I told you this would be entertaining.
After conducting a reintroductory press conference as manager of the Florida Marlins, 80-year-old Jack McKeon made a big splash with his first lineup card on Monday afternoon.
And yup, it's exactly the move you think it is: Shortstop Hanley Ramirez(notes) will be on the bench for Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels after McKeon said he "didn't like" the way that Ramirez was running during Sunday's game.
That would be the equivalent, of course, to the newbie prison inmate picking a fight with the biggest dude in the yard to earn some respect on his first day. McKeon is charged with turning around a Marlins team that has lost 18 of its 19 games and perhaps he thinks sending a message by sitting his .201-slumping superstar — who showed up to the ballpark late on Monday, by the way — is his best opening salvo.
Whether McKeon made this decision on reality or reputation, though, is up for debate because it's unclear that he actually saw Ramirez go 0 for 3 against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon.
When McKeon was asked if there was a reason Ramirez is not in the lineup he said: "Yeah, because I didn't put him in there." He added that he didn't like the way Ramirez was running on Sunday. McKeon was in North Carolina on Sunday at a softball game in which his granddaughter was playing.
Oh, dear, this isn't going to end well, is it?
Though McKeon probably means well, Ramirez hasn't a good history of getting along with his skipper. And something tells me that he's not going to take too kindly to being sent straight to the bench upon meeting his new manager. (Especially when he says his back is healthy and that he's ready to play. )
You'd like to say there's a method to McKeon's madness, but considering the outside world is preoccupied with making jokes about his age — he's now the second-oldest manager in major league history — I can't imagine the inside of that clubhouse is behaving much differently or giving him the respect his experience deserves. Unless the Marlins really dislike Hanley Ramirez and want to see him put in his place, this first move by McKeon could backfire in a big way.