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Recent Stories Putting Black Eye on the Face of MLB 3

Posted on August 30, 2010 by Don Spieles

For as much as Bud Selig tries to make sure that Major League Baseball always puts its best foot forward, sometimes people just can’t seem keep from tripping him up. Here are four recent stories that make baseball look less then wonderful, one that centers on Selig, himself!

Nationals Handling of Steven Strasburg

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws against the Florida Marlins during the fourth inning of MLB National League baseball action in Washington in this August 10, 2010 file photo. According to the team's website, Strasburg has a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament will likely require Tommy John surgery, the team announced in a conference call on August 27, 2010. Picture taken August 10, 2010.  REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)As a friend said to me recently, “Well, that was short-lived.” He was, of course, speaking about Strasburg’s time on the MLB stage. Many (including your truly) predicted that Strasburg would not see the big show this year at all. Now that the young ace is scheduled for Tommy John surgery and will be missing possibly until the 2012 season, perhaps the Nationals brass is wishing that those predictions had proven accurate.

You certainly don’t have to look far to find success stories related to what is perhaps the most well known surgical procedure after a tonsillectomy. Some notable names who have made the papers after the procedures include Kenny Rogers, Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, John Smoltz, and Mariano Rivera. There is no reason to be overly pessimistic about Strasburg’s furture.

The bottom line is that his career need not have started with this setback. They monitored his pitches, innings, and all of that. But what was not taken into account (or so it would seem) is that there is a huge difference in throwing in front of 5,000 fans in a minor league game, and then throwing in front of 50,000 fans on a national stage. Especially when the pitcher in question throws as hard as Starsburg does. Read the rest of this entry →

Manny Ramirez’s Early Goodbye to Dodgers 4

Posted on February 23, 2010 by Don Spieles

As February winds to a close, baseball enthusiasts across the country perk up.  Spring is in the air, even if the temperatures deny it, because there are signs of the baseball to come.  Pitchers and catchers report.  Lists of spring training invitees and late free agent signings pepper the sports pages.  And don’t forget the first prima donna move of the spring, this year provided by non other that Manny Ramirez when he stated upon showing up at Dodgers camp that he won’t be there next year.

Ramirez announced yesterday (more or less unprompted) that he will not be with the Dodgers in 2011.

“I already accomplished all the things I wanted to accomplish… for me, all this is just extra. I know I’m not going to be here next year, so I just want to enjoy myself.”

Aside from the timing being odd, one must wonder what might be in the mind of Ramirez with comments such as these.  Do the fans of the Dodgers, fans who have not had a World Series win since 1988, think that Ramirez has accomplished everything?  What of the Dodgers organization? While they pay him his $20 million for 2010, are they thinking that this is all just gravy?

MLB: NLDS-St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers

Ramizez showed his usual "layed back" priorities and set the tone for 2010 when in a press conference he stated "I already accomplished all the things I wanted to accomplish..."

The reality is that Ramirez time in Dodger blue has put “butts in the seats”.  He helped them get to the post season two years running.  But if Manny has accomplished everything he wanted to, what does that say about his priorities?

While sports opine about athletes who give stock, canned responses like, “All I’m concerned about is winning,” some might be temped to say that Ramirez’s honesty is refreshing.  Certainly being honest is a great virtue, but so is being professional.  The latter is a virtue that, once again, Manny has proven to be very short on.

over the years, Ramirez has turned himself into persona non grata, particularly in seasons where his contract is about to expire.  After coming to the Dodgers in a trade from Boston – a trade precipitated in part by Ramirez intentional (and unprofessional) lackluster performance – he exceeded expectations in the late summer of 2008.  The Dodgers technically held and option for 2009 that was being waived, so Manny was being a good boy.

Where as this year the free agent news has been dominated by Johnny Damon, this time last year the over-covered gun for hire was Ramirez.  He haggled with the Dodgers for months, rejecting offer after offer before finally signing a two year, $45 million deal at the eleventh hour.  Many speculated that the issue for Ramirez was he wanted not just more money, but more years.  After his behavior in Boston, as well as the in consideration of his age (37 last season), two years was all that L.A. was willing to do. Read the rest of this entry →

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