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Manny, Deacon and Crass Capitalism

Welcome to Hero, Nero, Zero, where we champion the triumphs, insanity and ineptitude of the sports world. Got a candidate for one of our life-altering labels? Email me atcdavidmartin@yahoo.com. This feature appears Mondays and Fridays.

HERO: Manny Ramirez

I don’t envy sports columnists who have to come up with compelling topics on a regular basis. If I had to write columns several days a week, you can be certain I’d mail in my fair share of pieces, which is why it’s safer and more enjoyable to write columns that make no pretense of being compelling. You’re reading one of those columns right now.

Anthony McCarron is a columnist for The New York Daily News and on Sunday he suggested the Yankees should sign former future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez to bolster their lackluster offense. Ramirez recently left his team in Taiwan and has expressed interest in trying to play in the majors again.

McCarron acknowledges that Ramirez comes with a lot of baggage, but the Yankees are 24th in the majors in hitting and need a boost. Ramirez, who once got suspended by MLB for taking a fertility drug that is commonly used to mask steroid use, is just what the Yankees need, McCarron writes, before quickly backtracking and saying this is all pie in the sky:

“OK, OK, an admission: The idea to bring Manny here is really just a metaphor for saying that the Yankees need to do something — anything? — to help a team that was a neat story as it thrived despite early injuries but has now gone cold, although it managed to score six runs in Friday’s victory over the Rays.

Ramirez does not sound like a possibility for the Yanks, according to a source with knowledge of the club’s thinking.

The Yankees have “no interest at all,” the source said. GM Brian Cashman refused to talk about Ramirez, or any other player, saying, “I don’t think it’s in our best interests to announce who we’re interested in. We have an interest in someone, we’ll tell them.”

Manny Ramirez as the hero to save the Yankees’ season? There’s no chance of it happening, but at least I got to write about the impossibility.

NERO: Deacon Jones

The NFL has announced that the yearly sacks leader will be presented with the Deacon Jones Award, in honor of the recently deceased Hall of Fame defensive end. Jones coined the term “sack” and reportedly recorded 26 sacks back in 1967, which would be a record but the NFL didn’t recognize sacks as an official statistic until 1982, well after Jones retired.

Jones wasn’t just a great player, he was something of a military historian. He understood how sacking a quarterback was similar to, say, sacking ancient Rome.

"Sacking the quarterback is like when you devastate a city, or you cream a multitude of people," Jones said during one of his memorable interviews with NFL Films. "You take all the offensive linemen and put them in a burlap bag, and then you take a baseball bat and beat on the bag. You're sacking them, you're bagging them. And that's what you're doing with a quarterback."

So think about that the next time a quarterback gets sacked: He’s getting tossed in a bag and beaten with a bat, according to the guy who coined the term.

ZERO: Adolescent business acumen

I had a lot of little odd jobs to make money when I was younger. I was a caddy, a dishwasher, a paper boy, a hired hand. I wasn’t a burgeoning capitalist, that’s for sure, which is why I find myself in an industry that more or less pays crap and offers no job stability. (But it’s so rewarding!)

If I was a bit more business savvy as a child, I might have been like the two young girls who were selling $1 bottles of water to the swarm of people who amassed outside Aaron Hernandez’s house in the last few days.

Is this a little tasteless? Sure. But I have a grudging respect for two aspiring businesswomen who took advantage of a need in the marketplace. Granted, their parents probably put them up to it, bought all the water, and are skimming 75 percent of the take. But still.

Cameron Martin has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, ESPN.com, Yahoo! Sports, and CBS Sports. Send your ideas to cdavidmartin@yahoo.com.

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