Former MLB infielder Morgan Ensberg, who played against Manny Ramirez several times, is not happy with the way the slugger cheated the game and then retired before accepting a 100-game suspension:
How could you? You coward! You are a fake and a cheat and now you want to retire? No way! You get back out there and you take the pain. You stand in front of the cameras and tell us that you are a fake. Tell us that you only care about money.
Ensberg backs away from those initial comments a bit in this stream-of-consciousness post on his personal blog, but the words are pretty strong throughout and far more scathing than some of the reaction we’ve heard from different players and managers still in the league. It’s a worthwhile read for baseball fans seeking an opinionated player’s true perspective. Ensberg ends with this:
“When my kids ask me about baseball and the Steroid Era, I will look at them and say, ‘You know you don’t have to cheat to make it in life. All you have to do is try as hard as you can.'”
Ensberg had 574 hits and 110 homers over the course of an eight-year career. He retired at the age of 32.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.