Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm Positively Radiant About This Manny Ramirez Story

A quick hit on this Wednesday, thanks to a few-days old article from Bruce Jenkins:

Freedom comes early

Manny Ramirez is scheduled to begin his minor-league rehabilitation Tuesday...

Which he did, batting lead-off for the Albuquerque Isotopes. Manny went 0-for-2.

The Isotopes got their name from the made-up minor league team in the Simpsons: the Springfield Isotopes. And no, I'm not kidding.

As a nickname, "Isotopes" is a good one. I also like the Las Vegas Area 51s, the Caribou Caribou, and the Tacoma Saks. Two of those last three may not actually exist. Or do they....?

I'm sorry, where were we? Ah--

...joining the Dodgers' Triple-A lineup in Albuquerque, and with his 50-game suspension not ending until July 3, the question must again be asked:

Let me guess:

Will Manny wear a radiation suit when he plays?

Or, will Jon and Kate ever get back together?

No? Okay, Bruce--you go ahead.

If you're being penalized for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, how are you allowed to play anywhere? Why should the Dodgers get a sudden surge of revenue from the minor-league crowds flocking to see him? It's a suspension, not a vaudeville tour.

I think Manny Ramirez would be a great vaudeville act. He could go on between Topo Gigio and Petrushka the Dancing Bear.

Back to the question posed by Jenkins. Manny has been suspended for 50 games. The reason he's able to play in the minor leagues before his suspension is finished is so that he's ready to play when July 3 rolls around. If he were not allowed to play until then, it would take him a few days more to get back into playing shape. This would effectively amount to a 55-58 game suspension, depending on how long it took him to get his timing back.

The same thing is done with players on the disabled list--a player can start a minor-league rehabilitation stint before he's eligible to come of the DL (if you're not familiar with it, MLB has specific lengths to its disabled lists. Most commonly used are the 15-day, 30-day, and 60-day). Again, this is done so the player can be ready to play at the major-league level as soon as he is eligible to come back.

And the Dodgers are not doing this for a revenue boost. Two reasons: 1) See above. 2) The Dodgers don't own the Albuquerque Isotopes--the Isotopes are independently owned (as are most minor-league teams). So the Dodgers really don't gain anything revenue-wise, though the Isotopes surely do: attendance on Tuesday night was an Albuquerque-record 15, 321, and by all accounts, it was a radioactive atmosphere!! (Rimshot) EDIT-- joke changed to reflect nature of isotopes, as the original joke was better to suited to ions...because I am an idiot.

Sorry about that.

Some may argue that the rules should be different for players serving suspension versus injured players coming off the disabled list. Perhaps the idea is that since the suspended player got himself into this mess, it's his responsibility to train on his own to be ready to play when the suspension ends. I guess I can see that point a little bit, but I really don't see a problem with the way it is set up now. And with the fan turnout Tuesday--and by almost all accounts, fans cheered Manny--I'm sure the Isotopes aren't complaining about the increased revenue and short-term fan interest.

More to the point, the current penalty system was negotiated between MLB and the MLB Players' Association when random testing began in 2004. Do you think the MLBPA will give ground on this issue, with negotiations for a new labor agreement on the horizon? Yeah, I doubt it, too.

The bottom line--Manny is not really gaining by playing these "rehab" games in Albuquerque. He's not getting paid, and the stats don't count. The minor-leagues are separate from the major leagues, but if Bruce Jenkins paid any attention to that, he wouldn't get to be able to act high-and-mighty in his columns regarding the steroids/PED issue.

But now Bruce Jenkins can feel better about himself, and the rest of us can just not care.

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Blogger Zinglebert Bembledack said...

Holy Cow, Slut, three posts in two days!

At first I can understand the, "if he is suspended 50 games, then why can he play earlier?" mentality. However, just as you pointed out, the point is to have the player in game-ready shape on game 51.

Hey, the Tacoma Saks are quite real. The are the current Super Bowl champions in my Yahoo fantasy league and the sixth championship in the past fifteen years for the Saks.

I can picture Manny in a vaudeville act along with Winona Rider and Yippy the back-flipping mutt!

So, are Radioactive and Neutron Dance popular songs played at Isotopes games?

Keep up the good work and hopefully I will be posting today!

June 25, 2009 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Slut Bunwalla said...

Good song references, by the way. And I'm glad the Tacoma Saks live on...

July 1, 2009 at 12:22 PM  

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