Hello from the second slowest sports news day of the month!
In case you haven't heard, the Marlins announced 80-year-old Jack McKeon as their new manager today. His first move? Benching Hanley Ramirez: [Hardball Talk]
Ramirez has dealt with back problems for much of the season, but told reporters that he’s healthy and confused by not starting tonight.
McKeon explained to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that he benched Ramirez because he “didn’t like the way he was running yesterday” and Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that Ramirez also showed up late to the ballpark.
It's pretty obvious what the Marlins are trying to do here… Between Fredi Gonzalez and Edwin Rodriguez, the young Marlins – avg. age 26.7 – haven't had a veteran manager to discipline them. Last year, Ramirez got into a public spat with Gonzalez, taking shots at his manager because he never played in the Major Leagues. While nothing has gone wrong this year, you have guys like Logan Morrison Tweeting pictures of himself wearing a Phillies shirt and out at a bar (a night before a doubleheader). Shit like that ain't going to fly with McKeon.
The similarities are striking. In 2003, McKeon took over the Marlins when the team trailed the Atlanta Braves by 13 games. They currently trail the Phillies by 12 1/2…
They won the World Series that year, beating the Phillies out for a Wild Card spot.