Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez took a verbal shot at manager Fredi Gonzalez yesterday that rocked Dave Trembley on his heels.
Trembley considers Gonzalez a good friend, so it already had become a sensitive issue. And it also must have stung when Ramirez, venting to reporters after being removed from the game for not hustling, belittled Gonzalez for never playing in the majors. Trembley is one of eight managers who never played professionally at any level.
“I think sometimes people say things that, maybe they should take a deep breath and think about before they say it,” Trembley said. “Fredi Gonzalez is a tremendous, tremendous baseball man. Your stripes are not earned in any other way than the respect you get from the amount of time, energy and effort you put into this game. I think it’s unfortunate that that kind of stuff gets put out there and gets put in headlines, because most guys that I know that do what I do, as I’ve tried to do in the last month here or six weeks, try to take the high road and not call out players.
“I find it rather interesting that when someone does something that’s not very responsible, that instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, they call out maybe some of the biographical things of someone else. To me, that’s rather cheap and, hey, that’s just the way society is these days. It’s a very passionate game and things are said, and that’s why I’ve always tried to have the 24-hour thing. Go home and think about it and if you have a problem the next day, come in and let’s talk about it.
“Everybody has feelings and nobody’s perfect. Like last night. You guys are just as tired of asking me the questions as I’m tired of answering them. But we all have to be decent to one another because you have a job and I have a job. And I understand that I’m required to come in here and talk to you all, even though, let’s be honest, I’d rather talk about when we win. You think I was going to bury (Ty) Wigginton? Wigginton’s meant more to this club than most any other guy on that team. But we’re all a team. We all love it, we all love the Orioles.
“Somebody (Ramirez) doesn’t hustle or does something wrong, maybe they should stand up and say, ‘Hey, I screwed it up.’ Don’t put the blame on Fredi Gonzalez and call him out because he didn’t play in the big leagues. Wow. And that’s a superstar. The game’s changed. You know why the game’s changed? Because of the people in it, that’s why.
“I admire our guys. I admire each and every one of them because, for the most part, with the exception of maybe two or three, they’ve all been standup guys in situations that have not been pleasant. I watched (Alfredo) Simon the other night. He’s probably never had that many people around him in a long, long time, and he handled himself as a man. I know I’m trying, sometimes probably not up to the standards of what everybody wants, but I’m going to try. It’s not easy.
“Ramirez, great ballplayer. Hit a grand slam against us last year, upper deck, ball over the plate, heck of a player. I wish for the sake of the game he hadn’t said what he said.”