- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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ORLANDO -- Ninety minutes before his team played its biggest game of the season, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy simply wanted to talk some baseball.
Van Gundy, never short on opinions, didn't need much prodding to get rolling about the hottest topic in Florida: Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez's decision to pull Hanley Ramirez from the game after the star shortstop (and former Red Sox star prospect) didn't hustle after a booted ball Monday night, allowing two runs to score in a 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.
Van Gundy, a friend of Gonzalez, said he texted the manager throughout the day and, not surprisingly, sided with his coaching brethren.
"Our game is a little bit different, there're certainly times in a basketball game where a guy doesn't run back defensively," said Van Gundy. "But on the baseball field, it's just glaring. Guys are running around the bases and he's not going after the ball, he's walking after it. It's glaring."
Van Gundy was just getting warmed up.
"Here's my thing with baseball and I don't mean this -- I love the game -- but how many times in a baseball game do you really have to hustle? It's a skilled game, a difficult game. But if you get a double or triple, or go first to third running the bases, how many times does that happen? Two or three times per game? How many times do you have to go all-out like baseball demands, maybe like seven, eight, or nine times per game that you gotta really bust your ass, and you can't do that?
"Look, I saw the play, it was perfectly justified what [Gonzalez] did. If he doesn't do something in that situation, the other 24 guys are looking around going, 'What the hell is going on?'"
Van Gundy did struggle to relate it to a situation in his own sport.
"He made a substitution, which in baseball, that's a big deal," said Van Gundy. "Mid-inning, that's a big deal. Look, I don't think he was nitpicking. It wasn't like it was a ground ball to shortstop and the guy ran three-quarter speed down the line. That one you can probably jump on a little, maybe say something and move on. I thought ... [Gonzalez] did the only thing he could do in that situation."
The Marlins rebounded to win 8-0 Tuesday without Ramirez in the lineup.
Van Gundy thinks the situation will play itself out and be favorable for all parties in the end.
"I think after a little bit of time, it will be good for Ramirez, too," said Van Gundy. "And they got a nice 8-0 win this afternoon, that will help everybody feel a little better."
Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.