|Aramis Ramirez last spring at Fitch|
After reading Gordon Wittenmyer’s article where he talked with former Cub third baseman Aramis Ramirez about A-Ram’s career and time with the Cubs, it is clear that Ramirez still doesn’t quite get it. The ‘it’ that he doesn’t get is that baseball and winning are not only about putting up numbers. It’s also about desire, work ethic, hustle, and doing the little things that make a contender into a winner. These things rarely can be measured in the box score or on the back of a baseball card. As a Cubs fan I am thankful that these baseball nuances are being incorporated into the fabric of ‘the new Cubs’ organization, the Theo Epstein led Cubs organization.
The Cubs play Ramirez and the Brewers for the first time today since A-Ram decided to leave the friendly confines for Wrigley North. Ramirez seems like he should be older than his 33 years, having played eight and a half seasons for the Cubs after coming over from the Pirates. However, it doesn’t matter what age you are if your only argument against your critics is the refrain Ramirez offered several times to Wittenmyer – “Look at the numbers”. In his comments Ramirez mentions several times about doing his “job,” and quite frankly that is how he appeared to me, as a guy doing a job. Not necessarily a guy driven to be the best, or a guy with the intense desire or heart needed to help a team win a title. That, of course, is only my perception.
On the whole Ramirez’s career numbers are good, as he readily points out. So let’s look at the Ramirez numbers, the numbers he put up when his team needed him most, in the playoffs. Specifically, the back to back division winning Cubs teams of 2007 and 2008. Leadership is often hard to measure but it’s that certain something, that quality that separates good players from great. In those two playoff series where the Cubs were bounced each time three games to zero, (by the DBacks in 07, and the Dodgers in 08), Ramirez hit all of .000, and .182. Yep, it’s starting to come back isn’t it, the Cubs big guns in the season, shot blanks in the playoffs. Ramirez specifically, had hit .310 and .289 with 26, and 27 HR’s and over 100 RBI’s during those seasons. In the combined six playoff games, he had 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, and 2 hits in 23 at bats. As he says “look at the numbers”.
When the Cubs do win the World Series, it will be with guys who aren’t just doing a “job” but players who love the game and go the extra mile. Ramirez says he wanted to win in Chicago, and I don’t doubt that, but in the playoffs where the difference between wining and losing is razor slim, your team leaders need to step up. In the article Alfonso Soriano sticks up for A-Ram a bit, but also says if Ramirez “had a little more energy or emotion, people might look at him different.” It seems in most things in life there is a big difference in emotion and energy between a person “doing a job”, or a person doing what they truly love.