Know how you can look back on a past relationship and mostly remember the good times? All hugs, no yells? How time allows you to paint a more satisfying picture, if a slightly fuzzier one?
Without question, he had outstanding moments as a Dodger, particularly in 2013 when he frequently put the absolute hurt on some baseballs. There were times when he looked like the best hitter in baseball.
But, of course, half the time he was not playing at all, out with an almost logic-defying list of injuries. And then last season, presumably frustrated at not getting an extension from the Dodgers, he withdrew into Hanley World and stopped talking to the media without ever saying why.
Only to listen to Ramirez in Boston on Tuesday after signing a four-year, $88-million contract, he loved his time with the Dodgers and grew up as a player and person.
“Everything changed after I was traded from Florida to L.A.,” Ramirez said. “I was around guys that, you know, have been in the game, being men at the same time they're being players, who come up to me and are talking to me and telling me what I'm doing wrong.
“And then you go, 'Wow, that's right. I won't do it again.' After I got there, I learned how to win. So right now I'm a different player, I'm a different person than I was before in my mid-20s.”
All this time the Dodgers had the new Hanley. Who knew?
Which is not to say he was some divisive personality in the clubhouse or any major problem. His manager wasn’t benching him for lack of hustle and his teammates weren't turning on him, as reportedly happened with the Marlins.
“When I was traded to the Dodgers, I realized it's about winning every day,” he said in his Red Sox news conference. “You just go out there and you turn around 100 percent and you know what you're here for, what you work for, win and win and win, nothing else.”
Guess we need to give him the benefit of the doubt here, but it’s hard to think of Ramirez as someone constantly giving 100% and focused only on winning, when he seemed so distracted by his failure to get an extension, and when his constant list of injuries, if nothing else, at least became suspicious.
But apparently Ramirez loved his time here and grew up, or at least that’s the happy spin being put forth, possibly to justify a contract that could reach $110 million if a fifth year vests.
Still, if Ramirez did not leave Los Angeles on bad terms, it feels a tad revisionist to now act like his time here was all warm and fuzzy. But he was blowing farewell kisses to local fans in a Facebook post he put up that included a picture of him in his Dodgers uniform:
“Thank you God for the blessing of allowing me to wear #Dodgerblue, where I learned how to be a winner, where I shared so many exciting and unforgettable moments with, and received so much love from my beloved #HanleyWood fans. Our 2 division championships in 2 years brought me some of the best times of my career, and I will be forever grateful for that. GRACIAS.”
I know. There was a HanleyWood? Whatever, it was a nice sentiment. Which tends to happen, when looking back.