Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Baseball Giveth; Baseball Taketh Away

Baseball can go fabulously right or go horribly wrong.

On Sunday, I learned the Red Sox would be honoring Manny Ramirez's 500th homerun before last night's game against the Baltimore Orioles. Ramirez would be given a plaque by Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, who was Manny's teammate in Cleveland. That meant they started last night tied with 504 homeruns apiece. I had a feeling that Manny would pass Murray in his presence. Manny had that feeling too. Murray said so when he joined Red Sox broadcasters Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy during the bottom of the third. It would have been great had Manny homered then and there although he did get a single. But true to his word Manny passed Murray with a solo homerun in the bottom of the 5th. The scene was set and it was played out. But there was no happy ending for the Sox as they lost 10-6.

Yesterday, the Detroit Tigers sent pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the minors. Not to Triple-A or Double-A but all the way down to the Class-A Lakeland Tigers in the Florida State League. Willis earned a World Series ring for the Florida Marlins in 2003 and in 2005 won 22 games en route to being voted runner up in the National League Cy Young Award balloting to Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Tigers gave up two key prospects to get Willis and Miguel Cabrera this off season. Willis was then signed to a 3 year $29 million dollar contract. In a season that has been disappointing for the Tigers, Willis has walked 21 batters in just over 11 innings pitched. Three years ago, Willis was arguably one of the top five pitchers in baseball. Today, he is at the lowest level in the minor leagues. This isn't to say he can't straighten himself out and regain his form. But there are no guarantees other than baseball can be a humbling game.

Baseball giveth. Baseball taketh away.

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