Hanley Ramirez’ Antics and the Art of Responding to a Wanna-Be Martyr

19 May

Just a couple of days ago, I heard about the latest professional athlete’s kindergarten-like temper tantrum.  Hanley Ramirez, an extremely talented player for the Florida Marlins got irritated when he attempted to field a hit after he inadvertently kicked the ball with his foot.  Instead of running the ball down and potentially saving his team two runs, he slowly jogged to the ball, and the opposing team scored to runs.

Now, we’ve all done this before.  Probably not in MLB, but we’ve done the same thing.  In our frustration for messing something up, we’ve made it worse by acting childish after the fact or kept going on the wrong path, when we really had it within our power to make things better.  Why?  Probably because of embarrassment or irritation or the desire for perfection from ourselves, or for a whole host of other reasons.  Whatever the reason, we humans can mess something up quickly and instead of owning the mistake and correcting it, we have the tendency to make excuses or act like a toddler far beyond nap-time or attack the people holding us accountable.

Ramirez was benched after the inning by his manager, Gonzalez.  It was a courageous decision and it was the right decision in an era that is too often characterized by catering to very big egos of really little boys.  Instead of admitting his error, Ramirez said this of his manager:

“Hopefully, he does it with everybody. That’s OK. He doesn’t understand that. He never played in the big leagues.”

Ramirez was saying that he really hopes his manager will not just single him out when he makes mistakes but that all players would be pulled if they make mistakes like he did.  Then he basically says “ok…but if he doesn’t treat me the same I’m ok because he just doesn’t understand.”  Then he goes on to say the worst part: “He never played in the big leagues.” Hmmm…what does that mean?  He might as well have said that Gonzalez is stupid or unqualified to lead or foolish or that he isn’t smart and good and athletic like he (Ramirez) is.  His words were aimed at Gonzalez’ heart and his intention was to tear him apart.

So how did Gonzalez respond?  Did he threaten to trade him or bench him or belittle something about him in retaliation?  This is what he said:

“He’s right. But I know how to play the game. I played six years in the minor leagues, and I know what it takes to play this game, and I know the effort it takes to play this game, and I know it’s hard to play the game. That’s it.”
Gonzalez refused to respond to the personal attack.  Why?  Because THAT wasn’t the issue.  The issue was Ramirez’ lack of character and work ethic and he (Ramirez) tried to make it about Gonzalez.  It never was about Gonzalez and he refused to bite.

Here’s the deal: When people do wrong things and it is your job to respond to them, just know that they will often go on the defensive.  This has nothing to do with you.  It is about the hurt in them.  The best thing you can do is to keep the conversation on-track and not allow them to deviate from the issue and make it about anything else.  Pay attention: if they can get you to respond to their tangents and attacks, then they’ve successfully deflected the attention from the issue at hand.  Gonzalez was absolutely masterful in his reply.  He has mastered the art of responding to Ramirez and his martyrdom-complex.

The next time you are in a situation like this, how will you respond?




One Response to “Hanley Ramirez’ Antics and the Art of Responding to a Wanna-Be Martyr”

  1. Susie May 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Awesomely put!

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