Manny Ramirez remains on baseball’s suspended list through July 3. Maybe I’m just dense, but I would think that a “suspension” through July 3 would mean that he would not be able to play baseball for any US professional teams associated with MLB until then. He could certainly play at a local park; he could play at a family picnic, he could play in a baseball league in New Zealand; but he would not be allowed to play in MLB or anything associated with MLB. Clearly, I just don’t get it…
Manny Ramirez will start playing this week for a Dodgers’ Triple-A farm team, the Albuquerque Isotopes. The rationale behind this is that he needs this opportunity to prepare so that he will be ready to play for the Dodgers as of 3 July. Sorry, but I take a different view here. He is on a 50-game suspension – not a trivial penalty for a non-trivial transgression of the rules of baseball – and it ought to be his burden to stay in shape/find someone to pitch serious batting practice to him/get himself ready for his return to the Dodgers. Why is he permitted to play for a minor league team when any of the other players on the Isotopes would be suspended and not allowed to play anywhere if they failed the same drug test?
Speaking of failed drug tests, here is a quote from a column by Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune attributed to San Diego Padres’ closer, Heath Bell regarding the Padres’ prospects for the rest of the season:
“We’re not out of the wild-card race and the Dodgers can’t play this way forever. We’re lying in the weeds.”
Based on that quote, I suggest that MLB should be testing Bell for hallucinogens sometime soon…
The Boston Red Sox celebrated their 500th consecutive sold-out game last week. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to that streak – - some very good teams, a stadium that is a baseball shrine, a stadium that is hardly cavernous, a dedicated fan base. What is somewhat surprising is that the economic slump has not interfered with ticket sales in any significant way. By the way, the Red Sox record during those 500 sold-out games was 306 -194 – - assuming my math is correct.
You have probably read about Bryce Harper – the 16-year-old high school baseball phenom who will get his GED and then leave high school to focus on playing baseball. He will be going to junior college next year and then in June 2010 he will be eligible for the MLB Draft. Obviously, he is doing this with de minimis the approval of his parents if not their orchestration. I hope this works out for Bryce Harper because the comparisons to Michelle Wie as a teenage phenom who flamed out will follow him around if this does not work out. Clearly, following the Michelle Wie path to athletic success over the later teenage years is not where Bryce Harper needs to go. Bonne chance, Bryce Harper.
By now, you must know about the latest negative event in the life of Ryan Leaf. A warrant for his arrest was issued in Texas based on an arrest for breaking and entering there – - allegedly to acquire prescription painkillers. Leaf was in Canada for some reason and was arrested by a border guard when he returned to the US. That led Dwight Perry to say in the Seattle Times:
“Further proof that old football habits die hard: Ryan Leaf gets intercepted at the border.”
On the same topic, Bob Molinaro had this item in the Hampton Roads Virginian Pilot:
“Down and out: There have probably been worse busts than Ryan Leaf, but none come quickly to mind.”
Molinaro’s comment started me thinking about some of the sports world’s monumental busts and after a few minutes of rumination, I came up with this list:
Reggie Bush – - too soon to tell?
And of course, if one is making a list of monumental busts everywhere, one cannot possibly leave out the name of:
Morganna the Kissing Bandit.
According to reports last week, Bernie Kosar filed for bankruptcy. It was not all that long ago that Cleveland Browns’ fans wanted Bernie Kosar to be a significant part of the ownership of the resurrected Browns’ franchise. Seemingly, there were two reasons for that desire:
A. He was not part of the Lerner family.
B. He had a reputation as a shrewd and astute businessman.
Well, at least the first condition continues to obtain… According to the court filings, Kosar owes the Browns $1.5M, his ex-wife $3M and a bank $9M on some real estate deals that have not worked out. Given that debt burden, one would suspect that Kosar will have to restrict some of his discretionary expenses. I guess that is yet another reason not to contemplate a weekend at Bernie’s.
Finally, since I used a Dwight Perry line above, allow me to close today with another one from the Seattle Times:
“Sleep, according to a new University of California study, is nature’s way of:
“a) Resetting the magnetic north of your emotional compass.
“b) Killing eight hours when there isn’t a Nats doubleheader.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…