Brog: MLB “Ran Interference” For Ramirez Deal?

What a week for baseball here in Los Angeles. First, the normally trade deadline-dormant Angels wrangle Mark Teixeira away from the the Braves. Then soon after, the Dodgers have a life vest handy after Manny Ramirez is thrown overboard from the S.S. Lucchino.

Frank McCourt Fought (Green) Tooth And Nail To Complete Ramirez Deal

(With Ramirez deal, McCourt’s Dodgers no longer botoxed boxed in by Halos)

I heard Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt say today that the Ramirez deal was right up against the deadline, and that to assist in consumating the agreement, “the commissioner’s office ran interference.

The comment came after a press conference announcing the World Baseball Classic being held at Dodger Stadium in ‘09 - and a subsequent mention of the Ramirez trade being finalized. The main media has yet to pick up on the comment, which was aired on local Los Angeles sports radio.

Just exactly what McCourt’s remark means, I have no idea. But I’m guessing that Bud Selig & Co. were delighted to assist in any way to get Ramirez out of Boston - and into Los Angeles - where the Dodgers have long fallen flaccid in the local community.

Additionally, Curt Schilling gave perhaps the best indicator that the Red Sox would deal Ramirez at any cost this morning on his weekly WEEI-AM hit: At the end of the day you’re taking the field with a guy who doesn’t want to play with you, doesn’t want to be there, doesn’t want to … obviously effort-wise is just not there and that’s disheartening and disappointing.

It’s very obvious from anything you see or hear he doesn’t want to be here. And anytime that there’s a piece of the equation you have a problem, and then not trading and leaving him here is a problem because you don’t know what you’re going to get.

Obviously Schilling didn’t shoulder any direct responsibility in the deal, but his comments gave full-blown indication that Ramirez’s minders would soon be corporate apt. hunting. (Too bad Ramirez didn’t end up in Miami, where he could’ve rented out one of those ginormous, empty high-rise condo buildings on the cheap).

From the Red Sox perspective, this deal reminds me of the club bringing back Bill Buckner earlier this season for a fan appreciation ceremony. Of course, that never would’ve happened had the Sox not won two World Series. And the jettisoning of Ramirez falls into the same category.

John Henry never would’ve parted with the Man From Ram if he didn’t already have a couple well-flagged trophies encased. But like The Beatles and Pink Floyd, both musical acts that soon split after enjoying untold success, the Sox are now too fat and happy to endure Ramirez’s childlike tendencies any longer.

The Shaq/Kobe saga also is an example of what happens when championships befall a franchise. The team concept that enabled parades down Figueroa here in Lipstick City eventually splintered as individual personalities became more assertive. Selfless doesn’t sell when banners have been banked.

From the Boston perspective, it’s a shame, because with Ramirez we all know that the Red Sox were aligned for a significant championship span. That’s a far cry from Santa Monica to Manhattan to Milwaukee (Mr. Selig’s addy), where a celebratory mood is in full bloom.

If you don’t know how important marketing agents are to high profile athletes, you haven’t read TIME’s blatant traffic grab rankings of the “100 Olympic Athletes To Watch.”

Kobe Bryant gets buried in Time Magazine Olympic Athlete rankings

(”Hey you … marketing guy? … yeah, you … uh, you’re fired”)

Lebron James is somehow ranked #1 on the list. Kobe Bryant, quite obviously the better player of the two, is ranked #23 - and gets attached to this amusing blurb: “Sure, he can be selfish. And his behavior off the court has been scandalous. So you may never love Bryant. But not respecting his game is insane.

Getting caught cheating on your wife one time and being accused by a kook of rape is “scandalous“?

Bill Clinton

Hmm, sounds like someone we know.

My choice for #1 on Time’s list? Dara Torres‘ “garçon de piss.”

THANKS FOR NOTHING DEPT.: The DES MOINES REGISTER reports today that University of Iowa officials recently announced that victims of floods in Iowa are “eligible for free tickets to home football games,” against the University of Maine on August 30 and Florida International on September 6.

Boy, it’s a real shame that Iowa State-Coastal Carolina game is completely sold out.

In all seriousness, it’s kinda-sorta a nice gesture by Iowa City, but you’d think the least they could do was Purdue.

Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s David Kaplan on the chances of Mark Cuban landing the Cubs with a billion-plus, bowl-over bid to MLB: “The Red Sox were sold for $90M less than the highest bid when they picked John Henry and Tom Werner. Major League Baseball doesn’t care about what Sam Zell’s troubles are.

MLB is currently going through the motions, trying to make it appear that Cuban has a realistic chance to acquire the team. In other words, Bud & Co. are covering their fannies in case Cuban sues once he’s stonewalled by Jerry Reinsdorf and the rest of the MLB owners.

What a bunch of a$$holes! (Which it makes it that much more ironic that Cuban isn’t getting more consideration.)

One guess where this new photo of SbB Girl Whitney was shot:

SbB Girl Whitney in Hollywood, CA

No, it wasn’t out front of Johnny Rockets while we were awaiting takeout. Or Madame Tussauds. Or Hooters, or … never mind.

I’m particularly proud of that shot, since I had to beat down a gaggle of Japanese tourists for the prime Beachwood Canyon camera location. Of course, a jaywalking ticket came along with that.

Small price to pay (we keed).

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