With the Red Sox going wild and crazy, I figured I’d write about general baseball for a change. Yesterday, I stumbled across an article mentioning a Vote for Manny website. At first, I didn’t actually read the article and simply stewed in my rage that any baseball fan is dumb enough to pull a Bud Selig and basically ignore a superstar who used steroids while celebrating his padded accomplishments.
Today, I finally read the article. It turns out that the Vote for Manny website is actually a protest against Selig and Major League Baseball. The webmaster says it himself:
In a fit of insanity, I created a new site called
“Vote for Manny”. Why would I possibly try to help Manny get elected as
a starter to the 2009 All Star Game?
I think it’d
be wonderful to watch MLB (Selig & Co.) uncomfortably try to figure
out a new policy on the fly to keep him out of the game. Rather than
proactively inact a rule similar to the NFL’s “Shawne Merriman rule”,
the league is simply hoping that good ole Manny doesn’t get voted as a
starter. They can then strongarm manager Charlie Manuel into not
selecting Manny. (Even if Torre is his bench coach!)
Except one thing: We’re here to make sure Manny makes the Top 3.
Guess what? He’s already at #4 with over 1.2 million votes.
So what can you do?
Click here to VOTE FOR MANNY.
Vote early and often, kids.
Prior to seeing this, I was vehemently against LA’s treatment of this whole steroids issue. They have been embracing Manny, supporting him through this suspension and basically acting like Manny cheating is no big deal.
To some degree, I agree with them. Yes, most baseball players through the 90s and the beginning of the millenium likely took steroids, so in a way, the playing field was even.
At the same time, an even playing field does not mean any of this was okay. Every player found using performance enhancing drugs needs to be punished. Their image should become just as tarnished as Major League Baseball’s. They should be ineligible for the All-Star Game at the very least, and they should count their blessings to be allowed to play in the World Series and keep the awards that they artificially won.
Bud Selig will not do a thing about cheating. He does not care about the integrity of the game; he’s made that quite clear with his minimal action post-Mitchell report and his joke of punishment for steroid use. There is no reason for Manny to be eligible to play in the All-Star Game. After reading the point that Vote for Manny makes, however, I will vote for him as frequently as possible. I’d love to see Selig and the top brass at MLB handle this one.
The bottom line is that Major League Baseball – both players and management – have failed their fans in a major way. Let’s see if they make any attempt to re-establish some sense of morality into baseball.
The 79th All-Star Game was that of legend, both literally and figuratively. If that game can’t showcase the best baseball has to offer, I don’t know what can. The pitching was awe-inspiring, the offense was fighting, the defense was Ugglay at times and amazing at others, the stadium was gorgeous, and the ceremonies were spectacular.
Then there were the people; the media who made up a story in order to widen their audience, the citizens who displayed the worst New York has to offer, and the fans who succumbed to a version of mob-mentality that made them seem idiotic.
People claim that what happened to Jonathan Papelbon these last two days should be expected, that as part of a rivalry, a player often finds himself threatened by people who look to tabloids instead of facts for information and should simply let all of it roll off his shoulders. On a small scale, the aforementioned may be passably acceptable, however, when a pregnant woman is taunted and threatened, a point is reached where those threats are simply immature and disgraceful.
Papelbon never said that he should close instead of Rivera. What he did say, as reported by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (the paper that dubbed Papelbon “Papelbum”0 was, “If I was managing the team, I would close. I’m not managing the team, so it don’t matter. We’ve both (Rivera and himself) earned that right; us, by winning the World Series and having the opportunity of having our manager there and our team being represented, and Mariano by what he’s done for this role, we’re in Yankee Stadium and blah, blah, blah. It’s not that easy. Everybody thinks it’s a cut and dry answer, but it’s not.”
Papelbon later reinforced his comments by telling The Boston Globe that it is in his competitive nature to want to close the game. Add to the equation that Papelbon wasn’t the only one who expressed his desire to close and you get some irresponsible journalism. Francisco Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Angels also said that he would like to close, calling on the masses to judge by the numbers. Rodriguez leads the major leagues with 35 saves in contrast to Rivera’s 23 and Papelbon’s 28. The New York media, however, in the nature of rivalry, drew no attention to Rodriguez’s comments, which were enclosed by parenthesis as a type of side-note to the article, but rather targeted Papelbon.
Instead of an apology, the New York Daily News continued to fall short of the bar when columnist John Harper labeled Papelbon, “just cocky enough to be a true villain” and claimed that the All-Star Game was “something of a tribute to Rivera, the best closer ever,” and wrote that Papelbon should have just simply conceded to Rivera. I must have missed the memo that the All-Star Game was all about Rivera instead of Yankee Stadium, and the whole purpose of the event was to show for a half of an inning what majesty is embodied by: the legendary Mariano “Mo” Rivera.
If somehow the world of which John Harper speaks actually exists, then I suppose it was permissible of Yankee fans to threaten a pregnant woman who did nothing more than marry Jonathan Papelbon. Heck, I know I spend most of my free time watching pregnant women and yelling obscenities at them during a time in which they celebrate the achievements of their spouses.
The behavior of New Yorkers during festivities caused Papelbon to claim, “I wish I hadn’t taken [my wife].” Mission accomplished New York, although I am not sure what good New Yorkers accomplished by their display.
During a time when the nation’s most passionate baseball fans were celebrating the end of an era in baseball while watching the best players at their best, the New York fans and media were quite simply at their worst. Their behavior these past few days has been nothing short of a disgrace to a great city and a great franchise, and will forever mar the otherwise perfect tribute to the greatest sport there ever was.