Manny Ramirez Will Have No Dents for the Dodgers Come Playoff Time

Sean FlanneryContributor IMay 7, 2009

The other day I called someone a "Sunday Driver."  The moment it left my mouth, I knew I was going to sound like an old man, but it was too late and my wife—who is younger than me—was laughing like I just called the neighborhood kids a bunch of "grubby lay-abouts".

"What does that ridiculous phrase mean?", she asked.

I explained that a Sunday driver is some one who only takes the car out on Sundays for Church.  My dad always claimed our cars where inherited from a Sunday driver, because their cars are always in mint condition.

Likewise, the Dodgers are now going to take the tarp off a mint-condition Manny Ramirez just in time for the playoffs. 

Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and all the other MVP candidates have to worry about nicks and dents from parking on the street and driving to their jobs every day.

Not Ramirez.  He sits in a heated garage until the playoffs start.  He's going to run like the day he was purchased, which is why this drug test could be a blessing for the Dodgers:

1) They should still walk away with the NL West, given how weak it is.

2) They save $8 million dollars.

3) They get a guaranteed-to-be-healthy Ramirez back in time for the playoffs (pretty much repeating their experience with him last year).

Sure, the clubhouse could be negatively effected, and maybe the suspension will cause Ramirez to return with a cold, unpracticed swing, so you can not necessarily say it's a stroke of good fortune, but I do think, in some cases, a drug suspension could help a team (if they play in a weak enough division).

Take Rich Harden.  If ever there was a pitcher designed for Sunday driving, it's Harden.

He's unhittable when healthy, but chronically injured and never ready for the playoffs.  The Cubs would almost be better off with him testing positive for steroids, so he can't injure himself during an inconsequential month, and they save money on his contract.  It's almost like a time-share for pitchers.

My ultimate point is that maybe MLB will eventually need to consider a team penalty, too, so that teams cannot benefit from a positive drug test.  

Because right now, they can just pull the car out on Sunday morning, fill it up on premium, and then coast past all us poor saps.