Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Fredi Gonzales benches Henley Ramirez for love of the game; Trey Hillman and Kansas City fans -- take note...
Fredi Gonzales did what Trey Hillman could not.
Gonzales, Florida Marlins manager, stood up to lackadaisical play. He stood up to a player disrespecting the game of baseball. He asked (wish I could read lips...) is this the best you can do? Apparently he didn't like the answer.
So, he sat his shortstop on the bench. This, Trey Hillman could not do and Trey Hillman paid the price.
Trey Hillman patted his player on the back and assessed a fine. Kind of what your father might do if it was your first offense.
Admittedly, it took a lot more courage to sit an all-star shortstop like Mr. Ramirez than a weak hitting, barely engaged, shortstop like Mr. Betancort. The irony is this: It took Trey Hillman's firing to get Mr. Betancort's attention. How long this improved play will last is not hard to guess. All you have to do is look at the numbers that mark Mr. Betancort's recent history.
We're just four games into the hard charging Yuniesky Betancort. We'll see if he's still engaged this time next week.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ramierez did not take his benching as a way to re-engage with the game so maybe he needs to have his manager fired, as well. He didn't like being punished, he said. He was hurt. He had been struck on the shin. (Recall Bob Gibson finishing an inning with a broken leg... ) His manager had never played in the Big Leagues, he didn't understand.
Understand what? That good enough is good enough?
-- Lofflin, thinking if I write about modern baseball players long enough I'll learn to spell "lackadaisical" without the spell checker...
Photo/ Associated Press
PPS: Many, if not most, Big League managers were catchers in the Big Leagues. Henley, are you sure they would understand why you only give the game 25% playing hurt? My goodness, they played hurt every day. And played hard. Anybody want to make a list of former Big League players who might not be more understanding than Fredi Gonzales? Brett? Gibson? Boggs? Shilling? Mantle? Bob Cerv, who hit 38 homeruns, many with his jaw wired shut...?