Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nobody is above the game

Manny’s suspension is proof to me that there is a God. Manny Ramirez is a man who, while possessed of perhaps the greatest batting eye and hitting smarts of his generation, still managed to take advantage of every opportunity he’s had to disrespect his team and the game of baseball. In his time with Boston, Ramirez betrayed his teammates by not bothering to hustle if he didn’t feel like it, feigned injuries and sat out pivotal games in his own little mini-revolt against some perceived injustice, played such laughable defense that at times that it was sometimes difficult to discern if he even knew a regular season game was in progress, then ultimately bailed on his own team, refusing to play and forcing them to unload him on the Dodgers. Once he got his wish, he turned the effort spigot back on, and led Los Angeles to the 2008 playoffs with Ruthian performances that showed the rest of Major League Baseball once and for all that he had intentionally tanked on his team in Boston.

Finally, this year he’s tested positive for a banned substance, and gave a pathetic excuse that is only a half step more plausible than “my dog ate my homework”. He’s only gone for 50 games, but the damage will be permanent, just as it will be for Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, Pete Rose and Roger Clemens. They all disrespected their teammates and the game of baseball. Bonds and Clemens managed to add contempt for the laws of the United States of America, too, so their penalties are going to be a bit more severe.

I’m a great believer in karma, and I am sure that what happened to Manny was just the baseball gods extracting their retribution for all his sins. This summer, Jim Rice will be inducted in Cooperstown at long last. Though I’m on record as saying Rice’s stats make him only a borderline Hall of Famer, his character and respect for the game were second to none. In that respect, he should stand proudly alongside Tony Gwynn, Carlton Fisk, Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr, and everyone else who played the game the right way throughout their great careers. Rice worked his butt off, played clean, and did it right. Even when he wasn’t taking banned substances, Ramirez didn’t care about “the good of the game”, if he even understood the concept. No matter what happens when he returns in July, we’ll always know who Manny really is. Manny being Manny is nothing to be proud of.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Well stated....