Manny Ramirez essentially sulked his way out of Boston by refusing to play, not hustling and bad mouthing the team. He was angry, apparently, that the Red Sox wouldn?t give him the big contract extension he wanted.

So how, exactly, is he increasing his market value by proving to be such a clubhouse headache? Ramirez would be wise to pay close attention to what?s happened to Barry Bonds. No one doubts that Bonds can still play, but no one wants him ? not even for the major league minimum ? because of the off-field problems he?d create.

Bonds never did some of the stuff we?ve seen from Ramirez lately. The Giants never got so fed up with Bonds that they paid him to play somewhere else, as the Red Sox just did with Ramirez.

There are, of course, a few differences between Bonds and Ramirez that go in Ramirez?s favor. When Ramirez goes on the market this winter, he?ll be seven years younger than Bonds was when he went on the market last winter. Also, for all of Ramirez?s issues, he was never indicted for perjury.

Still, I can?t helping thinking that if Ramirez really wanted that four-year, $100-million deal this winter, the best way to get it would have been to play hard and be a good teammate for the final two months of this season. The Red Sox, after all, are one of the few teams who could afford that deal, and now he?s eliminated them from the running.


The Angels were probably the best team in the American League ? and therefore the best team in baseball ? before they picked up Mark Teixeira.

Now? Forget it.

If the Angels don?t win the World Series, it?ll have to be considered a failure.

They have the best starting rotation and the best bullpen. They play solid-to-spectacular defense. They hadn?t hit as much as they should have early in the season, but they?re making up for that now.

As an aside, the A?s were not too upset to see Teixeira going to their rivals, because in all likelihood he?ll be gone at the end of the season (probably to the Yankees).

?I?d rather deal with Mark Teixeira for two months than Casey Kotchmann for five years,? one A?s official said.


I had been skeptical that this replay thing was really going to get off the ground this season, but not anymore.

A former player who now works in the commissioner?s office told me this week that replay is coming this season. Bank on it.

For now it?ll just be used on home-run calls. (Fair or foul? Over the fence or not?) I?m in favor of replay in theory, but I don?t have a lot of confidence that a flawless system can be implemented in the middle of a season. I?d rather they start it next year.


- The Class-A Lowell Spinners held a ?Political Correctness Night? on July 23, in which the foul lines became fair lines and the names of players who made errors were not announced.

On the next night, ?Political Incorrectness Night,? pink pot-holders were given out to the first 250 female fans. Only women took orders at the concession stands.

- This is the first weekend during the season since 1997 that neither the A?s nor the Giants have been at home. Last weekend both were at home for the first time on a weekend since 1995. The teams typically have overlapping home stands and road trips during the week about once a season.

- Randy Johnson became the first pitcher to record 2,000 strikeouts for different franchises. Of course, only four major leaguers (Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Steve Carlton and Johnson) have 4,000 strikeouts, period.

- The upstart Rays will be nationally televised on Aug. 23 and 30. That will equal their total number of national-TV Saturday appearances in their first 10 seasons.

- Baltimore?s Daniel Cabrera has beaten the Yankees three times this season. If he can win once more, he?ll be the first pitcher since Chuck Finley in 1996 to beat the Yankees four times.

- Jose Guillen?s go-ahead RBI single against the A?s on Wednesday came on the first time he had swung at a 3-0 pitch all season. What?s more remarkable is that the free-swinging Guillen had only worked himself into seven 3-0 counts all season.

- According to the Pythagorean Win Theorem, which states that a team?s winning percentage ought to closely correlate with the ratio of runs scored to runs allowed, the luckiest team in baseball this year has been the Angels and the unluckiest the Indians. Through Thursday, the Angels were eight games ahead of their expected pace, and the Indians were seven below.

- Twenty of the 30 teams were within three games of their expected record.

- The A?s have started 10 different players in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, most in the majors. The average per team is five players.

Contact staff writer Jeff Fletcher at 521-5489 or jeff.fletcher@pressdemocrat.com.