Manny Move Dangerous For Sox Identity

 

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There's a reason Barry Bonds never won a World Series ring.

It's astonishing to think that general managers of Major League Baseball still cannot figure out a winning formula.  Sure, the Yankees have won a large amount of World Series Championships, but the only thing their success proves is that titles can be purchased.

What's puzzling when discussing the odds of smaller market teams contending for titles is that General Managers simply don't understand the complexity and importance of team chemistry.  That's why the White Sox' latest move to collect Manny Ramirez is not only a bad move, but a potentially disastrous move.

I'm sure many will be quick to point out Ramirez' two World Series titles in Boston, but let's be honest.  Manny was part of a juggernaut.  And if he were such a vital part of their success, why would they be so quick to let him depart?

White Sox' General Manager Ken Williams should have learned from his team's World Series win in 2005.  Looking back, the '05 Sox were led by unlikely heroes.  Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, and Mark Buehrle are not players who are typically the focus of marketing campaigns.  Nobody purchases tickets when the White Sox come to town so that they can watch in awe as Paul Konerko hits tape-measure homeruns, or Mark Buehrle throws 100 MPH gas.

What Williams should understand is that his team's success is built upon just that:  the success of the team.  What Williams shows in the acquisition of Ramirez is nothing remotely relative to that idea.

Manny Ramirez' arrival in Chicago signifies a potentially dangerous turn in the history of the White Sox.  Having acquired Ramirez, the White Sox now potentially face becoming just another team looking for a quick fix. 

Across town, the Chicago Cubs were once a team whose success was based largely around the overall success of the team.  Once Sammy Sosa started becoming a sideshow, the Cubs mentality changed.  The Cubs organization once valued wins over popularity, but somewhere along the line the Cubs bought in to the belief that popularity and heavy personal statistics equated to wins.  As the Cubs payroll has increased over the years, and players like Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome came to town with heavy expectations, the Cubs' success has significantly declined.  

Over the past decade, the Cubs too have made their share of "quick fix" trades and waiver pickups.  High profile players like Nomar Garciaparra, Fred McGriff, and Jim Edmonds are just a few former mid-season acquisitions made by the Cubs in years they failed to win a playoff game or even reach the playoffs.  

Why?

Because they simply aren't "team guys".  They are players who pack some punch, but refuse to accept their roles, usually opting to view themselves as heroes.

The Cubs' most notable acquisitions came in the way of lesser knowns (at least at the time of their acquisition).  The Cubs' best playoff runs in recent memory were in 2003 and 1984.  As a matter of fact, the four other years they reached the playoffs within the last 30 years, they managed to win no more than one game -- combined.  In 1984, the Cubs were lifted by a not-so-well-known pitcher by the name of Rick Sutcliffe.  In 2003, sure the Cubs acquired Aramis Ramirez, but I'm sure few can forget the additions of Kenny Lofton and Randall Simon.

Small moves -- big results.

Proceed with caution White Sox fans.  As excited as you may be to have received one of the most notorious hitters of the modern day era, players like Ramirez come with a lot of baggage, and usually come along for a reason.

That reason usually being that they simply refuse to adjust, and they demand to be the focus.  

Sounds a lot like the definition of "Manny being Manny" if you ask me.

 

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