Well, it's official. Manny Ramirez is set to return to the Dodgers line-up this Friday (tomorrow), after serving his 50 game suspension for violation of the Major League drug policy.
As if the Dodgers needed him. They're leading all of baseball presently with a gut-busting 50-29 record; they look like a shoe-in for Series contention, and the season isn't even half over yet.
What is it with Ramirez? Sloppy uniform, dreadlocks, headscarves, dirty batting helmet, scruffy beard, out-of-shape 30 pounds of gut, the attitude, his lack of hustle, the cheek? What's with this guy?
No argument about the guy's talent. He's scary at the plate. Maybe Pujols is better, but not by much. Maybe the problem is these guys get sour on the idea of professional baseball being a business, not a game or a fan-club or a fraternal society. Maybe for some of these minority guys, they feel like outsiders, so rather than try to fashion themselves into an acceptable version of the ideal player, they assume the role of spoiler, of "bad" boy. They're cut extra slack, because they know they're good enough that there are different rules for them. They can play hooky and act "gansta" 'cause they got license. Why should we expect talented athletes to be model citizens? Once a jerk, always a jerk.
I do wish Ramirez would go on a diet, trim the dreads, take a shower, and pull his pants-legs up so his uniform at least looks like he means business. The pant-legs under the heel-spikes is definitely counterproductive. Was it Bonds who started that shit? Whoever.
Wouldn't it be great if some Irish ump told Manny his uniform wasn't regulation, and sent him back to the clubhouse? Would Manny throw a tantrum like George Brett did when they caught him pine-tarring his bat? That would be sweet.