Now if you turn your attention to the center ring, I give you Manny Ramirez, standing on his head while riding on the back of a flaming horse! Or something!
Ramirez, easing back into playing shape after a 50-game drug suspension, suited up for the Albuquerque Isotopes as they beat Nashville 1-0. Ramirez wore No. 99 for the Dodgers’ top farm club. He played four innings and was hitless in two at-bats. The capacity crowd of 15,321 was the largest in Albuquerque’s baseball history.
Fans lined the walkway from the clubhouse as Ramirez entered the field. They gathered near the dugout, clustering for autographs, and they seemed ready to forgive Ramirez for violating baseball’s drug rules.
“People love me everywhere I go,” Ramirez said before the game. “I’m excited to bring a lot of joy to a lot of people here. I feel good. I’m happy that I’m here.”
This will no doubt make the haters and moralists mad, many of whom think that Manny shouldn’t be allowed to live, let alone rehab in the minors before his suspension is over. On that note, I think I have come across the stupidest argument against Manny being allowed to rehab yet:
If someone goes to jail for 50 days, they don’t get released 10 days early so they can get used to the outside again. They have to adjust after their full sentence is completed. I know baseball and jail aren’t exactly similar, but the metaphor fits.
Except it doesn’t. Typically, a prisoner is allowed to leave prison several months before his sentence is over and go to a halfway house, the express purpose of which is for a guy to get used to the outside again. With all due respect to the minor leagues, they are like a halfway house in that, from Manny’s perspective anyway, they are not quite freedom while not quite being on restriction anymore either.
Sorry to get in the way of your Manny hate folks, but facts is facts.