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By Tom Shanahan
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | I’m waiting to see if the baseball gods will do to Manny Ramirez what the football gods did to another bad actor, Randy Moss.
You might remember a year ago when the football gods seemed to be asleep at the wheel as Moss was putting together a monster year for the New England Patriots.
With the Tom Brady throwing him touchdown bombs, the Patriots were unbeaten and marching toward a Super Bowl title. Moss was being mentioned as an MVP candidate.
This was the same guy who quit on the Oakland Raiders, which is how he ended up with the Patriots. And that was after he got out of Minnesota because he wanted to play for the renegade Oakland Raiders.
But being a renegade wasn’t enough for Moss if the Raiders couldn’t win games or get him the ball.
There should be an NFL rule: Any player who quits on his team can’t be an MVP and can only be traded to the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions or Oakland Raiders.
You might have noticed Sunday night that Moss quit on his team again when the Chargers beat the Patriots 30-10 at Qualcomm Stadium.
Once the Chargers got ahead, Moss apparently had had enough of Quentin Jammer jamming him and Patriots quarterback Matt Cassell’s inability to get him the deep ball. Moss went through the motions when he ran patterns in the second half.
Hopefully, Jammer’s domination of Moss before NBC’s national telecast will give Jammer the credit he deserves as a Pro Bowl cornerback. Jammer is so steady with his play, he gets overlooked in the voting.
A consistent player like Jammer needs spectacular moments on a national stage like he had Sunday night with his interception and another interception that the referees ruled an incompletion. It would be similar to Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s three interceptions against Peyton Manning last year on national television vaulting him to Pro Bowl status.
But I digress; back to Randy Moss and Manny Ramirez.
As we all know by now, the football gods finally woke up before the 2007 season ended. They intervened when they allowed the New York Giants to upset the Patriots in the Super Bowl and spoil their unbeaten season.
The result was Giants quarterback Eli Manning was the Super Bowl MVP, which in a sense was a case of choosing between the lesser of two evils.
But now we have to suffer through the antics Manny Ramirez — a Randy Moss in reverse. He quit on the Boston Red Sox to get traded away from New England instead of traded to it.
You might remember video of Ramirez trotting to first base on ground balls. His own teammates approached management and said they had to get him out there.
So Ramirez ends up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now he’s being mentioned as an MVP candidate for the way he played for his new team.
Are you kidding me? Who would vote for a guy as an MVP of the National League when he only played for his NL team for two months after quitting on his American League team.
The explanation in L.A., in defense Ramirez, is he just wants to play baseball. In Los Angeles, a town of glitter and celebrities, he doesn’t face the public attention he did in Boston.
Poor Manny — Boston fans (I never thought I’d hear myself defending Boston goofs, er, fans) won’t let him just go to the ballpark and go home. For $20 million, he can put up with a few inconveniences.
Ramirez has been called a baseball savant for his ability to breakdown pitchers and get the pitch he’s looking for, even though he doesn’t put in the work to refine his swing or study video.
Idiot savant is more like it.
The baseball gods have let this celebration of Ramirez go on far too long as he led the Dodgers to the NL West title and a division series win over the Chicago Cubs.
They seemed to finally have the matter under control when the Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-0 series lead, but then Ramirez led the Dodgers on Sunday to a Game 3 win to keep his team alive.
Is there some way for Quentin Jammer to frustrate Ramirez and make him quit, too?
Tom Shanahan is voiceofsandiego.org‘s sports columnist. He is the media coordinator for the San Diego Hall of Champions and an occasional writer for Chargers.com. You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Or send a letter to the editor.