I don’t always enjoy being a Mets fan, but I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to be a Florida Marlins fan. Yes, they’ve won two more World Series than the Mets have over the last 15 years, but the binge-and-purge cycle and sub-Wilpon charmlessness of their ownership is kind of a bummer, at least as seen from all the way up the East Coast. That said, I’m enjoying the profane and hilariously off-message/on-the-record kerfuffle that’s blown up around Hanley Ramirez shuffling after a ground ball in the second inning of Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks and subsequently being yanked from said game for said shuffling. And I’m not enjoying it in a schadenfreude-y way — again: Mets fan, so baseball schadenfreude only runs in my direction — so much as enjoying the spectacle of a bunch of grown-ass people actually speaking their minds into reporters’ notepads.
Whether Ramirez actually dogged it after the grounder in question is not something I can say for certain — I can’t find video of the play, though I did suffer through a couple minutes of John Kruk talking about it at ESPN — but it also seems to be beyond debate, judging by the coverage. Most importantly, Manager Fredi Gonzalez obviously thought Ramirez wasn’t hustling; pinch-hitter/team leader (oh?) Wes Helms thought so, and suggested in an earnest and malaprop-y speech that Hanley apologize to his teammates for it. “I was in Atlanta when the (John) Rocker thing went on,” Helms said. “He was made to do the apology, but when he apologized to the whole team and held a 30-minute meeting, it gives you a little sense of easement.”
Judging by the salty, minimalist responses that Ramirez offered to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, though, Helms might have to check with his local zoning board if he wants an easement. Because Hanley’s not apologizing for shit until… well, he’s not apologizing. “It™s his team,” Ramirez said. “[Gonzalez] does whatever he (expletive) wants. There™s nothing I can do about it. It™s brutal. Ramirez then went on to patch things up nicely:
[Capozzi]Do you want some time to get past it?
To talk to Fredi.
œOh yeah? I™m just gonna play the game¦
…Do you plan to apologize to the team?
One of your teammates suggested an apology might be good if you did that.
They thought that you were dogging it chasing that ball.
œWe got a lot of people dogging it after ground balls. They don™t apologize.”
Obviously, this doesn’t bode terribly well for the Marlins or their fans. But as someone who has spent a lot of time listening to Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya communicate entirely in ungrammatical nonsense koans for the last couple of years and cheered for a relentlessly on-message and uninspiring group of players — to the point where Jeff Francoeur’s willingness to smile and make simple jokes has the New York media describing him as some combination of Dizzy Dean and Jesus Christ — it’s at least kind of bracing to see everyone involved here acting like actual human beings. Albeit very pissed-off human beings.
UPDATE: Here’s the video, and Han-Ram’s loafing like a motherfucker; thanks to commenter Bez for the link