- A year ago Manny Ramirez was in the process of running himself out of Boston. Over the course of about a month, he had shoved the team’s traveling secretary to the ground, taken a few nights off against tough pitchers and laughed it up following an error against the Angels. Put simple, he had the public approval rating of President Bush.
Now Ramirez has a new cloud over his head. Once considered too stupid to even know how to use steroids, a 50 game suspension suggests he was just stupid enough to get caught. His run of 11 consecutive All Star Games was halted, his legacy tarnished. Now, he’s got the public approval rating of Bin Laden.
That’s not going to change. No one is going to forget about the suspension and the diehard baseball fan will never forgive him. He’s probably a long shot to ever make the Hall of Fame. But that’s not going to stop him leading the Dodgers back to the playoffs, as he did last season when he delivered one of the great two-month stretches in the history of the game.
In fact, you could argue that his suspension will only benefit the Dodgers. (How typical for baseball. Even when they get something right, it goes wrong.) Now he’s going to be fresh when everyone else is trying to battle through the dog days of summer. He’ll be just hitting his stride as pitchers are reaching the 175 inning mark, which means he might be able to put up numbers that trump what he did last season.
And if that happens, you can count on the Dodgers being around in October… And early November.
- Tiger Woods might be the greatest golfer in history, but his sport and his personality only allows him to be interesting for about seven days all year. Think about it: There are four majors in golf, plus the Player's championship. That’s 20 days. Most sports fans might follow Woods on Thursday and Friday, but we don’t actively watch. That leaves ten days, and if you assume he’ll play poorly on at least three of those days, Tiger is relevant for a week a year.
My point? Tim Lincecum is more exciting, more often than Woods.
- Looking back at my baseball predictions at the start of the year, my American League picks are still in tact. I had New York, Boston, Detroit and Seattle making the playoffs. Today, I’d change only the Mariners.
The National League is a different story. I had the Mets winning the World Series, and they might finish under .500. I thought the Braves would take the Wild Card. And I had the Cubs winning the Central by the All Star break, and they’re three games out. It looks as though only the Dodgers will come through for me.
But hey, who’s watching National League baseball anyway?