OK, so we all knew this would happen.
Manny Ramirez currently sits outside the top three National League vote-getters for the outfield position and Joe Torre made his case known today.
Torre believes that the All-Star Game should benefit the players who experience the best first-halves of the season. He also stated that it has become a popularity contest.
The MLB's current rules for the All-Star Game allow for fans to select the starting lineups for the games. However, how does the league ensure that the players that deserve to be there, get there?
Manny Ramirez was caught using performance enhancing drugs and was suspended—and you're telling me that this guy deserves a spot on the National League All-Star roster?
Give me a break.
Sure, you could point to his .348 batting average and six home runs to make a case. Manny was suspended for 50 games—that is more than a significant part of the first half.
You could even take a different approach to it. Manny could have gotten injured for 50 games, and would you vote for him?
Let me take a step back. Of course, you would.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have immortalized Manny Ramirez in their city. They have the whole "Manny-wood" thing going on, and they are marketing him like crazy.
You can bet that even when he gets back, the marketing train will continue to chug along. And the fact that he has been marketed to the extent of making a ton of MLB fans sick, has also caused a huge dispute in the All-Star voting.
Fans are voting for Manny simply because they want to see him play in the All-Star Game—not because he has hit well in the first half. He could have batted .050 with one home run, and he would still be in the position he is in now.
Manny's potential presence in the All-Star Game means that one unlucky National League outfielder could get shafted. It would be a huge disappointment to see Manny in place of someone much more deserving after a strong first half.
If Manny Ramirez is voted into the All-Star Game (and he elects to play) it will be a disappointing day and a step back for baseball.