The Internet peanut gallery has been roasting Hanley Ramirez(notes) all day long, and for good reason. Even if you weren't put off by his lackadaisical route to the ball on Monday night, you probably didn't like his unapologetic attitude upon showing up at the ballpark on Tuesday.
But I'm a little surprised at how much of a free pass that Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez seems to be getting. The lone exception that I've seen is David Pinto of Baseball Musings. He says that the situation was a complicated one that wasn't handled well by Gonzalez.Here's what Pinto writes:
"If Hanley says he's hurt, Gonzalez takes him out of the game. If Hanley says he's not hurt, Gonzalez takes him out for loafing.
"Let me suggest that what Fredi should have done is remove Hanley Ramirez from the game, then tell the press he was clearly hurt. After the game, Fredi takes Hanley into his office to talk to him about the play, and if Hanley admits to not hustling, chew him out. Both sides have handled this situation poorly."
Gonzalez is the closest thing that baseball has to a strict high school football coach and that kind of makes sense when you consider that the Marlins' roster is forever being turned over with young talent. His approach is more likely to work in a clubhouse full of relative newcomers than one with a room full of veterans.
But no matter the relatively young age of the team, professional sports also feature superstars and the egos that go along with them. That's just a simple reality in 2010, even with the Florida Marlins, and the best managers and coaches are often the ones that handle those fragile stars with care. The job description requires a constant give and take.
Gonzalez has had his share of run-ins with Ramirez, so perhaps it has become impossible for him to play the balancing act with his shortstop and his attitude any more.
And from my viewpoint, Gonzalez had to take a firm stance after seeing Ramirez what was probably the least urgent approach to a baseball that I've ever seen. That public display is a lot more difficult to overlook than showing up to the ballpark a few minutes late or a violation of the team's dress code.
Still, I can see from the side that will argue that it's probably not best to leave the cornerstone of your franchise out to dry as publicly as Gonzalez did.
If not for the overall health of the team, for the health of one's future employment. (A manager, after all, is a lot more replaceable than the most-talented shortstop in the game.)
What do you think? Did Gonzalez take the right approach in calling his star out?