Manny for Homecoming King

Let the debate begin:  Should Manny Ramirez represent the Dodgers and Major League Baseball in the 2009 All-Star game?

Who needs a hat??

Who needs a hat??

No one can deny the talent Manny possesses, and the fact that he is a true All-Star of the game of Baseball.   Few know of the work ethic he has established to maintain his legendary hand-eye coordination and balance  in the batters box.  He brings joy to so many with his antics and boyish love of the game.  Even the critics have to laugh at the strange plays that develope more frequently around him than any other leftfielder in recent memory.  Rarely do you see one outfielder go out of his way to get involved in a relay throw from another outfielder, or high-five fans at the wall in the middle of a double play.  Rarely?  How bout never.  That’s just “Manny being Manny”, a prime example of the forgiveness he’s afforded.

And through all of the good times, there seems to be a strong continued support for Manny even now after a 50-game suspension for breaking the leaugue’s banned substance policy.  No matter the broken hearts and the embarassing deconstruction of his own Section in Dodger Stadium, there is still an overriding majority of fans who support his cause.  None of this is more evident than the fact that he trails Carlos Beltran for the third outfielder in All-Star voting by less than 35,000 votes as of today.  

Manager Joe Torre expressed his position, saying he didn’t think Manny should take part if voted in.  He also obliged that Manny would probably feel the same way at this point.  So why does Manny continue to receive so many votes from his fans?  It’s for the same reason Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds were such polarizing athletes in the media and in the fan’s homes:  Persona.  While Bonds and McGwire shunned the media and presented a holier-than-thou attitude for most of their careers (ok, McGwire lightened up a tiny bit at the end), Manny has always been the exact opposite. 

In front of fans and the media, he has always played the role of an average Joe who happens to have an exceptional talent.  Manny is jovial, he’s carefree, he’s so damn talented, and the fact of the matter is fans have and always will appreciate Manny.  They continue to ignore the contract disputes and the back talk he’s become famous for while airing his disputes in the media.  If nothing else, Manny is this: Popular.  And let’s not forget the All-Star ballot is a popularity contest won over and over again by good players in big markets.  The player with the better first half does not always win, and in no case (outside of farewell tours for retirees) will this be more evident than in 2009.

Manny being voted in this year will make for more fodder than journalists will be able to keep up with, and we are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg.  As a fan of Baseball and spectacle, Thank You Manny Ramirez for creating this ongoing debate for months to follow.

Manny completes a triple play, but gets credit for only two outs.

Manny completes a triple play, but gets credit for only two outs.

One response to “Manny for Homecoming King

  • Jason

    This re-enforces the idea that fans forget. I’m a fan of baseball, I love to see great players no matter what team they are on.

    As a fan I don’t care but if I was in the game I would be appalled a guy caught cheating the game that he could be voted in to the All star game, not the “fan votes for the most hyped ESPN player” game. I might be an old school baseball head but I don’t believe the fan vote matters in a day when you can vote 10,000 times from one machine while sitting at work.

    He should sit the game no matter where he is voted in but baseball is at fault for letting anyone caught using steroids to be voted in the All Star game the same year. Thanks Bud for screwing up our mid summer classic with your thoughtless application of your rules.

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