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Talkin’ Baseball

May 30, 2009

Since Celisse has been doing most of the posting here lately, I figured I would swing it back over to my little area of expertise (my area of little expertise?): baseball.

News out of Los Angeles (and you know.. everywhere else in the world) indicates that Manny Ramirez–the female fertility drug caused my suspension Manny Ramirez–is in fourth place in All-Star voting. Yes!

Once upon a time, the all-star game was about the best players of that half-season. Now, because of fan voting and baseball politics, it really only ends up being the best pitchers (since those are selected by the All-Star managers). I can’t really argue with the fact that a fan is going to vote for Ken Griffey Jr every year instead of Hunter Pence or Raul Ibanez, nor do I necessarily want to. The All-Star game is a bloated time period for MLB to celebrate the “stars.” You want Jason Varitek to play even if he’s 64 years old and hasn’t had a high average in 14 years. You want Derek Jeter to play even though he’s an awful defensive shortstop. You want Carlos Delgado to play even though he has a career threatening injury and obviously won’t be around. And perhaps most egregious of all, you want Manny Ramirez to play even though he’s been suspended with a steroid masking agent in his system.

I’m a baseball geek. I love the game. I love peering over stats and drafting the best fantasy team I possibly could. I love it all.

But the Steroid Era is driving me nuts. I can understand the “Steroids saved baseball” arguments involved with the Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa homerun chase. But I got back into baseball around 2004. You know why? Because Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte signed with the Astros. My team was a contender! And what do I know now? They were both cheating. Darn.

Anyways, the point of it all is that we’ve all been lied to, and in this era, we’ve all pretty much grown numb to any steroid news. When the Alex Rodriguez stories broke earlier this year, I paid very little attention to it. A friend of mine was so upset, because he felt that through all of the Giambis and the Bonds and the McGwires and Caminitis, we had a new Ken Griffey Jr. in ARod. Someone that could break all of the records clean. A natural talent.

And with Manny, we had someone who didn’t care. Someone who could be so much more than he was if he were just a bit more disciplined and a bit less “Manny being Manny.” You’d watch Baseball Tonight and hear about Manny working off a tee because it’s smart and he just works so hard and we don’t even know. When the news originally broke about his positive test, and he released the statement that he didn’t realize a substance from his doctor was banned, well, you wanted to believe him. Forgiving nation and innocent until proven guilty and all of that. But the story started to peel away layer by layer until there was nothing left but a guy that seemingly took steroids and a masking agent and lies pretty high up on the lists of all kinds of baseball records.

Everyone should be furious. Frank McCourt was. But they’re not. They’d still rather vote for him to be in the All-Star game. Because he’s a star and all. It’s just maddeningly shocking to me how many people will call into radio shows or blog about how annoyed they are or yell about the purity of the game and then make sure to punch out his chad on those ballots.

If you want to go ahead and vote for how awesome someone who is banned until right before the All-Star break is, knock yourself out. He won’t play anyways. Or maybe he will, because he’s “just being Manny.” However, I’ve gone ahead and reviewed some stats, and here are 10 more (or just as) deserving outfielders in the national league (and a couple stats).

Shane Victorino: 58 hits/198 at bats. .293 average. 32 runs, 25 rbi.
Matt Kemp: Has played in every game this season. 57 hits/189 at bats for a .302 avg. 11 stolen bases.
Raul Ibanez: .343 average (with 178 at bats, ridiculous). 17 homeruns. 46 rbi for his 46 games played. Leads all NL outfielders in both RBI and runs scored.
Adam Dunn: Has a higher average than usual (.276), 16 homeruns. 42 rbi. Leads all NL Outfielders with 39 walks (still has 51 strike outs but is showing increased patience).
Carlos Beltran: As much as I don’t like Beltran, he’s having a deserving year. .352 average. 31 runs & rbi. 15 doubles. 7 stolen bases even with his bum knee.
Carlos Lee: Coming back from a broken finger that ended his season to a .315 average. 8 homeruns. Only 15 strikeouts.
Ryan Braun: Basically identical stats to Carlos Lee. .315 average. 8 homeruns. .432 OBP/.533 slugging %.
Hunter Pence: 59 hits/168 at bats for a .351 average. Since he’s on the Astros (which are … not good), his run/rbi numbers aren’t very high. But I still give him a vote for the average.
Brad Hawpe: .333 average. 36 rbi. 13 doubles/2 triples/6 homeruns, meaning half of his hits are for extra bases.
Justin Upton: .329 average, 9 homeruns, 12 doubles, 4 triples, 6 stolen bases and 33 runs. .606 slugging percentage.

Manny has better stats than some of these outfielders, sure, but he’s played about 20 games less than most of them, and is, you know, banned right now. Plus, stat inflation from the whole cheating thing. I guess, unfortunately, I can’t be sure that all of the people I’ve selected are clean, and I get that.. but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. Most of them aren’t stars, and most of them are still quite young, but maybe you should get to know them. Do it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 30, 2009 8:52 pm

    i hate the way all-star voting is done these days. what happened to the days of going to an actual game to cast a ballot? ughh. i also hate that people are still voting for manny, because that is just ridiculous. the whole thing just makes me sad and makes me want to invest a lot less emotional effort into the sport (which makes me even more sad). it kills me that ANYONE could be a cheater at this point. i don’t want to know about anyone else using steroids, i just can’t handle it!

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