Sam

Posts Tagged ‘Manny Ramirez’

Enough is not enough

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I was pleased to see that newly crowned NL MVP, Ryan Braun, has tested positive for PEDs. I can think of nothing more embarrassing to Major League Baseball and Bud Selig. Braun is one of the sports premier sluggers and his role on a resurgent Milwaukee Brewers team was one of the feel-good stories of the year. Not since the days of Gorman Thomas and Cecil Cooper has Milwaukee rallied around a team and two sluggers like it did this year around the Brewers, Cecil Fielder and Ryan Braun. That Braun won the MVP award came as something of a surprise to some people but I don’t think anyone said he didn’t deserve it.

Well, he obviously did not.

The revelation that Braun tested positive for PEDS comes on the heels of the news that Major League Baseball is going to reinstate Manny Ramirez and cut his suspension for drug use in half from 100 to 50 games. Ramirez has been caught cheating multiple times and you would think that the Commissioners’ office – if it was truly committed to cleaning up the sport and sending a message to people, players and fans alike – would say “enough” and put Ramirez on the ineligible list, as it did once with Pete Rose. But baseball recognizes that Ramirez is still a big draw so drug use or not they welcome him back and they are even making it easier for him return. All this says, at least to me, is that MLB cares very little about restoring integrity to the game.

Until we have someone in the Commissioners office who is committed to a clean sport and who is willing to issue lifetime bans for repeated drug use – even if this means a confrontation with the MLB Players Association and a lengthy strike – then the problem will not get any better, Every exemplary performance on the field, such as we saw this year when Albert Pujols hit 3 hrs in a World Series game, will be subject to suspicion. Was it real ?

Probably not.

I wonder what Bowie Kuhn would think of all this ?

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Post 3-11 Sports purist

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2011 at 5:29 am

It has been awhile since I have written anything. Living here in Tokyo we endured the earthquake of March 11 ( what is now being referred to here as ‘3-11″ ) and have been collectively paralyzed by everything that followed, most notably Fukushima. But life is slowly getting back to normal here: the trains are packed during the morning commute; the spate of post-disaster TV news programs, some of them very good, have given way to the insipid variety programs that define Japanese TV; people are thinking about foreign travel, hot springs and food again. So when I received an email the other day from a friend bemoaning Bud Selig’s plan to expand the playoffs I realized it was time for the Sports Purist to get back to “normal” too.

Since the season opened, there has been a lot to opine about including the Barry Bonds trial, the brutal beating of a fan outside Dodger Stadium , Manny Ramirez’s very un-graceful “retirement.” But let’s start with Bud Selig.

I have never understood Bud Selig. Selig has always been a self-professed baseball fan, frequently talking about his love for those great Milwaukee Braves teams of the late 1950s while a kid growing up in Milwaukee. He has been a lifelong friend of Henry Aaron which means that he can’t be all that bad. Or at least you would think. Yet Selig has done more to ruin the game during his tenure than any commissioner before him. Under Selig we have seen:

– Inter-league play which deprives the World Series of considerable mystique.
– World Series games frequently played into late October, early November.
– Rampant drug use.
– A gimmicky winner-takes-all format for the all-star game.
– A tie in an all-star game.
– Hallowed baseball records broken by ball players on steroids.
– Two Red Sox World Series championships ( right there that tells you that something is out of kilter)
– A disastrous players strike in 1994, until the strike one of baseballs most exciting seasons ever.
– Regular season games played on foreign soil including an “opening day” in Tokyo
– An astronomical rise in players salaries and ticket prices so that the demographic in any major league park nowadays is decidedly white and middle class ( Dodger Stadium is not a ballpark. It is a drug-infested neighborhood).

Anyway, I can do without Bud Selig. Even if he is a friend of Henry Aaron’s.

Tiger Woods and the new morality in American sports.

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Well, it is no surprise that Tiger Woods has announced that he will participate in this years Masters.  In fact, Tiger’s break from golf was very disingenuous coming as it did in golf’s offseason; to this point Tiger has missed only 3 “minor” tournaments. I think we knew all along that he would be back for the Masters because it just seems like the, pre-packaged made for TV sports “comeback”  that we have come to expect from the major networks. It doesn’t matter that Tiger was absent not because of a torn fibula or rotator cuff but  because he had been caught cheating on his wife with a parade of busty bimbos and was too ashamed to appear in public.  And what will the reaction of the galleries  be ?  I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone at Augusta cheered Tiger just as Dodger fans cheered Manny Ramirez upon his return last year after a 50 game suspension for steroid use. The plain fact is that athletes nowadays are not held to very high standards. An athlete can do something disgraceful, such as Marion Jones, or act with complete hypocrisy, such as Tiger,  but as long as they have not lost their game people will cheer for them.  In all honesty, athletes have always been given a break. When incidents of supposed domestic violence in Willie Mays’s marriage were reported  in the San Francisco papers in 1961 no one really cared – according to James Hirsch in his new biography of Mays.  But there was nevertheless a moral code which, if transgressed, made it difficult for a player to continue to compete in the public arena.  A good example is Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich who in the mid 1970s swapped wives – and eventually their entire families – and were subsequently booed in every city they played in.  Both were out of baseball in a matter of a few years despite promising careers.  The Tiger Woods scandal has had all the sleazy headlines of the Kekich-Peterson affair and Tiger for his hypocrisy should hear thunderous and incessant jeers upon his return. But this will not happen. because people, as I said, just don’t care anymore.

Not feeling so patriotic today

In Pet Peeves, Satire, Traditions, Trivia and Nostalgia, Uncategorized on July 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Wasn’t planning on writing anything today. It is after all The Fourth of July. But then I tuned into Fox’s Game of the Week ( Dodgers-Padres) and found that their coverage of Manny Ramirez’s return to the Dodgers lineup warranted an entry.

It is as if Fox and MLB were celebrating Ramirez’s return. There was Manny all primped up in a pre-game press conference saying how nice it was to be back. No mention anywhere about why Manny had been out of the lineup. When Manny came up for his first at bat, Dick Stockton and Eric Karros fawned on him – again no mention really of why he had not been in the lineup for two months.  I could read the lips of one girl in the stands who was yelling “come on Manny,”  perhaps unaware that Manny had been suspended 50 games for drug use ( it being more likely that she knew but just didn’t care). When Manny hit a HR Stockton’s, call betrayed nothing but unbridled  joy while Karros added how incredible it was that Manny can return to the lineup and be back in top form so quickly.  All the while the fans cheered ( even though this game was being played in San Diego) adding to this sick feeding frenzy.

You wonder what kind of message this sends to people, particularly to young kids or to players at the lower levels of professional baseball who are trying to crack ( no pun intended, Manny ) a major league lineup ? The message I think it sends is that, hey, it is OK to cheat.  If you are good enough people don’t really care how you get there and they will still cheer for you. This is America.

A final irony. As were all the players on the field today, Manny wore a patch commeratiing the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrigs famous Fourth of July speech at Yankee Stadium. This juxtapositon of class and no class was so funny that I could not help but chuckle before getting up to turn off the TV. I had had enough.

Happy 4th of July.