Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he doesn't think suspended outfielder Manny Ramirez should be an All-Star this year, even though fans have him fourth in voting at the position.I agree; Manny hasn't done enough on the field. However, because of the stupid "this one counts" rule, Manny could (by some) still be considered a Top 3 NL OF. To channel my inner Herm Edwards: "YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!" because this game counts...for some lame reason.
"No, I don't, and if you ask Manny, he'd give you the same answer," said Torre. "I understand a lot of it is a popularity contest and you want to give the manager the best players, but to me, the significance of the All-Star Game is to reward players who had a good first half."
The reason for this whole "Vote for Manny" thing is that the rules of the game are in conflict with each other. The fan vote (and while not relevant here, the mandatory representation rule) is made for an exhibition, but instead, the game counts. This is dumb. Profoundly so. If you want the game to count, fine, pick the Top 32 players via some other voting mechanism (fans/players/managers each having a 1/3 vote, perhaps?). But if the fans will continue to pick the starters, then it will remain, as it always has, a popularity contest. Smaller market guys or guys having an incredible first half will always be overlooked by the bigger market guys or established stars. And I haven't even yet touched the fact that a player suspended for PEDs is protected by the CBA and allowed to appear in the ASG. Talk about rules in conflict.
Notice, too, that Torre said that Manny shouldn't be an All Star, not due to his suspension, but the lack of production, implied as a result of the suspension.
"Manny's popularity is why he's gotten votes. Realistically, he didn't have, except for reputation, a right to be an All-Star. It probably isn't the right thing for him this year, from the baseball aspect, I've got to think.""From the baseball aspect". Not "because he tested positive and was suspended for PEDs" folks. Then again, teams under Torre's stewardship don't exactly have a sparkling record, PED-wise, do they? So the PED suspension has no bearing on Torre's opinion. NONE. So why should WE let it bother us, too? WHY? Not saying it's right to conveniently ignore that little fact, but the eventual HOF manager Torre doesn't care much about it either.
If you want to keep Manny off the team because you want other guys, more 2009 deserving guys, selected, that's great. Go for it. No complaining from me. But if you have a fundamental issue, as I do, with the rules surrounding the "midsummer classic", then raise your voices. And I am doing that with the Vote For Manny site. If Manny is not among the Top 3 NL OF, then we're just perpetuating these farcical rules, pushing off the changes that sorely need to be fixed.
I'll mention this because I've heard it asked: "what does this tell the kids?" or "what about the kids?". Use this as a parenting opportunity. That what I have done. Tell them some people cheat to win. Tell them that life ain't fair sometimes. Doesn't make it right. I also tell my two boys that professional athletes are not people to idolize. It's MY job to instill what I see as good values in my children. Watching Manny (or ARod, or any other PED user) take the field doesn't give anyone license to justify cheating any more than seeing someone shoot a gun on TV makes that OK. Teach your kids right from wrong. Don't leave it to athletes or an All Star Game.
Lastly, no matter the voting results, I still believe that there's NO WAY Manny takes the field in St. Louis.