P.T. Barnum once said that you would never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Some of the empty suits that have been elected recently show the truth in that statement. Now we get more evidence of that statement. Manny Ramirez is back tonight from his 50 game suspension. He will likely start in RF at San Diego. He is being hailed like Julius Ceasar returning from Gaul but Ramirez didn’t conquer anything. In fact Bud Selig conquered him, or at least the drug policy did.
Ramirez is a well below average outfielder, bad team mate, a steroid user, and a cancer in the clubhouse. He pouts until he gets what he wants as he did in Boston to force a trade. But he has two qualities that keep him in MLB and picking up big paychecks. First, he is popular. The fans love him and pay to see him play. He puts paying hind ends in the seats. Second, he can hit the ball.
We have several other indications of his popularity in addition to the excitement around his return. He filled the stadium while he was playing in the minor leagues. He is also in the top 3 in fan votes for the all star game despite missing 50 of the 79 games the Dodgers have played. Selig was so concerned that he made a statement that even if Manny won he would be banded from the game.
His hitting is renowned. It is his only redeeming value. When he was suspended he had an average of .346 with 6 hr and 20 rbi. The one remaining question is what will this mean for both the team and the pennant race?
The Dodgers increased their while he was out. That was as much due to the opponents losing as to the Dodgers winning. The team went 21-8 in the games Manny played. That was a 72% winning percentage. They went 29-21 in the 50 games he was out for a winning rate of 58%. The Dodgers would win the division championship with or without Manny. The NL West is not the strongest division in baseball. However, they will need him to get to the World Series let alone winning it. That is why they signed him and why he was resigned him this season.
Part of the problem with Manny is he can not be trusted any further than you could throw the stadium. When he was at home waiting to get the contract signed, he obviously was not a good boy. The female hormone detected in his body is usually used as a part of a steroid regiment and is intended to help recover from the original treatment. This puts a whole new meaning to the saying that idle hands are the tools of the devil.
Many fans except those of the Dodgers hope that Manny slips off the wagon again and gets another forced vacation. Until baseball gets bad apples like Manny out of the game, it will suffer an image tarnished by the steroids scandal.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .