LA Daily News – Jill Painter – Feb 4, 2009 – Manny Ramirez scoffed at $25 million.Â He needed only one day to reject the latest offer from the Dodgers, aone-year deal in which Ramirez would become the second-highest paid player in baseball.
If that’s not good enough, what is?
Ramirez is a rock star in Los Angeles for powering the Dodgers to their first postseason series victory in 20years. The Dodgers couldn’t keep their shelves stocked with enough Manny wigs and skull caps.
But a lot has changed since Ramirez lumbered around left field in Dodger Stadium with those dreadlocks flapping on No. 99.
Many of those fans who scooped up expensive Dodgers jerseys and playoff tickets have undoubtedly lost their jobs and their homes in this unstable economy. They’ve watched the bottom fall out of their retirement accounts and stocks. They’ve delayed retirement plans.For $25 million, 50$500,000 homes could be saved from foreclosure in California.
Ramirez’s inability to run out some grounders and lackadaisical attitude wore on teammates and fans in Boston.
Money might crush his love affair in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers were willing to pay Ramirez about $154,320 per regular-season game, and Ramirez wasn’t buying it. How much more does he need?
“Everybody is conscious today about being modest,” sports psychologist John F. Murray.
“You want to keep things in perspective. Everyone is struggling and when a player of that status
(rejects that offer), it’s naturally going to create some dissent among people that might be enthusiastic about him.”Privately, this is a business, and he could get more money. What’s wrong with that?”
Ramirez’s contract negotiations are anything but private. Ramirez and agent Scott Boras never officially responded to a two-year, $45 million offer from the Dodgers, either.
Yet the Dodgers, who need power in the middle of the lineup, are still interested in signing him. They also need pitching.
A soon-to-be 37-year-old outfielder known for his hot bat and not the ground he can cover in the outfield is digging in his heels and holding out for more. When spring training starts, Ramirez might still be waiting. He has no other known offers.
What’s a parent to tell their child? How do you explain that $25million isn’t good enough?
“We’re pretty straightforward,” said Sandra Shaikin, whose 12-year-old son, Sam, is a Dodgers fan. “I think it’s ridiculous turning down $25million when people are losing their jobs and starving. I know the economy and supply and demand. We explain this.”
Sandra’s son, Sam, couldn’t believe Ramirez didn’t accept the Dodgers’ offer. He’s a Ramirez enthusiast and has worn his wig, but he doesn’t get it.
“It was pretty dumb,” Sam Shaikin said. “I think they should’ve taken the offer. I don’t think anyone is going to sign him. They don’t want him for four years like he wants.”
Does Ramirez think he’s smarter than this sixth-grader?
Since Sam was in kindergarten, his father, John, has taken him out of school to go to Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. It’s a tradition.
Shaikin, who plays shortstop, catcher and pitcher for the Woodland Hills Sunrise Little League team, would give Ramirez more years for less money if he was running the Dodgers.
And if he was Ramirez, he’d sign for $25 million. First, he’d give some to charity. Then he’d buy a house, a car and provide for his parents and little sister.
“Well, because of the economy, he should be looking for less money and a better deal,” Sam said. “Last year with the Red Sox, he didn’t want to play for them anymore so he didn’t play his best. Teams don’t want that.”
And fans don’t want another superstar who’s insistent on ridiculous money.
It’s not the time.