Manny Ramirez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Monday night, bringing his average on the young season down to .063. He's 1-for-16 with no walks or extra-base hits, and the defending AL East champions are off to an 0-4 start.
The fans, eager for a scapegoat, seem to have chosen Manny, booing him during Monday's loss to the Angels.
Manny didn't talk about it after the game, but his manager and teammates did.
"I want the fans to know he works," manager Joe Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "This man really works. This man really cares. It's not working for him right now, but he's going to be just fine."
While Maddon said booing the 38-year-old Ramirez was "unfair," the 26-year-old B.J. Upton, who probably grew up watching Ramirez play, called it "unbelievable."
"Here's a man who has had an unbelievable career," Upton told the newspaper. "This game is not easy. His start obviously hasn't been what people wanted it to be. But if everybody could do it, everybody in America would be playing right now. They're not, and he's done it for 16 years. So that bothered me a little bit."
Upton pointed to Ramirez's career resume to say that the surefire Hall of Famer (pending only a performance-enhancing drug fallout) deserves a little more time.
"I think if you're a true baseball fan," Upton said, "you know what type of player he is and the type of damage he can do. It's way too long of a season to be booing somebody right now. That I do not understand, not one bit."
While it's far too early to draw any reasonable conclusions on Ramirez, his .063 average in the early going bears watching. With a $2 million salary this year, he's not playing for the money, and after posting a second-half OPS of .721 last season and getting dumped by the Dodgers midseason, Ramirez's final days in a Major League uniform could be closer than many expected.