The sports world's dog pound
News flash: Hanley Ramirez isn't the only professional athlete to ever dog it.
(I'll wait why you get all the Michael Vick jokes out of your system.)
A lot has been made over the past few days of Ramirez's lack of hustle after booting a ball into the outfield Monday night against the Diamondbacks. But that lazy play and the resulting media onslaught puts him in elite company. It's the culmination of two years of hard work that started with his $70 million contract in '08.
Hanley Ramirez is now officially an Alpha Dog.
And only Alpha Dogs can dog it and get noticed. As sports fans, we don't care if the backup tight end on our favorite NFL team loafs it for a play and misses a key block. Or if the sixth man on our hometown NBA team blows a few easy layups. But when the franchise player decides to take some time off in the middle of a game, it's go time. So Page 2 would like to congratulate Hanley Ramirez on his accomplishment and introduce him to some other professional athletes who have mastered the art of dogging it.
Back in 2006, Iverson gave less than 100 percent by not showing up at a 76ers shootaround. The resulting press conference is one of the most quoted lines in NBA history, when he gave his famous "practice" speech. Despite being arguably one of the best talents to ever take the court, that singular act of dogging it will forever be his legacy.
The Big Diesel is one of the most dominant inside players basketball has ever seen, but he could've been better if he came into each season in shape and practiced free throws. Instead, O'Neal was happy to dominate within a few feet of the basket and nothing more. If only he'd spent the offseason working out, the world wouldn't have to know the horror that is "Kazaam".
Talk about an athlete who shows up when he wants to. Sheed has been an enigma for his entire career. When he wants to dominate, he can, like in 2004 when he guided the Pistons to an improbable title over the heavily favored Lakers. But now it's a surprise when he gives 100 percent and isn't making baskets for the other team.
Moss stopped playing to his ability during his second year with the Oakland Raiders. Despite dropping balls and complaining outwardly to the media, he was given a new life in New England -- a testament to his skills and Bill Belichick's arrogance. The experiment worked for a while, but last season Moss was caught taking plays off. Who knows which Moss will show up this season, but word is the Hoodie doesn't like that sort of thing.
No wide receiver at any level of football has dogged it as much as Owens, nor been given the opportunity to do so in so many different locations. With T.O., he doesn't just work between the lines either. In San Francisco, he questioned the sexual preference of his quarterback, Jeff Garcia. In Philly, he said the Eagles lost the Super Bowl because Donovan McNabb was too tired. Owens went on to burn bridges in Dallas and most recently Buffalo. Get your popcorn ready, T.O., cause it looks like you'll be watching the NFL from your couch this year.
Sanders was a shutdown corner like no other, just as long as he didn't have to tackle anyone. Neon Deion had 53 interceptions in his 14-year career and returned nine for touchdowns. But it wasn't enough to shake the perception that he hated contact. He also literally dogged it when it came to business ventures.
You might not think of Russell as an Alpha Dog, but he was. As the No. 1 pick out of LSU, no one had more promise and cachet. But the man who could throw a football 60 yards from his knees seemed more content on cashing paychecks and eating than living up to his potential. Al Davis decided that Russell had dogged it for the last time and cut him earlier this month.
ManRam is the poster child for dogging it in MLB this century. Some of his classic hits include using the Green Monster at Fenway as a bathroom and listening to headphones attached to his sunglasses while in the outfield. He was in and out of the lineup constantly in Boston for undisclosed ailments. That behavior only continued when he became a Dodger. He was suspended 50 games for using a banned substance, to boot. But like all great Alpha Dogs, all is forgotten when Manny goes Manny and drives a ball out of Dodger Stadium.
Once the pride of the Atlanta Braves, Jones took a turn for the worst when he joined the Dodgers in 2008. He dogged it in just about every way possible. He came into the season 20 pounds overweight and batted below .200 for most of the year. He was dropped to eighth in the lineup and eventually was benched by manager Joe Torre after a stint on the DL. He was mercilessly booed by Dodger fans and is now currently trying not to dog it for the White Sox.
When it comes to raw talent, Daly has it in spades. He joined the PGA Tour in 1991 and won the PGA Championship after getting into the field as the ninth alternate. But Daly fought demons from his weight to women to booze. It seems he's been dogging it for about the past decade, with his best or worst moment, depending on how you look at, coming with this shirtless interview.