Manny Ramirez arrived at A’s camp in Phoenix today. After hitting several home runs in batting practice, he addressed the media. Among the things he had to say:
On the one hand: this is really cool. Though I’m not personally religious, I have seen how people can turn to God as a means of straightening their life out. Whether there really is some sort of divine intervention at work or, rather, it’s just about finding something — anything — with which and on which to focus their lives, I have no idea. But it can work. And given the sort of trouble Manny was having in his life in his career and with his family, good for him for finding something to turn things around.
On the other hand: poor God. I know He is all loving and all powerful, but it’s probably been some time since He’s had someone who can try His patience like Manny can. Manny is probably like that kid in Catholic school who asks if God can create a rock so large that even He Himself can’t move it, only x1000 and weirder.
“Are you there God? It’s me, Manny.”
“Um, sure, Manny. One moment. I just have to see a guy about a thing.”
[God runs away]
Here’s what Manny had to say to the media today, courtesy of CSNBayArea.com.
Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.
Today the Nationals fired Williams and his entire coaching staff following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.
Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.
His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.
Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.
Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.
Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.
At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.
However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:
That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.
Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.