Manny Ramirez’s time in Taiwan is over

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Brandon DuBreuil of the Manny Does Taiwan blog passes along some Asian news reports which say that Manny Ramirez has been removed from the roster of the Taiwanese team for which he has been playing and will leave the country on June 21. There are mixed reports about why he is leaving, with some saying he will be going to Japan. Whether that is to play for an NPB team or if Japan merely figures in his travel plans is unclear.

As DuBreuil noted in his feature on Ramirez in Taiwan over at Sports on Earth yesterday, Ramirez has been a boon to the EDA Rhinos team for which he has been playing and the Chinese Professional Baseball League as a whole. His team has gone from last place to near the top of the division since he’s arrived and attendance has increased a crazy 412% with TV ratings jumping 221%. Ramirez is near the top of the league in batting average, homers, RBIs and walks.

It’ll be interesting to see if his success in Taiwan has led to a chance to play in Japan. And if so, it’ll be interesting to see if he can still perform at the considerably higher level that the NPB represents.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?