— If Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez is voted into the starting lineup for the All-Star game by the fans of Major League Baseball and allowed to be on the roster there should be a congressional investigation.
How could a player who has been suspended for 50 games be voted into a game that decides home-field advantage in the World Series? If this occurs, there should be serious discussions about taking away the voting privileges of the fans who clearly want to make a mockery out of this process.
Ramirez was suspended because of a failed drug test that proved he had an abnormal and elevated amount of testosterone in his body and he did not even appeal the decision.
Ramirez is still hiding from the media and has not explained to Dodgers season ticket holders, who pay his enormous salary, what actually happened. He disgraced his legacy and probably will never get into the Hall of Fame after this costly suspension, but now he could be rewarded with an invitation to the All-Star game?
This is another shining example of how sports fans in general are becoming softer and softer with each passing generation. I wish Commissioner Bud Selig could prevent Ramirez from playing in the game, but declaring a player ineligible for the All-Star Game would require agreement from the players' union.
This topic truly bothers me because it brings out the ignorance of fans that do not care about the proud tradition of baseball. I consider myself somewhat of a baseball purist but have accepted several recent rule changes that have enhanced the sport such as the advent of the wild card and instant replay. I despise performance-enhancing drugs and how they have ruined the history of the game by ballooning the statistics of players who knowingly cheated.
I have great memories as a kid of watching the All-Star game with my father and believing that the outcome actually mattered. I was also the co-host of the Pete Rose radio show back in the late 90’s and relish the stories that the all-time hit king would tell about what that game meant to him and his teammates as they took pleasure in dominating the American League.
There has been several legends that made the All-Star team at the end of their careers when they were clearly past their prime. Cal Ripken, Johnny Bench and Willie Mays are just a few of the greats that got a pass by the fans or MLB because of their overall body of work and star power.
That is not the case in 2009 when it comes to Ramirez. He got off to a good start for the Dodgers and helped solidify them as a favorite to win the National League West, but has only played in 27 games, producing a total of 32 hits and 20 RBIs. Current Dodgers left fielder Juan Pierre is more than deserving to be an All Star as he is batting over .400.
I have less of a problem with a player such as Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz possibly making the American League All-Star roster while he is battling through the biggest slump of his career. Passionate Red Sox fans are stuffing the ballot box at an alarming rate for Big Papi and that is understandable considering that he has been one of the best players in baseball over the past seven years and helped carry the Red Sox to two world championships. I would never vote for a player who has a batting average below .200, but I respect his effort and the great respect that he receives from baseball fans. Ortiz is still working extremely hard to compete and help his team stay in the playoff race and that is why he gets fans to vote for him.
Ramirez, on the other hand, should feel fortunate that the Dodgers play in the worst division in baseball and just have to tread water until he returns to the lineup in early July because the woeful Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks and Rockies have little chance of making a playoff run.
Over the next few weeks this story will only pick up more momentum as thousands of Dodgers fans each vote the maximum of 25 times to help push Ramirez into the top three outfield vote getters in the National League. I then expect Ramirez to be forced into making the most important public relations move of his career. Decline the invitation to St. Louis and quietly go back to earning the respect of his teammates and the fans of Los Angeles. If he decides to play in the game after blowing off several opportunities to appear in past All-Star games, he will only bring more negative attention to his already embarrassing situation.