Daily Herald
Sox at least gave it a shot with Manny
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 9/15/2010 12:00 AM

Well, the Manny Ramirez experiment officially has failed.

The White Sox acquired him last month on waivers from the Dodgers specifically for games like Tuesday night's against Minnesota in Comiskey Park.

The second-place Sox came in trailing the first-place Twins by 6 games with 19 remaining in the season.

It sure seemed like the Sox needed to sweep the three-game series to have even the slimmest chance of winning the American League Central. Most of all they needed Manny to finally be Manny again.

Well, all you need to know how this worked out is that the Twins won 9-3.

Ramirez went 0-for-3 with 3 strikeouts and in the process stranded six runners. He flailed wildly at a pitch out of the strike zone for strike three with the bases loaded and the Sox losing by a run in the seventh inning.

The Twins scored 5 runs the next inning and Sox fans started leaving The Last Gasp Corral either booing or mumbling.

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said when asked whether it was fair to place some blame on Ramirez, "You certainly could criticize him. He's got to take it."

Ramirez isn't responsible for the entire Sox' meltdown the past couple of weeks, but since arriving last month he has zero extra-base hits and runs batted in and is hitting .270.

The White Sox' meltdown the past couple of weeks can't be blamed entirely on Ramirez, but he certainly contributed to the downfall by failing to contribute.

Hey, so Sox general manager Kenny Williams took a shot on Ramirez. He probably was correct in considering him the best player available for the price.

What price? The Sox have to pay Ramirez around $4 million but owe the Dodgers no players.

Williams hoped Manny could be Manny again. Maybe he could be the slugger who lit up all of Los Angeles two years ago. Maybe he could flash some of the talent that helped the Red Sox win two World Series in four years.

Ah, but Ramirez clearly isn't the guy who over the past 16 seasons helped his teams - Cleveland, Boston and L.A. - to the playoffs 11 times.

Perhaps Ramirez's most astonishing moment came when the Red Sox trailed the Indians 3-1 in the 2007 best-of-seven American League Championship Series.

"Why should we panic?" Ramirez said the day before Game 5. "We've got a great team."

Then in typical Manny being Manny fashion he added, "If it doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like the end of the world."

That didn't comfort rabid Boston fans. But the Red Sox won the next three games and Ramirez hit .409 for the series.

This Manny clearly isn't that Manny. He's 38, injuries prevented him from playing much for the Dodgers this season, and his timing is off for now if not forever.

Ramirez was suspended last season for taking a banned substance and some will say that he isn't the same player since going straight.

Who knows? Ramirez might start hitting like his old self rather than his older self now that it appears the games won't mean as much with the Sox all but done.

But when it counted the most and the Sox needed Ramirez the most, he failed himself and them.

Yes, folks, the Manny Ramirez experiment officially failed.

mimrem@dailyherald.com