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Manny Ramirez, All-Star?

5/29/2009

Are we really going to see Manny Ramirez in the All-Star Game this summer? We might. Should we? Manny's manager doesn't think so ...  Ramirez

    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.