Scott Miller on Manny Ramirez’s presence on the Oakland A’s: “unconscionable”

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Last week Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com made a series of tweets excoriating the Athletics for signing Manny Ramirez. He called the move “reprehensible” and said it was evidence that we lived in a “twisted world.”  He then promised to tear Manny and the A’s a new one when he visited their camp in Phoenix and wrote about him. It was not the typical thing you see from an experienced reporter and columnist.

After I wrote a post about that I had an email exchange with Miller. It was very pleasant, as Miller is an extremely polite and pleasant man. Not just my opinion, by the way. Others I know who have met him or corresponded with him have said the same thing and I have no doubt about it. Anyway, we didn’t come to any grand agreement in the exchange apart from us both agreeing that Twitter is odd.

Miller did say, however, that when he did meet Ramirez at A’s camp that he would give the story a fair shake, listen to what he had to say and what the A’s had to say about it all and that his resulting column would not be based exclusively on preconceived notions and his first, somewhat intemperate reaction to the Ramirez signing.

Well, Miller’s column is up, and it seems that Manny didn’t do anything to change his mind.

Indeed, Miller’s reaction was the same, if not even more extreme regarding the morals and ethics of signing Ramirez.  It’s “unconscionable,” Miller says. He concludes his story by saying “Right is right, and wrong is wrong. And this is wrong from every angle.”

Except there’s nothing in the story, complete with an interview with Ramirez, which explains why Miller feels this way apart from the fact that Manny has, in the past, been a serial jackass. Ramirez talks at length about how he has found religion and how it has set him straight (and, implicitly, how the way he behaved before was wrong).  He talks about a fresh start and trying to do right.  In the course of the interview, Ramirez is delivered flowers from “someone in Boston” — where Ramirez is supposed to be hated, if you believe the anti-Manny crowd — and Miller disapproves.

One anonymous player — and it’s not clear if it’s an A’s player, but I’ll assume it is — disapproves of Manny’s past transgressions. Those on the record have no problem with it. There is no information presented or argument made in the article that this is a bad move for the A’s financially or competitively. The entirety of Miller’s disapproval of Manny Ramirez  on the Oakland A’s is that he’s Manny Ramirez.

Which is fine. It’s Miller’s column and Miller’s opinion. But I just don’t see what, based on the nature of all of the men who have played before Manny Ramirez and still play this game despite being less-than-savory characters, makes the A’s signing of Ramirez so much worse than any number of other signings. Josh Leuke pled no contest to false imprisonment with violence after being charged with rape (and lied to the police and the Seattle Mariners about it).  Brett Myers punched his wife. There are a bunch of players, coaches and executives who have been arrested for drunk driving. These are all far worse things than testing positive for PEDs.

So why is Ramirez so bad? What is it about him that sets Miller — and others, I’ll grant — off when it comes to him?  I don’t know.  I really don’t know why Manny is such a lightning rod compared to others who have screwed up and annoyed us.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.