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Marlins take a stand by sitting their star

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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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I just hope Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was paying attention.

This was his manager’s finest hour.

Fredi Gonzalez was right to yank shortstop Hanley Ramirez for loafing on Monday night.

He would be right to bench Ramirez indefinitely and even suspend him for his clueless, disrespectful comments toward his manager and teammates on Tuesday.

After viewing the offending document — video of Ramirez’s failure to run hard after a ball he accidentally kicked into the left-field corner — I’m willing to concede that his sore left shin might have restricted him from making a better effort.

But if that’s the case, Ramirez is still guilty — guilty of selfishness for remaining in the game, a detriment to his team, when he was unable to perform to the best of his abilities.

Maybe now Gonzalez finally will escape Loria’s crosshairs.

The manager gained immense respect from his other 24 players for yanking Ramirez, the team’s best and highest-paid player, in the middle of a game.

Ramirez sat again Tuesday and the Marlins somehow survived without him, defeating the Diamondbacks, 8-0.

A little message to Mr. Ramirez, perhaps?

When Ramirez told reporters Tuesday, “We got a lot of people dogging it after groundballs,” he was only indicting himself.

Ramirez, 26, should set an example, as Derek Jeter does for the Yankees, as Albert Pujols does for the Cardinals.

Play hard. Respect the game.

It’s not so difficult.

Ramirez had already alienated himself from many of his teammates with his petulant behavior. His comments Tuesday might make him completely persona non grata in the Marlins’ clubhouse.

• Ramirez on Gonzalez’s failure to recognize his injury: “He doesn’t understand that. He never played in the big leagues.”

Ah, the inexperience card.

POLL

  • Was Fredi Gonzalez right to bench Hanley Ramirez?
    • Yes, Ramirez is a spoiled brat
    • No, the team needs him
    • What does Fredi know? He never played.

Disgruntled players frequently invoke this tired rationale about managers who possess little or no major-league playing experience.

Well, managers from Little League to the minor leagues would have taken the same action as Gonzalez. In fact, they could have acted long before Gonzalez did; a major-league manager has to worry about bruising a superstar’s fragile ego.

• Ramirez on his teammates: “We’ve got 24 more guys out there. Hopefully, they can do the things I can.”

Actually, they can’t, and Ramirez knows it. But the game is not simply about ability. The true superstars are those who combine a relentless focus and tireless work ethic with immense talent.

• Ramirez on whether he would apologize to his teammates: “For what?”

For disrespecting them. For disrespecting his sport. For disrespecting himself.

Ramirez is still fairly young. He can still mature. Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, 27, addressed a different and more serious problem last offseason, undergoing three months of alcohol rehabilitation. He seems better for it.

If Ramirez is smart, this will be his wakeup call.

Until Monday, he had played in relative anonymity, putting up monster numbers before small crowds in a largely indifferent market. People will pay more attention to him now, waiting to see if he commits other misdeeds.

Just like that, Ramirez has become the latest member of one of the most unpopular species on the planet, the ever-expanding collection of spoiled millionaire athletes.

He lost his manager. He lost his teammates.

He is all alone.


Tagged: Marlins, Hanley Ramirez

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