Friday, September 04, 2009

An Uggla Incident in Florida

Perhaps you've heard about the ugly little incident in south Florida between Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla? If not, you can catch up here. The linked article is typical of the media reaction to the incident. The typical take is that Ramirez is blindly talented, but doesn't always focus and work hard. The typical take is that this was another example of his teammates goading him on the greatness. That's a bunch of malarkey, frankly. This is a case of petty jealousy and nothing more.

The incident apparently started when Ramirez pulled himself from a game because his hamstring hurt. Apparently, he told his manager he could play and when a member of the press asked him about it, Ramirez told the scribe that his teammates expected him to play. Uggla overhearing the exchange said he was one of them. Ramirez immediately pointed that out as showing him up in public. Which was the correct reaction. Uggla, who later claimed that he loved Ramirez and was just trying to help him, then made an ugly comment about the money that Ramirez makes. Read the linked article. It's all there.

First of all, if Uggla was trying to help his wayward teammate, he should have done it in private. Secondly, if he was so intent on helping, would he have used such a petty thing about Ramirez already having his money? It doesn't add up.

And why does the press buy into this stuff? Is it because Uggla and Wes Helms (we'll get to him in a minute) are white and Ramirez is a dark Hispanic? That must mean that Ramirez is on the lazy side, right? That must mean that he's immature, right? Oh please.

All the Fan knows is that Ramirez has been on base 224 times and Uggla 196. Ramirez has 267 total bases and Uggla has 210. Ramirez has eight errors and Uggla eleven. The only categories that Uggla has over Ramirez is games played (by five), homers and walks. Everything else is all Ramirez. Let's put it another way. Say they both worked for an ice cream stand. Ramirez is supposedly lazy and not as committed as Uggla. Even so, Ramirez makes 267 ice cream cones to Uggla's 210 even though Uggla TRIES so much harder. This Fan still thinks he'd give Ramirez the raise and not Uggla.

And what of Wes Helms? The article states that he got on Hanley's case a while back and that he works with Ramirez on his focus and such. Excuse the Fan for wondering, but Helms has a 90 OPS+ and a 93+ OPS for his career. Why, exactly is he the de facto leader and expert on stellar play and focus?

Call this for what it was. It was a moment of petty disgruntlement by Dan Uggla over Ramirez's talent and the money he is making. That's all this was. And please understand the back sweep of the press here. Helms and Uggla are white. There is a press bias that white players try harder and are more professional. That's bull. There are hard working white guys and lazy white guys just like there are hard working Hispanics and lazy Hispanics.

Ramirez has improved his defense tremendously. He's already the second best hitter in the National League. He'll be around long after Uggla and Helms are retired and coaching or managing in the minors somewhere. If Ramirez was a punk and a slacker, he wouldn't be better in the field than he was and consistently improving as a hitter. The guy's hammy hurt, what do his teammates want him to do, tear it completely? It's all bull and the press should know better.


eyebleaf said...

In the end, I think it will make them tighter. I like Uggla. And Hanley. They're both solid players.

Josh Borenstein said...

Uggla and Helms have no business criticizing Hanley. Until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, you don't know what they're dealing with. Hanley was limping yesterday after his pinch-hit RBI single.