By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
It’s official, silly season has started in south Florida. The house organs that are the Boston beat writers for the Red Sox are chiming in on cue, each putting their different spin on the “success” that has been the Hanley Ramirez experience at first base this spring.
And I thought that John Henry only controlled what was written in the Globe, silly me.
So, let me get this straight, after 13 games that mean absolutely nothing, in which he has played a minimal amount of innings, we are to believe that Hanley the Hound is now the next George Scott?
Please. They think you are stupid, Sox fans.
It never has been and never will be about talent; Ramirez has that in spades. It is about commitment and drive, neither which he knows anything about.
If Hanley the Hound were a radio station, his call letters would be WOOF. He cares about nothing other than getting his hacks in, and even that he does not care enough about to take it seriously enough to commit to playing defense so he can stay in the line up.
Don’t believe me? Hark back to last April when it appeared as though Hanley would be the next Manny Ramirez, minus the defense (You laugh, but it was true.). He was carrying the club offensively, until he ran into the wall near the foul line in left field. While it is true, he hurt his shoulder on the play, and that affected his offensive output for a period of time, it is just as true that it was there he lost his will to play defense anymore. By the time that the Sox hired new team president Dave Dombrowski in August, it was so evident that he had shut it down, Dombrowski basically told him to take his bat and go home a few weeks later.
Do you really believe that a guy, who has a history of quitting on his teammates, will, at age 32, suddenly find the drive and determination that it takes to stay healthy and productive while taking the field 150 or so times at first base? If you do, I have a big box of pink hats I would love to sell to you.
When he was asked last season by WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford – aka, president of the house organ lodge – if he would ever consider playing first base, the Hound barked, “Me? Hell, no. I’m just an employee here so I just want to win. It’s just like where I hit in the lineup. Wherever they think I should be to win, that’s what I’m here for.”
When pressed for a reason why he would rather continue to make a fool of himself in left field instead of moving to first base, the mangy mutt muttered, “I don’t have to bend that much. None of this. None of this. None of this. You have to stay down. It makes a big difference.”
Faced with having to choose whether he will make the effort to bend down at first on a nightly basis, or bend the Red Sox over and tuck it to them once again this season, I would take the latter rather than the former every time.
The only hope for Red Sox fans is that Dombrowski and the team are using the puppets in the press in order to get someone to think that Hanley the Hound is worth taking a flyer on. The amount of perfume and lipstick that the team has used to pretty this pig is astounding. Perhaps they believe as spring training winds down – much like last call at a bar – some general manager will look at Ramirez as if he was wearing beer goggles, and take his chances with the not so pretty pooch.
He is going to breakdown or quit. He always has, and he always will. After all, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.