If you’re the Florida Marlins, you should be optimistic: You’ve finally got the finances to build that baseball-only stadium you keep saying will rescue your attendance from sub-Monster Truck Rally levels; You have a dynamic roster filled with exciting talent; And you have arguably one of the top 10 hitters in baseball in Hanley Ramirez. So what’s the perfect thing to do in Spring Training? Why, drive Ramirez to the point of near self-destruction with ridiculous team rules, of course!
The SUN SENTINEL reports that Ramirez melted down yesterday in the clubhouse before the team’s exhibition games against Baltimore, choosing to use his chest and a Sharpie to express his outrage. And you would expect him to be pretty upset at this point, what with his .077 batting average this spring. But the target of his ire wasn’t his own poor performance, but the team’s new dress code and personal grooming policies.
Because apparently Ramirez is Samson, drawing his power from his long, braided hair. So the team’s decree that he had to cut his hair (damn those infernal sideburns, Mattingly!) and later that he couldn’t wear his gold chains while playing are what have caused him to forget how to hit. His way to show frustration? Scrawling “I’m sick of this s—” on his chest with a Sharpie.
Really? Who does he think he is, Al Snow? Eddie Vedder? Me in seventh grade? At least it wasn’t a tattoo, and I’m going to hope he had enough sense to realize that everything looks backwards in the mirror, unlike morons like Morton Downey Jr. Then there was the matter of Hanley also proclaiming that he wanted to be traded, which I’m sure caused some more serious moments of panic for the Marlins.
But cooler heads seem to have prevailed, as Ramirez emerged smiling after a meeting with Marlins executives, saying that “Everything’s great, I’m fine. My mind calmed down.” Either the Marlins backed down on their personal appearance and grooming requirements, or they realized the value of Ramirez’s chest and decided to open themselves up to new marketing ideas. Look for the Marlins outfielders to have Burma Shave-style ads on them by Opening Day.