Greg Ramirez: The Renaissance Man

The proud owner of the Bombers' lowest ERA, 1.32, didn't start pitching until he was in high school. Greg Ramirez, number twenty-four, began playing baseball at age seven for the purest motives imaginable-- his dad was the coach.

Not one to be voted MVP in Little League, Ramirez tried his hand at other sports, including basketball and soccer, but somehow always found his way back to baseball. His loyalty to the game was finally rewarded in high school. The traditional growth spurt attacked with a vengeance and brought with it a power that his throw had never seen before. His coaches, however, saw it, and Ramirez was soon gracing the pitcher's mound, a spot he has been loathe to leave ever since.

In 2003, after Greg Ramirez was finishing up his senior year at Pepperdine College, the Mets picked him up in the twenty-second round of the draft. Although he was coming off of a successful season, he was named Post-Conference Pitcher of the Year, Ramirez describes himself as an "iffy" draft pick. He says that he was a "pretty average player" that was "fortunate" to get drafted. Greg has recently been named to the All-Star team and is among the South Atlantic League leaders in saves, 10. Preferring to face right-handed batters, it's curious to note that they actually hit better off of him than lefty's do.

In the off-season Ramirez likes to get together with a few of his old high school buddies. Last season they went to Vegas. For several years now the friends have been batting around the idea of going into business for themselves with either a bar or a restaurant. While Ramirez insists that the proposal isn't too serious, he admits that they've looked into details like demographics. When free time does come around, Greg heads out to the golf course or picks up a canvas. With a mother who's a graphic artist, Greg has been around some type of art all of his life. He has a certain fondness for both watercolors and oils and, when he's at home, he goes out to paint the waves from the beach.

Unlike many pitchers, Ramirez brings his arm over his head in his wind-up. This causes more time to be taken up and throws off the batter. In general, Ramirez says that he's "kind of slow walking around. My whole demeanor's slow." Against batters who expect a rushed speed, this can be a significant advantage. Once the hitter's timing is upset, Ramirez throws his fastball inside and the umpire usually calls a strike. This dangerous combination has helped him to strike out 60 batters in 61.1 innings. In Ramirez's repertoire lies a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball, a curveball, and a change-up. He says that locating his fastball has always been his biggest weakness. Somehow it tends to end up high.

Now that he's playing professional baseball, Ramirez is conscious of the history behind his sport. Being part of a game that's been around for ages isn't exactly what you focus on when you're twelve. No longer twelve and playing in ballparks that have seen their fair share of trying times, Ramirez is constantly confronted with the traditions behind the game. "Daily things remind you to respect it." This sort of regard promises him a deeper understanding of the game and any benefits it offers, Greg is more than happy to accept.

As a player who says that his "biggest asset is being reliable," Ramirez doesn't disappoint. He has a 6-0 record that's marred by a few not so pretty showings, but overall he's kept up with his image of consistency. When considering he's only given up 49 hits in 222 at-bats, his record looks that much better. As another player who forgoes a showboat style for simple results, Greg Ramirez effortlessly melds skill of the game and respect for it into a flawless pitching performance.

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