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Field of schemes

Posted by Bob Lobel October 16, 2008 06:04 AM

Manny Ramirez is so far ahead of his time. Eighty-nine years ahead, to be precise. Remember the eight players from the 1919 Black Sox who threw the World Series for money? Perhaps one of the original Black Sox came back as Manny. "Shoeless Joe," back as "Clueless Manny." Black Sox outfielder Oscar Felsch, known as "Happy," back as "Dopey."

Well, the boys are back in town, and they have a new teammate. Keep in mind that the band of eight hatched the plan to throw the Series right here in Boston. Ironically, teammate No. 9 did the same thing. And for the same reasons. It was dissatisfaction with $15,000 back in 1919 and displeasure with $20 million to $40 million in 2008. Their strategy: Play less -- for more pay. And, 89 years later, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Yeah, different circumstances, but the motive is the same. After all, no two bank robberies are identical. It doesn't make 'em different just because they are not the same. Get it? Well, get this:

None of the original eight was found guilty. Nor was the ninth. The eight were banned from baseball and never considered for anything like the Hall of Fame, which, at that time, didn't exist. And by all accounts, "Say it ain't so, Joe," might have made it.

Fast-forward to a new super Hall of Fame ballot before the Baseball Writers of America. (By the way, and it's not only my observation, I believe the electors would have trouble passing over the famous Hall of Fame character clause.) Here is the super ballot of villains before us today:

  • Pete Rose
  • Barry Bonds
  • Roger Clemens
  • Manny Ramirez

My poll question: If you had to leave one out of the Hall, which one would it be? Three get in, one stays out. Well, I am not hiding my vote. The one I keep out is the former one-tool Boston left fielder, now a five-tool LA Dodger, who is 89 years ahead of his time. You have to know where this is going by now. I am not pleading for any reinstatement of the eight from 1919. I am making a case for the ninth of 2008.

Rose gambled on games. Did they affect the outcome? We don't know. Bonds is, by all accounts, a narcissistic and unpleasant fellow with great baseball ability, who may or may not have lied to a grand jury. He may well have injected his way to the top of the game. But I was never under the impression that he injected anything to help him perform worse and, perhaps, help his team to lose.

Clemens. Embarrassing? Absolutely. Lying to Congress? Maybe. But if the needles fit, they have to acquit! He did what he did to enhance his performance and thus that of his team.

Sure, cheating is cheating. But cheating to win is a whole lot different than cheating to lose. Ask the Black Sox.

If the baseball writers let Manny Ramirez into the Hall of Fame, they need to ignore the character clause. Character is the issue, and we can't forget it. Agent 99 can't hit enough home runs, get enough RBI or assists, or steal enough bases to make this go away.

He dogged his way out of Boston. Even the Westminster Kennel Club would flush him out in a second.

Hey, none of us saw anybody lie, place a bet, or inject anything. But 38,000 of us, on a regular basis, could be called as witnesses to something much worse: purposeful, wanton, and selfish disregard for team, owners, fans, and the game.

Manny Ramirez, potential Hall of Famer? I don't think so. His place in history was 89 years ago with a group that thought the way he thought and acted the way he acted. Manny didn't just take a leak behind that Green Monster. He took a leak on everybody in front of it. You don't have to be from Boston to know that to be true.

Veteran TV personality Bob Lobel is an OT columnist and can be reached at otfeedback@globe.com

39 comments so far...
  1. thats the amazing part einstein if he has been dogin it,imagine what his numbers would be like if he gave it his all through out his career.He has averaged .314 36 115 for 13 years.Im sick of these people acting like athletes have to be this perfect
    figure because they make millions,their still human.Go on talent not personal problems.

    Posted by Anonymous October 16, 08 08:50 AM
  1. Interesting parallel Bob...it states your case very adequately. Personally, however, I've moved past this Manny issue, although it's quite obvious that many fans (and reporters) will refuse to let it die. We all know that Manny WILL be enshrined into the HOF, regardless of his "character" issues. As for the other three nominees, I'm not quite so sure.

    Posted by Ghost of Johnny Most October 16, 08 09:26 AM
  1. Wait, my head hurts. 89 years ahead of his time or 89 years behind his time? Because if he's 89 years ahead of his time, then the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 took place in 2097. Ok, now I get it. Wait, no. I don't.

    And as far as comparing Manny to Clemens, Rose and Bonds… sir, you are disrespecting yourself and the 29 great years you gave to Boston. Don't start saying things just to keep yourself in the headlines. It's obvious and sad.

    Posted by Rich October 16, 08 09:30 AM
  1. Uh, I think that should be "89 years behind the times" not "89 year ahead of his time". "Ahead of his time" means doing something way before anyone will ever do what he's doing. Sheesh.

    Posted by Huh? October 16, 08 09:33 AM
  1. Super - Jim

    Posted by Jim logie October 16, 08 09:39 AM
  1. Over Reacting. Even when he was still in Boston, his job was his job and he did what they wanted him to do when he got off the bench, hit the ball and run after it. He might of been a little childish and some of his actions were really foolish but we have all seen it before. From baseball to all other sports. But to go to the extreme and put him up there with the Black Sox’s? Too far! Throw any professional athlete up on your list than that is not happy with his contract. You might as well be as childish as he is to make such a claim. Manny deserves to make it to the Hall Of Fame, its seems easy for you and all to forget all the years he had in Boston and one of the main reason they won the WS for the first time in a long time. So Don’t say he doesn’t go out there to win cause he has and still is!

    Posted by Aris October 16, 08 09:40 AM
  1. Super - The globe reporters are so right-Jim

    Posted by Jim logue-Wolfville Nova Scotia October 16, 08 09:41 AM
  1. Your ramblings are incoherent.

    Posted by Kong October 16, 08 09:48 AM
  1. Hey Homer,

    Using your criteria, there's another "dog" in town. Of course, he wears a football uniform and has his Manny Moment in Oakland (and Minnesota).

    Posted by Phil October 16, 08 09:54 AM
  1. The statistics simply do not back up your claims Mr. Lobel.

    Posted by Don Hyslop October 16, 08 10:15 AM
  1. You're an idiot. Manny is first ballot, and a top 5 right handed hitter of all time. Deal with it.

    Posted by cxg October 16, 08 11:03 AM
  1. Hi Bob;Great column I could not agree more and I miss your insight and wit on WBZ.

    Posted by William Q!uinn October 16, 08 11:07 AM
  1. What the hey are trying to say, Bobbo? By the shape and sound of this drivel, you might consider night classes--English 101 as a starter--or getting yourself a speechwriter. Palin's would seem to suit you.

    Posted by John Griswold October 16, 08 11:14 AM
  1. What the heck are you talking about.

    You used so many 'inside baseball' allegories and allusions that I'm clueless as to what the heck you talking about.

    Try simple (short) english sentences in the future.....please.

    Posted by Todd Dickinson October 16, 08 11:18 AM
  1. i'm with you bob lobel!! manny screwed the red sox and they should sue him for 1/2 the pay he recieved while in a red sox uniform.what about it?? will it be done?

    Posted by Tim C. vt. October 16, 08 11:45 AM
  1. Bob,
    Please, get some rest. Perhaps a warm bowl of oatmeal would go down nicely. Enjoy your bathrobe, flannel P.J.'s and sheepskin slippers. You worked for a long time. Manny Ramirez, in no way, shape, or form, deserves to be lumped in with Clemens, Rose, and Bonds. Your argument is delusional. Please, enjoy your retirement, you've certainly earned it.

    Posted by LJ Sandwich October 16, 08 12:02 PM
  1. BRAVO! My son used to rag on Jose Canseco when he was with the Sox and yell at the TV "How much more will it cost for you to run ALL THE WAY to first base?" I've never been to California but I wonder if I'd be faster if I moved out there, just like Manny did!

    Posted by TomH October 16, 08 12:03 PM
  1. Bob Lobel has no idea what he's talking about, nor has he any credibility as a legitimate sports reporter/analyst/talking head. Boston has to get over this "holier than thou" and "respect the game" nonsense. To insinuate that Manny Ramirez is more dishonorable because he was clearly unhappy with his situation as opposed to people who used steroids to enhance their performance is just silly. And stop kidding yourself with this ridiculous notion that the only reason Clemens or Bonds cheated was because they wanted so badly to win. Their motivations were just as selfish and greedy as Manny's; to give themselves the opportunity to cash in on the ginormous contracts and endorsements that their gaudy statistics would get them.

    Posted by Diño October 16, 08 12:06 PM
  1. Bob,I am a longtime Manny supporter, defended all his craziness over his time here many times. I was also an accomplished ballplayer in college and US Army. I have to agree with you 100%, he just turned on his team is all you needed to say, forget us fans he screwed his teammates for his own self interest. If I had a vote I'd leave his name out as well as much as I hate Roger and Barry, they were trying to win games for their team while they cheated, Manny lost games. 

    Posted by Arthur S. October 16, 08 12:29 PM
  1. wouldn't that be 89 years behind the times.
    aren't we done with manny yet? at least for one more day the red sox are still playing and he isn't. can't that day be manny free?

    Posted by blah October 16, 08 01:50 PM
  1. Get over it and wait til next year

    Posted by dodger blue October 16, 08 02:32 PM
  1. OMG...after your Manny rants and inside "scoops" on the radio were shot down, I never thought we'd hear from you again. Where's your pride, man...

    This article is just too dumb...

    Posted by Big O October 16, 08 02:50 PM
  1. Darby Conley was right.

    Posted by Tiki October 16, 08 03:39 PM
  1. Bob,
    People just don't get it, the guy dogged his way out of town at the exspense of his teammates. Even in an LA interview he told the national audience 'sometimes I jog it out " lol he is a dog ........lets forget him and if we cant get him out of the hall don't vote his ass a share of this year.

    Posted by arthur s. October 16, 08 03:42 PM
  1. Do you still get a vote Bob?

    Posted by Neil October 16, 08 04:07 PM
  1. Lobel. Embarrassing? Heck ya.

    Posted by Matt October 16, 08 04:25 PM
  1. The orderlies shouldn't let you near a computer anymore.

    Posted by Rick Mc October 16, 08 04:27 PM
  1. That is the stupidest thing I have ever read by anyone in the Boston media, and that is saying something

    Posted by Oh Boy October 16, 08 04:43 PM
  1. Honestly I think the whole thing boils down to.....he just wanted a few days off. These guys have to work everyday. Yeah you retire at age 38 with millions and still get a few months off a year, but I think the everyday grind got to Manny and he just wanted a few days off. Obviously he couldn't get this so he took it upon himself to do it by dogging.

    Posted by Chris Barry October 16, 08 04:56 PM
  1. Bob who? Is this the guy who used to be Howdy Doody's sidekick? Has to be.

    Posted by Pete Runnels October 16, 08 06:52 PM
  1. what about ty cobb ? He was a known racist and he's one of cooperstown major attractions , leave manny alone , admit it you love when the guy comes to the plate baseball needs more colorful dudes so you wont hit the remote so much during 9 innings

    Posted by RK October 16, 08 07:01 PM
  1. This article is absolutely ridiculus

    Posted by Benjamin Puterbaugh October 17, 08 12:59 AM
  1. That's one of the dumbest collection of thoughts ever to be thought

    Posted by Tax October 17, 08 09:56 AM
  1. Bob is right on ... how can anyone be for a ballplayer who wouldn't visit the injured soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital when almost all of the rest of the team members did ...

    Posted by joe doakes October 17, 08 06:23 PM
  1. Author deserves a cry baby of the year award

    Posted by Denny Willits October 18, 08 04:26 PM
  1. Even after the WS titles you people desperately wanted and finally have, you still maintain that loser attitude. Holy Crap. boo-freakin-hoo Boston! Boo-freakin-hoo! Typical: can't just say your team didn't cut it, always have to have that scapecoat STILL. Can't blame The Babe, Buckner, The Yankees, Grady Little....so you HAVE to find something. Now it's Manny. PATHETIC AND TYPICAL.

    Posted by JS October 20, 08 12:37 PM
  1. Geesus!~ The guy quit on his team, (remember the at bat v. Rivera where he watched three strikes) assaulted a 64 year old employee and raped the letter and spirit of a contract he voluntarily negotiated and signed!!! He's colorful? So is Dutch Schultz! He needed a day off? Yup he really showed the effects of the grueling regimen he was put under in Boston when he got to LA. This is not ridiculous, its not dumb and you geniuses ought to be thankful you were not bilked for 20 million. As for the Wankee JS -your stadium and your franchise is in ruins--boohoo you has been!

    Posted by JD October 22, 08 08:26 AM
  1. Good call Bob! and to add:

    If Manny wasn't just driven by money, we would all be celebrating a Game 1 win in the World Series tonight!

    Hopefully the rest of the league figures it out and no one else gets held hostage by Manny in the future.

    Unfortunately he will most likely get in to the HoF, but hopefully the voters remember what he did to the Red Sox in 2008 and he has to wait a few years to get in. Like he'd care anyway.. Is there any money involved in getting into the Hall?

    Posted by Avid fan October 22, 08 09:29 AM
  1. Bob, you are right on with you "glass houses" article. I think the commissioner comes off looking foolish with his "shamed the game" comments. I would be willing to bet that over the years, most ballplayers did what they could to get an edge. If that meant pine tar or performance enhancing drugs (or booze and women for the Babe), they did it. Keep up the good work!

    Posted by Keith Michon February 13, 09 06:34 AM
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Charles P. Pierce writes for the Boston Globe Magazine. A long-time sportswriter and columnist, Pierce is a frequent guest on national TV and radio.
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