Sunday, November 13, 2011

Challenges still await Ramos

Associated Press photo
Wilson Ramos answers questions alongside justice minister Tareck El Aissami.
Wilson Ramos slept comfortably in his own bed last night, just as millions of Venezuelans and Nationals fans were able to sleep comfortably knowing the 24-year-old catcher was safe, healthy and with family members following a harrowing ordeal.

But Ramos' journey back from a 51-hour abduction that gripped his homeland and left everyone associated with the Nationals on edge is not yet complete. He still faces many challenges as he attempts to regain a sense of normalcy to a life that was forever changed Wednesday night when he was whisked away in an SUV by four kidnappers.

And there's no telling how long it will take Ramos to regain that feeling, if he ever does. Though he wasn't physically injured by his captors, Ramos did say that "psychologically, I underwent very great harm."

That damage won't disappear simply because he's returned home. The scars will remain the rest of his life, and it's impossible to know how they will affect him.

Ramos, a soft-spoken man who rarely seeks the spotlight, also must deal with his new-found celebrity. Baseball fans in Venezuela already knew him; now the entire nation is invested in his saga. Here in the United States, Ramos has gone from just another young ballplayer trying to make a name for himself in the majors to a well-known name and face that will continue to be the center of attention for some time.

Every time he steps to the plate next season -- whether at home or on the road -- Ramos is going to receive more attention than he's ever gotten before. He's also going to have tell his story over and over again, as reporters flock to his locker come spring training.

Make no mistake, this will be an adjustment for a young catcher who is not used to this kind of attention.

The Nationals certainly know this already and are going to take steps to help Ramos navigate his way through these uncharted waters. His teammates will be at his side throughout, as well, offering friendship, guidance and support.

Ramos says he wants to try to resume his baseball life as he planned to do all along. He wants to play at least a few games for his Venezuelan winter club. He will help his family move into a new, larger house in a nicer area of Valencia (a move that was already in the works before his abduction).

And come February, he'll report to Viera along with the rest of the Nationals' pitchers and catchers, eager to begin preparing for a new season.

Ramos should be able to enjoy some solace and sense of normalcy once he's in the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium or at the adjacent practice fields, catching bullpen sessions from various pitchers.

But the true test will come during those quiet moments of solitude, when Ramos lies in bed at night, trying to rest comfortably and block out mental images of the last few days.

His story has been forever changed, and though he is once again safe and sound with his family, none of us knows what happens in the next chapter of Wilson Ramos' life.

47 comments:

Positively Half St. said...

I'm hoping what happens next is "fulfilled potential." I am sure you are right about how the quiet times at home will no longer feel secure, although I imagine that the Venezuelans and Ramos himself will take extra care to be sure he is not a target again. Baseball may well be his best outlet, and he may focus all the better after this.

I more wonder how this might affect the other parts of his life. For instance, how does the trauma direct his relationship with his very pretty girlfriend? They will see each other through a different prism now, and that could add strength or move them apart. Also, you mention that he has been a reserved man, but will he perhaps find that he enjoys the attention in his homeland?

In truth, the part we will see the most is the maturity as a ballplayer. If he succeeds as we hope, we may get the opportunity to get to know him as a person over the years. I hope we do, and that he becomes a DC icon with time.

+1/2St.

JamesFan said...

Just observing him from afar and reading what he says, the security of his family in his home country will be a huge issue for him moving forward. This is a very big mental burden to carry as he moves forward in his ML career.

MicheleS said...

ESPN just showed some snippets of his press conference (and there was a nice spot where he spoke in English thanking all the Nats fans).

I agree that he will need the support and it will take some time for him to get through this. The good thing is it appears he has an excellent support system in place with his family and the Nats. I am sure that the Nats Family will be doing much in the next days/weeks/months to ensure his safety and that of other players. Maybe some good will come out of this because no family - whether your loved one is famous or not - should have to go through what Wilson's did.

Doc said...

I'm still waiting for any sports show anywhere to highlight that Ramo had a NL Rookie WAR second only to Espi last year.

Here's to a great career Wilson!

The two guys from the Braves seem to be getting all the publicity!

MicheleS said...

And another good thing...the countdown clock is now in 2 digits!

MicheleS said...

here is a link to and SI article about the AFL.. Read the last sentence of the Solis section

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/joe_sheehan/11/10/arizona.fall.league/index.html?sct=mlb_wr_a3

GYFNG

natsfan1a said...

Agree that this event is by nature life-altering. I've had Wilson and his family in my thoughts and continue to wish them peace and healing as they process this experience. Am thankful that he has family and team support systems, as Michele points out. Specifically, I recall some MASN segments with the team psychologist last year and assume that Wilson will have access to any mental health resources that he might deem helpful.

Positively Half St. said...

MicheleS-

Thank you for the link. I believe that is the first time that somone pretty much came out and predicted a championship for the Nats, even if a few years off.

But for the Ramos episode, this offseason has been exciting in a good way.

+1/2St.

skidge said...

Michele, thanks for the info in the last thread. That's just what I needed.

JaneB said...

Thanks for writing about this part of the story, Mark.

ANd thanks for the GYFNG, MichelleS. We needed one of those.

Anonymous said...

As free Agent rolls on we continue with this destraction. When will this be over? Phillies are signing Free Agents.

SonnyG10 said...

Good to be able to think about baseball again and what we might be getting to improve our club. Nice to be down to double digits in the countdown also. Onward and upward...go Nats!!!

Sunderland said...

Anon said "Phillies ae signing Free Agents".

Signing a closer for $12.5M x 4 years, the biggest contract ever to a relief pitcher, and giving up their 2012 1st round draft choice, and quite possibly losing their closer from last year and ticking off Scott Boras.

Let 'em.

jd said...

Sunderland,

You are dead on.This does not make them better. I just hope we don't do something stupid and give Madson this type of contract.

Mark'd said...

Time for Wilson to get his family to DC and sign a long-term deal with the Nats so he can house them all with some real money.

$415,000 doesn't go far for a ballplayer with multiple family members depending on him.

gonatsgo said...

I have relatives and friends in Philly who are quite confused by the signing of Papelbon. Madsen did not seem to be a liability, he fit into the team chemistry well and has similar stats to Papelbon, who comes from the al. Their biggest argument is why they are spending money on more pitching when no one can hit the ball - their take, not mine, by the way. They feel that their starting pitching and closing were fine, but their offense is the problem - sound familiar? The Marlins, on the other hand, have me quite terrified right now.They couldn't possibly sign Pujols and Reyes, could they?

the real distraction said...

is Anon posters

The real distractions ***ARE*** said...

Posters who claim they aren't anonymous just because they use some made up name. Hypocrites R US me thinks.

Anonymous said...

here is a link to and SI article about the AFL.. Read the last sentence of the Solis section

Let's see Detwiler and Milone plus Solis AND Purke potentially very close next year ... and they wonder why the radio interviewers had to ask Rizzo about John Lannan when he inadvertently left him out when he spoke to next year's rotation?

Freudian slip? Trade seems the more likely scenario.

Anonymous said...

And in addition to Lannan's exit from the stage ...

From the Expo fan at Federal baseball:
Davey Johnson told ESPN980's Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan in an interview last week when asked how active Washington will be in free agency this winter. "Maybe utilizing them on the major league level may be a little bit of a rush, but [at] this day and time, I always like to see guys come from within the system, they've earned the right to compete at the major league level and they have the talent."

Again people (Mark, Goesling, etc., included):
Harper RF
Morse LF
Werth CF
Ankiel backup
Brown backup

LaRoche 1B
Marerro backup.

Mark do you, Goose Bumps Goesling, and Kilgore actually believe that Rizzo will go behind Davey Johnson's back?

I sincerely doubt it.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, it would be a GREAT investment for the Nationals to fund the Ramos family's move to the United States. With this investment, Ramos gets more peace of mind, more security, and our current players and potential free agents EVERYWHERE get the idea that working for the Nats is where one gets taken care of, and the Nats get the benefit that Mark Cuban has gotten with his NBA team.

baseballswami said...

I have asked before and really do want to know what the rest of you think. Is Rizzo making the decisions or is Johnson? I personally think that Johnson gets much, much more of what he wants than Riggs would have ever gotten. But - Rizzo is a very strong-minded individual and it seems that he would not give up a lot of control. They can't possibly agree on everything. Who will make the rotation/trade/syracuse decisions for the pitchers? Who will choose the bench?

gonatsgo said...

Anon at 2:08 - kind of scary thinking a move to dc would be the safest thing for a family. Perspective, I guess. I thought I heard that he has 7 siblings? I have been wondering if they will recall him to dc soon to have their shrink check up on him. Maybe playing some baseball would be the best therapy for him, however. He is not very old and seems to be a somewhat unsophisticated guy - worrisome.

JaneB said...

I thought INS doesn't let the families come here. Is that wrong? They are stuck between a rock and a hard place -- stay and remain targets themselves or (if they can come here, which I think is a big "if") give up their lives and build brand new ones here. Hard choices, all.

Brown isn't going to be a grown up Nat, ANon at 1:47.

The Fish scare me too,gonatsgo. Especially if they end up with Albert and Jose.

Joe Seamhead said...

Regarding the Madson/ Papelbon decision by the Phills, maybe I 'm wrong, but I see an on the field negative for them. Madson throws a lot of off speed stuff resulting in a lot of ground balls. Papelbon throws mostly fastballs resulting in a lot of long fly balls. With the shorter porches in Citizen's Bank Park I see Papelbon's homej run ratio going up. I don't see us signing Madson unless Rizzo has a huge trade working that involves Drew Storen. I think that's unlikely. I'm also of the strong belief that Brad Paecock starts the season on the active roster. Davey loves him. I am really anxious to see how Henry Rod works out with a full spring training with the club, along with a healthy start, neither of which he had last year.

Jim Webster said...

Maybe fans oughtta get some "CICPC" ball caps and #3 jerseys to wear first game next year.

JamesFan said...

Pujols and Reyes to Miami? Very, very doubtful. The big money teams are not interested in Albert except possibly Chicago. He'll go back to StL. Reyes and Hanley is possible, but costly. Maybe but lots of complications with that deal.

Davey vs Rizzo? Davey is a one year guy as it now stands; Rizzo is in it to build the team for the long term. The relationship seems good and I'm sure Riz listens to Davey, but this is Rizzo's team for the future.

Anonymous said...

Davey vs Rizzo? Davey is a one year guy as it now stands;

WRONG out the gate. Johnson may not be managing for more than a year BUT he has been heavily involved in FO decision making for at least 2 or more YEARS? Remember it was JOHNSON NOT Rizzo that stopped the notion of Desmond as a utility guy versus everyday shortstop? Where have you been? Not watching the Nats perhaps? Yankee fan? In any case Johnson has a 3 year contract to work for the Nats FO at this point.

Rizzo is in it to build the team for the long term. The relationship seems good and I'm sure Riz listens to Davey, but this is Rizzo's team for the future.

Again, Watching the Yankees? Desmond versus Guzman who made that choice: Davey Johnson. As much as Rizzo wants to build this team for the long-term Davey Johnson wants it more and actually has had real success doing it. In other words he has a track record. That's why they seem to get along famously. Unlike Riggleman Johnson is on the same page and maybe even a few beyond than Rizzo, Clark, Harris, etc. That's what they bought when they brought him on board before the Riggleman melt-down.

Gonat said...

Mark'd said...
Time for Wilson to get his family to DC and sign a long-term deal with the Nats so he can house them all with some real money.

$415,000 doesn't go far for a ballplayer with multiple family members depending on him.

November 13, 2011 1:13 PM
________________________________

It has to be considered as a serious option. It just sounds like MLB players families are serious targets along with the players themselves as we just saw.

Still thinking MLB & the MLBPA have to put their heads together on this.

NatsLady said...

Just saw Wilson on ABC news. He looked good. Was with his mom.

Anonymous said...

Peric, thanks for the lectures, thanks for writing in bold so we know it is a lecture and not just an opinion. This time last year you were lecturing on how Livo would be long relief in 2011. Too bad Riggleman and Davey weren't paying attention to you. Maybe they were watching the Yankees?

baseballswami said...

Natslady - thanks - hard to know where something will show up. This critical story has been somewhat shadowed by the psu scandal. It does seem that the Ramos family is very strong and very close and that they have a strong faith. There may not be crying in baseball, but there sure is praying.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the lectures, thanks for writing in bold so we know it is a lecture and not just an opinion.

Nah, just for the uneducated people who can't read and like to proselytize like they know something ... ;)

JamesFan said...

Davey has no commitment to manage beyond 2012. Yes, he is under contract for longer, but no commitment to manage.

Still assert that the Nats are Rizzo's team. Anon seems to think that DJ designed this team and made all the key decisions. Simply not true. DJ is not the long-term solution as manager. Hope he does well next year and beyond, but get real about the architect of the team.

Oldguy said...

To locate the Ramos family here it would need to be very near a strong, evangelical Spanish speaking Catholic Church. Mrs. Ramos obviously has a very strong faith, and Wilson would never permit anything that she didn't want. In the end, the Ramos family is going to make the decision. The Nats and MLB might assist with providing increased security for them in their new location. It also seems that the Venezuelan government took a significant step toward a position of zero tolerance for these kinds of acts.

whatsanattau said...

The media as a whole is not known for sensitivity, but I would hope that there will be some ground rules for press wanting access to Wilson this year. No clumsy local news interviews, or sideline reporters asking about feelings, etc... It will be impossible to stop it all, but I would hope some restraint can be managed. Perhaps they will do a round of interviews during spring training with the understanding that the subject is taboo once the season starts.

I am very interested in the facts of the rescue, investigation, prosecution, and justice, but I don't need to know how he feels, whether it is difficult to sleep, etc.... It's not that I don't care. I do. But I don't need to know.

Anonymous said...

Oldguy, philosophically, I just want the Nats to offer whatever help Wilson AND his family need. While I proposed moving them all here, certainly it only works if they want that. If they want something else, I think the Nats should offer that something else. The details are not important to me; I modify my claim to say that the Nats should offer substantial help to both Ramos and his family, whatever that entails, up to and including re-locating them. I think you and I are in philosophical agreement.

Anon at 2:08/now another time

Anonymous said...

whatsanattau, I think you will be pleased by how the Nats organization deals with the "interviewing Ramos" issue. For good and ill, they have shown for years that they believe strongly in controlling access to their players. I am confident they will make clear to the press what is required, and they will enforce their rules in the case of any "transgressions." Let's see if I am right.

Anon at 2:08/9:41/now another time

NatsLady said...

Anon @9:46 you are correct. Reporters have long complained that the Nats are the worst of local teams in terms of free access to players. That's fine with me, right now, and--actually--in general. I'm more interested in what happens on the field than off it.

NatsLady said...

Oldguy-- St. Stephen Martyr on Pennsylvania Ave, where the Kennedys went to Mass, is a Catholic Church with a large Latino presence and evangelical bent. Many people from Northern Virginia drive in to attend because of this.

Also, when I sang at St. Matthews, although more "traditional," there were also many Latinos and a Spanish mass with classical Spanish music (really fun to sing). Also, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington--a very liberal parish--has a Spanish priest and Mass. I'm sure there are others.

Anonymous said...

By the way, and I am sure you remember this, NatsLady, Ramos was so overjoyed when his Mom and sister came to visit for a bit last season. And he was a doubles machine while they were here.

Andrew said...

I believe Wilson within the last few weeks bought a new home for his family in a nicer area in Valencia.

It is a very complicated situation.

Whatsanattu said...

On the previous discussion regarding who makes decisions I believe it is Rizzo. Johnson is certainly not afraid to say what he wants, but I don't think Rizzo will blindly do whatever Johnson wants. Gomes, Detwiler, minor league callups, etc... happened because they agreed, not because Johnson spoke up. It may even have been orchestrated to help make clear that Johnson was in charge. I think Rizzo tries to give his manager what he wants - he did so with Riggleman too, but such decisns are made within the context of Rizzo's own philosophy as well. If Johnson asked for Willingham I don't believe he would get him.

Anonymous said...

Whatsanattu -- I think what we are really saying here is - please, God, keep Debbie Taylor away from Wilson Ramos.

Debi Taylor said...

So what did it FEEL like when you were kidnapped, Wilson? What did it FEEL like when they rescued you?

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that Wilson is tryng to go back to his routine in playing baseball. I hope he can get pass the ordeal mentally. My question is when is CICPC Ramos cap night sponsored by CITGO going to be!?

the afl store said...

I hope that he could get things sorted out already, I cant wait till he plays again.

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