Making Contact: Manny fans being Manny fans

Making Contact: Manny fans being Manny fans
By Ryne Sandberg, Yahoo Sports
May 19, 2005

Ryne Sandberg
Yahoo Sports
Yahoo! Sports' MLB analyst Ryne Sandberg steps to the plate every week to respond to readers' emails.

To be considered for next week's "Making Contact" column, be sure to include your first and last names as well as your city and state.

Ryne's comments are in italics.


MANNY AND COOPERSTOWN ("4-for-4: Earning Pinstripes," May 17, 2005)

If Manny Ramirez isn't a HOF'er, then you better find a hammer and a chisel and get your plaque out of Cooperstown right quick. Ramirez is one of the few sluggers of this era who is not under the cloud of suspicion for steroid use, not to mention that his career average is well above many of his contemporaries.

Bill Rowett
St. Petersburg, Fla.


Before coming to Boston, Manny Ramirez had 236 home runs. Of the 123 that he's hit from 2002 to 2005, 66 have been hit at Fenway Park (I couldn't find home/road splits for 2001). You wrote he "has taken advantage of Fenway Park," when this is CLEARLY NOT TRUE. Fenway – had you ever played there, you'd know – is NOT A HOME RUN PARK but a doubles park. Manny's home runs – just like any hit at Fenway – are fully legitimate by any measure.

Josh Royner
Washington, D.C.


You're dead wrong about Manny Ramirez. … He is one of the five best right-handed hitters in the game along with Albert Pujols, Miguel Tejada, Alex Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero. I think it's a shame that someone who is second on the all-time home run list for second basemen is questioning a player who will easily attain 500-plus home runs once his career is over. I can't believe you would even question Manny's career results. What a shame!

Jeremy Spittle
Boston, Mass.


In your comments about Manny, you compare him to Jim Rice and Andre Dawson. I struggle with that comparison. First, Rice only hit 382 home runs but he did finish with a .298 average. Dawson hit 438 but could only muster a .279 career batting average. Coming into this season, Manny was a .316 career hitter. Not only that, but Manny is widely regarded as one of the best hitters in the game, period. Granted his defense and baserunning are liabilities. If he stays healthy for another two to three years, he will easily attain the high 400s in HRs, possibly 500, and will finish, at worst, as a solid .300 career hitter. I don't think Rice and Dawson are even in Manny's league from that perspective.

Brian Mullock
Charlestown, Mass.

My point was: If Manny Ramirez were to finish his career right now, he'd have similar stats to Rice and Dawson in my opinion. I also mentioned he has a chance to play another six or seven years and go way over the 500 home run plateau, which would put him in another class.


MILLER TIME

You said in your column that Lee Mazzilli deserves more credit for the Baltimore Orioles' great start and surprising pitching. Although I believe Mazzilli is doing a superb job, I believe the bulk of the credit should go to the O's pitching coach, Ray Miller. When Miller took over in the middle of last season, Baltimore was already on its way to another losing season, but the pitching improved almost overnight with his presence. By staying with the team for 2005, Miller was able to teach the young staff his way from Day 1 of spring training and the results are obvious. The offense has been great this year, as it was last year, but the team ERA is impressive by anyone's standards.

Joe Harman
Colorado Springs, Colo.


Don't you think Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller deserves more credit in terms of the way some of the O's young starters have come along? While Lee Mazzilli has been good in terms of matchups and strategy, the O's rotation basically stunk last year until they brought Ray Miller back. This year under Miller's tutelage, Erik Bedard, Daniel Cabrera, and even Sir Sidney Ponson and Bruce Chen are pitching well beyond what everyone thought was possible from them. I say give credit where credit is due.

Willis Bilderback
Barrington, R.I.


RANKLED BY RANKINGS ("Power Numbers: Front-runners" May 16, 2005)

In your opinion, are the San Diego Padres the hottest team in baseball right now? Going into Wednesday's games, the New York Yankees had won 10 straight, but San Diego had won 15 of its last 18 games. A lot of those victories were rallies late in the game, which tells me they don't give up. Also, does Sandy Alderson have anything to do with these recent performances?

Thomas Ashdown
San Diego, Calif.


I can't believe you left the Padres out of your top 10. The Padres have a better record than a number of the teams in your top 10 and are a younger group also. You call them "on the rise" and give credit to CEO Sandy Alderson. The team is the same for the most part that left spring training. He may have an impact later on, but there haven't been any changes yet. You need better info.

Len
San Diego, Calif.

The Dodgers lost their lead in the NL West during a tough pair of back-to-back series vs. the Cardinals and Braves, during which they dropped six of eight. I still like their overall pitching staff compared to the Padres' good offensive lineup. I picked the Padres as wild card contenders this year but still think that the Dodgers will regain the division lead sometime soon.


ASK RYNE

I am a junior on the varsity baseball team here in LeSueur, and we recently beat the No. 2-ranked team in the state. But we've lost to two of the worst teams in our conference. How do you prepare mentally for a game and how do we manage to stay strong for the upcoming playoffs?

Mike
LeSueur, Minn.

I never took any team for granted. Against bad teams, you have to continue doing what you do well. Get on base, have good at-bats. Get key hits. And the pitching and defense have to do their jobs. In baseball, if any one of these facets of the game breaks down you have a chance to lose.



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Updated on Friday, May 20, 2005 1:58 am, EDT

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