Everyone remembers that one scene from that one movie with that one guy everyone loves (Tom Hanks?) where we learn that "There's no crying in baseball!" The scene is precipitated, of course, by the shedding of tears, after one of the lady baseball players in the movie gets chewed out by her fire-breathing manager (played by That One Guy referenced above) for letting the tying run get to second base.
And yet, in spite of the fact that baseball and tear ducts are apparently incompatible, it seems likely that at least one young fan somewhere may have shed a tear or two when it was announced earlier today that the Boston Red Sox have designated for assignment DH and occasional infielder Hanley Ramirez. Maybe no one is weeping over his minimal lost production, but Ramirez's was a great story.
After signing a free agent deal with the Sox in 2000, Hanley played his way into The Show, patiently laboring through five long years as a highly-rated prospect in Boston's farm system. He actually got called up for couple of games at the tail end of the 2005 season, but his biggest contribution to Red Sox lore was becoming part of the 2006 trade package the brought 2007 World Series heroes Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett to Boston.
That was the end of Hanley Ramirez's Beantown biography, all the way up until 2015. After leaving Fenway behind, Ramirez rose to greatness with the Miami (then Florida) Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year, a three-time All-Star from 2008 to 2010, and a dependable hitter. The Lowell/Beckett trade might have closed the book on his BoSox career for good.
But then in 2015, Ramirez signed a four-year $88 million contract to go back to the place where it all began. On opening day of the 2015 season, Ramirez debuted in true Conquering Hero fashion with two home runs (including a broken-bat grand slam) and 5 RBI against the Philadelphia Phillies. Alas, a left shoulder injury let the air out of that season of triumphant return.
Ramirez bounced back in 2016, but the accumulating effect of age and injuries took its toll in 2017. And that gets us to today, with the long march to October barely begun, and the news breaking that Ramirez is on his way out of Boston for the second time, likely leaving BoSox bean counters on the hook for about $15 million in dead salary through the end of 2018. It's a hard way for any player to leave it all behind.
Maybe that's one reason why information technology (IT) is better than baseball. IT skills are, as they say, all in your head. You don't have to worry about a narrow window during which only beyond-elite-level physical conditioning lets you do the thing you love. As long as you keep your skills sharp and your head in the game, you can IT as much as you like, right up until it's time to retire.
Layoffs happen in IT, of course. You won't ever show up for work, on the other hand, and find out that management has decided you just don't have the same championship level form that they were expecting to get when they traded for you. DFA is a cruel mistress. BoSox Nation will miss you, Mr. Ramirez. If you ever have a mind to take a shot at a second career, come see us at TestOut Continuing Education.
About the Author — Calvin Harper is a past associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry. Calvin did not actually write this column, but he does love the Red Sox, and probably wishes that it didn't have to end like this for Hanley.