- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
ST. LOUIS -- Manny Ramirez offended a whole lot of folks who work under the Major League Baseball umbrella during his career.
OK, more than a lot. Maybe hundreds. Maybe thousands.
Start with Jack McCormick, the Boston Red Sox’s traveling secretary, who was physically accosted by Ramirez because McCormick couldn't come through on a last-minute request.
How about the employees of a St. Petersburg hotel, who were left to clean up the damage that Ramirez did to his room -- something so offensive that the Red Sox were asked to vacate the premises in the middle of the night. Or the clubhouse attendants whom Ramirez stiffed repeatedly, instead of just doing what every other player does and paying his dues. Or those teammates who constantly covered for him.
Or Frank McCourt, the former Los Angeles Dodgers owner who signed Ramirez to a two-year, $45 million deal following the 2008 season, only to see Ramirez immediately be suspended for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and then finish out his time with the Dodgers as a shell of the superhero he had been before. Maybe that doesn't meet the legal definition of fraud, and certainly McCourt is not a sympathetic figure, but Ramirez essentially took money under false pretenses.
Or how about John Henry, the Red Sox owner who signed Ramirez's checks for years, only to watch the outfielder appear to stop competing early in the summer of 2008, in what seemed to be an effort to force Boston to trade him so that he could get a new contract. Ramirez's behavior was so egregious that the Red Sox felt compelled to deal him, certain that he would continue to sabotage their efforts to win through the working definition of passive-aggressiveness.
Somewhere near the top of the list of those he wronged -- maybe at the very top of the list -- was Theo Epstein, the former general manager of the Red Sox. He saw the absolute worst of Manny being Manny, and often was the one left to deal with the fallout; it was Epstein who had to arrange the trade of Ramirez to the Dodgers, in which the Red Sox had to kick in dollars to get rid of one of the best hitters in the big leagues. If anybody has reason to never forgive Ramirez for his behavior, to hold a lifetime grudge, it might be Epstein.
So there's something to be drawn from the fact that it's Epstein, who now oversees baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, who has hired Ramirez to be a minor league player-coach -- and to be clear, this is much, much, much more about Ramirez being a coach than a player.
ST. LOUIS -- Manny Ramirez offended a whole lot of folks who work under the Major League Baseball umbrella during his career.OK, more than a lot. Maybe hundreds.