I tend not to dwell on former Cubs (though I curse them when they come back through town on another team, performing far better than they did with the Cubs). Once they’re gone, I wish them well, but I’m not going to concern myself with everything they say and do. The same is true for former Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who is now the Milwaukee Brewers’ third baseman. Go forth and do swell, Aramis.
But Ramirez offered two quotes recently to the Sun-Times that I couldn’t not share.
First, on new Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, and the man he kinda-sorta replaces, Jim Hendry:
‘‘I think Jim was successful in Chicago,’’ Ramirez said of Hendry. ‘‘We made the playoffs three times, and I don’t know if any other GMs have done that for the Chicago Cubs. It’s hard to win [a championship], but we competed….
‘‘It don’t work that way, man,’’ Ramirez said when asked about Epstein coming in and getting the job done. ‘‘Obviously, he’s been successful before in Boston. I’m sure he’s got a game plan; hopefully, it works. But it’s not that easy. It was a different situation when he got the job in Boston [nine years ago]. They were ready to win then; they just needed a couple of pieces, and he went out and got it, and he won.’’
Interesting, but not surprising. And not necessarily wrong, either – no one disputes that the Red Sox were in a very different place back then than the Cubs are now. Still, it’s strange to hear Ramirez stepping on the Cubs’ plans like that. Perhaps Ramirez has lingering affection for Hendry, and feels like it would be a betrayal to talk up Epstein. Or maybe Ramirez is now a Brewer through-and-through, and is ready to start playing into the rivalry.
The more interesting quote offered by Ramirez, though, responded to criticisms he faced from Cubs’ color man, Bob Brenly, after Ramirez was on his way out the door. Primarily, Brenly has ripped Ramirez as being a bad influence on younger players, a bad defender, a bad baserunner, and more. In response, Ramirez busted out the player card.
‘‘You talking about Bob Brenly?’’ Ramirez said when asked about recent criticism. ‘‘I ain’t going to get into a war with Brenly or any other guy. Brenly played the game. He knows how it is. And if you want, you can put my numbers right next to his and see who did better in their career.’’
The whole Sun-Times piece makes for an interesting read, as it features a response from Brenly (in short: he just thinks Ramirez could have been a lot better if he’d worked harder), more from Ramirez on his time with the Cubs (“I’m not Tony Campana”), and thoughts from other Cubs.
(I bet you didn’t know that Brenly actually had a career 106 OPS+, which is pretty good. It doesn’t match Ramirez’s 114, nor do Brenly’s overall stats stack up with Ramirez’s, but, hey, it’s interesting.)