Life is not fair; get used to it.â€ťâ€“ Bill Gates
America is a forgiving place. Itâ€™s also unpredictable, which makes for an interesting cocktail.
Tonight, a sold out Petco Park will witness the return of Manny Ramirez from his 50 game suspension for being in violation of MLBâ€™s drug program, the first time since Neifi Perez tested positive for stimulants in June and July of 2007 that an active MLB player has been suspended in mid-season.
It also is the first time that baseballâ€™s highest profile player comes back from a drug suspension.
To cover the event, 150 press credentials have been granted by the Padres. The game is sold-out, marking only the third time this season that Petco Park will be filled to capacity
As mentioned, America is a forgiving yet unpredictable place. Ramirez will be booed in some quarters, but for the most part has been given a pass on his PED use transgressions. Wisely, he has taken a page out of Jason Giambiâ€™s and Andy Petittieâ€™s playbook: admit you were wrong, take your lickings, lick your wounds, and deal with the fallout.
You wonder how Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds or even Alex Rodriguez would be viewed if they had done the same. Manny gets a pass, where others have not. American's don't care much for lying. As mentioned; unpredictable.
Is it fair that Ramirez seems to be getting a pass for his failed drug test? As Gates is quoted above, life is not fair, get used to it. The world is an unlevel playing field; always has been.
In a further sign of interest in the game, Fox's Prime Ticket will add an extra right-field camera for the event. The RSN will also have a special road edition of the "Dodgers Live" pregame and postgame show to cover Mannyâ€™s return. No word on whether Manny will do to the Western Metal Building what he did to the inside of Green Monster scoreboard, but if so, cameras will be at the ready from every angle.
It all is the circus that is Manny being Manny, and you can bet your dreadlock wig that the Dodgers will be the beneficiary of the return at the cash registers, regardless of whether he comes back in mid-season form.
For MLB, it means moving past a potentially embarrassing moment, or rather, a moment that was embarrassing, but had a player with incredible barstool likeability at its center. Baseball surely must be signing in relief knowing that Ramirez wonâ€™t be in the All-Star Game, unless Charlie Manuel selects him, a long shot to say the least.
So, tune in tonight. Those with MLB Extra Innings will be able to catch the game on DirecTV channel 694 and Cox 4 in the San Diego area, blackout restriction apply.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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