information available, but if the O’s and A’s are smart, which they aren’t, they better not sign him for more than the league minimum. Also, they should add in a ton of incentives. It’s a smart way to try to actually get something out of him.

The issue is: what’s left for Manny Ramirez to give? His last few seasons where way below the usual Manny production and after a year off, I highly doubt he’s found “it” again. He’d certainly be limited to just a designated hitter, but then again, if they’re considering Manny, then they’d probably let him play centerfield and maybe close a few games too.

From what is being reported, Oakland needs a DH and they find Manny to be an intriguing signing. As for the Orioles, Dan Duquette is Baltimore’s GM and he’s obviously dealt with Manny before, so he’s willing to take this risk. In 2001, he signed Ramirez to a $160 million deal with Boston and referred to him in his press conference as both “interesting”and “entertaining.” I highly doubt he’ll use either of those words when all the Orioles fans slash his car’s tires.

Do These Teams Have Anything to Gain?

I don’t entirely blame two of the lowest ranking teams in baseball to want to shake things up and stir some interest in their teams. The circus atmosphere will certainly have people coming to witness what could be a giant calamity. I don’t know how many national ESPN or FOX games one single player would help these teams get to, if any. Oakland actually has a decent, young team, which with the right management and signings could actually redeem the franchise a little.

I’d hate to see Manny come in and alienate people and pout/get bored when the losing streaks start. The A’s actually have hope (the O’s not so much), but Oakland can do something someday, much like Texas very slowly built a two-time AL champion. They need to be smart right now, not naive to “entertaining” signings. They may even move to San Jose in a few years, so positive press is a must right now.

Baltimore’s Motives

As for Baltimore, if they want to use Manny to bring in more to Camden Yards, that’s fine. He may even hit a little, considering it’s a small ballpark. But, this too has disaster written all over it because I don’t think Manny is really the Buck Showalter “type.” He has an attitude problem and Buck isn’t the type of guy who’s going to sit back and take the typical Manny being Manny being an ass, especially since Manny wouldn’t be in the same position in Baltimore as he was in Boston. Showalter would have much more of a right to complain about Manny and call him out in interviews. I don’t see these two mixing well, not one bit.

And yes, I am aware that in a recent interview, Ramirez told ESPN and Pedro Gomez that he wants to show everyone that he can change and that he can still play ball. I’m not saying Manny is a bad guy atall. I’m sure he’s actually a pretty decent man if you met him, but I don’t really believe what he told ESPN. Maybe he’ll change for a day, a week or a month. And then what? He gets bored and like a little kid, he starts trouble. He’ll open his mouth and it’ll rub someone, or everyone, the wrong way. Then, when that happens, you’ll end up (just like in Boston) with a whole mess of people angry at him and one or two making excuses for him. Does any team really need that?

He Won’t Change

He’s going to be sitting out the first 50 games. Let’s remember this; he’ll be sitting around doing nothing for 50 straight games. He’s better off serving the suspension at home because there’s no need for him to sit in the dugout, unavailable,
watching his team lose until mid-May.

Usually, when it comes to players with bad attitudes, I’m fairly passive. I’ve always adopted the stance that as long as they keep their attitudes and off-the-field drama away from the stadium and batter’s box, it’s fine by me. But Manny brings his issues with him where ever he goes. It’s not like I’m trying to make Manny out to be some brood, dark trouble maker. No, if anything, he’s like a child. He can have that childlike characteristic about him where he can make you love him, but also he can kick and scream until everyone’s good time is ruined.

And unfortunately for Oakland and Baltimore, they hardly ever have any good times to begin with.

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