It is quite difficult to find a combination of words in the English language that accurately describe Hanley Ramirez’s outfield defense. It’s something you truly have to see to believe.
— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) September 1, 2015
And yet, with the overdue news that Hanley Ramirez is transitioning to first base, we’ve decided to attempt to eulogize Hanley’s left-field defense before we purge it from our minds permanently for all time. With that in mind, I challenged the staff to attempt to describe Hanley’s defense in ~100 words. The results are as follows:
Matt Kory: Hanley Ramirez plays left field like a blind rhinoceros groping for food. You’d never expect a 37-foot-high wall in southern Africa but [bump] apparently there it is! And something just rolled past me… Eh, probably not delicious grass. Mmm… grass… (you didn’t know rhinos are huge fans of the Simpsons?)
Is that mean? That’s definitely mean. I couldn’t play left field any better than Hanley Ramirez. So for that, I’m sorry. The truth is Hanley is not a blind rhino. He’s an awful outfielder. In the light of honesty, he’s worse than a blind rhino foraging for food in southern Africa. The blind rhino is, after all, still alive and not moving to first base.
Nick Canelas: Hanley Ramirez’s left field defense is more appalling than a Donald Trump campaign speech.
Jake Devereaux: Watching Hanley Ramirez play defense is like living in an alternate reality where this sentence: “With respect to your particular involvement, the [R]eport established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge” would be enough to uphold a four-game suspension of the great Tom Brady. Thank God we do not live in a reality where this type of reasoning reigns supreme and where the insanity of trotting Ramirez out to left field every day is an acceptable course of action.
Bryan Joiner: Hanley’s defense reminds me of this and only this.
Ryan P. Morrison: Even if your tastes in comedy are more high brow, you have to admit: The Three Stooges were completely hilarious, and masters of their craft. Sure, how they went about things was nutty — that’s why it was funny — but it was expertly choreographed, and despite their characters’ ass-backwards approach to life, everything usually worked out for them in the end.
But I’ve often wondered: when Shemp left to pursue a solo career, what did that look like? It had to be simpler without his trusty foils by his side, but did that mean he was better? Good?
Watching Hanley all alone in left field, I think I got my answer. It’s not funny at all.
Matt Collins: You wake up late, knowing that you slept in a strange position that will affect your back for the rest of the day. You step on a Lego your son left on the floor next to your bed, trip and hit your head on the wall. You burn your tongue on your morning cup of coffee. You bite the inside of your cheek as you eat your breakfast. You hop in the shower, only to realize you have no hot water. You get in your car to head to work, but the battery is dead. You get a jump from your neighbor, but then hit a pothole and get a flat tire. You change the tire, but you’re over an hour late to work. Your boss chews you out. You get home, and realize you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer. You try to go to bed, but your neighbor is having a party, and you don’t fall asleep until 2 AM.
Watching Hanley Ramirez flail around in left field was still the worst part of your day.
Alex Skillin: Watching Hanley’s defense in left field this season was like the equivalent of getting a brand new toy for Christmas only to immediately discover that it’s broken. Back in April, we all watched with high hopes and starry-eyed optimism as Hanley made his return to the Red Sox organization. A happy future in which Hanley launched homers over the Green Monster and adequately mimicked Manny’s antics out in left field seemed all but certain.
That is until we opened up our new present and found our hopes were horribly misplaced. Worst of all, there was no easy fix — no way to recoup the lost money nor hide our disappointment. We were stuck with him, even though all the defects were there, plain as day, for everyone to see.
Christopher Teeter: The experiment the Red Sox front office ran to have Hanley Ramirez play left field this season was much like the experiment Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant executed when they had Karl Pilkington travel the world and attempt to ingratiate himself to local people. Both Hanley and Karl did the best they could in their respective situations, but were desperately out of their element, making fools of themselves and yearning for a simpler task. For Karl it would be sharing fish and chips in a London cafe. For Hanley it is standing in the batter’s box trying to sock dingers.
Dustin Palmateer: Hanley Ramirez plays left field like a blind rhinoceros … shoot, Matthew took that one. Hanley Ramirez plays left field a lot like Manny Ramirez, except without Manny’s ability to play the Monster — or his 1,000-plus OPS at the plate. Hanley is a lumbering sort in the outfield, occasionally showing signs of an acute allergy to the cowhide baseball. He’s not very good out there, which is at least a little surprising given his track-record as a shortstop — albeit a mostly bad one — for the better part of the last decade. You know, the defensive spectrum and all. Ramirez will switch to first for now, but he’ll probably find himself as a designated hitter before long, which is good news for everyone but American League hitters and GIF-makers.
Ben Carsley: Unless you happen to be a professional baseball player reading this, there likely came a point in your life where you realized that, unfortunately, you weren’t going to be a professional baseball player. Maybe you couldn’t hit. Maybe the ball scared you. Maybe you had a noodle arm.
Whatever you were bad at on the baseball diamond, you weren’t as bad at it as Hanley Ramirez was in left field. It was like someone inverted the controller of Hanley’s life and the player moving him never adjusted. He is the Omega to Jackie Bradley Jr.,’s Alpha, cartoonish in his defensive inadequacy. If NESN’s decision to fire Don Orsillo could manifest itself in physical form, it would be Hanley limping after a catchable ball that had just bounced off the Monster, fumbling to pick it up and then firing it on four hops into the wrong base. Christopher Darden had better luck with gloves.
Photo by Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports Images