- Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he doesn't think suspended outfielder Manny Ramirez should be an All-Star this year, even though fans have him fourth in voting at the position.
"No, I don't, and if you ask Manny, he'd give you the same answer," said Torre. "I understand a lot of it is a popularity contest and you want to give the manager the best players, but to me, the significance of the All-Star Game is to reward players who had a good first half.
"They don't always do that. But I always feel it's great to have young players [given] a chance to make the club. Look at Evan Longoria, and rightly so.
"Manny's popularity is why he's gotten votes. Realistically, he didn't have, except for reputation, a right to be an All-Star. It probably isn't the right thing for him this year, from the baseball aspect, I've got to think."
I like Joe Torre, but he's got this completely backwards.
I mean, from the "baseball aspect?" Really?
From the baseball aspect, Manny Ramirez belongs in the All-Star Game. The fans vote for their favorite baseball players, plus the All-Star Game has traditionally been reserved for the best baseball players. Granted, there's often space for players having the best seasons and for players who are neither great nor having a great season, but happen to play for a team that's bereft of talent. Still, there would be little argument if Ramirez were voted to the National League team despite missing 50 games with a baseball injury.
This isn't about baseball, though. It's about drugs and cheating. And I'm sorry because I'm not generally one to moralize, but a player who's been suspended for 50 games for cheating simply doesn't belong in the All-Star Game. No way, no how. I know the commissioner's hands are often tied by the players' association, but this really shouldn't even be an issue. There should be a rule, something like this, already: Any player suspended, due to violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy, shall be ineligible for the next All-Star Game.
Baby simple, and completely appropriate. Yes, it's too late to do anything about Manny. And, yes, someone should have thought of this a long time ago. But we shouldn't ever have to deal with this question again.