For years when Barry Bonds stepped to the plate at any baseball stadium other than AT&T Park in San Francisco he was greeted with an overwhelming chorus of boos. Not only was he booed because he was the other teams best player but because he was considered the poster child for cheating.
Of the many chorus' of boos, none rang out louder than at Dodger Stadium. LA fans hated Bonds for many of the same reasons that other fans did. Not only was he the best player on the other team and the center piece for controversy in the grand old game but he was all of those on the Dodgers most hated rival.
Fans of the Dodgers could always boast that none of their guys cheated and disgraced the game in the way that a Giants player had. That all ended back in May when it was revealed that Manny Ramirez had tested positive for HCG which is often taken by steroid users who are looking to start the bodies natural testosterone production.
No longer could the Dodgers fans feel a sense of superiority as their players were no longer morally better than any other teams. So how did Dodgers fans react? Pretty much by shrugging their shoulders and saying "Yeah, it sucks that he's suspended but we'll just get through it and hope that the 50 games go by quickly and then we'll welcome him back to the club and resume our pursuit of a World Series title." Like Giants fans said with Bonds, Dodgers fans will say with Ramirez, "he may be a cheater but he's our cheater."
Tonight in San Diego, hypocrisy will be on a small display when Ramirez makes his return to the Dodgers when they visit the Padres. San Diego fans are practicing their boos while LA fans will cheer for him because he is "their guy". When the Dodgers return home, that hypocrisy will be on full display as "Think Blue" nation will welcome him back to Chavez Ravine with open arms.
Let it be known that I am guilty of that hypocrisy like all sports fans are. I am a Dodgers fan. Will I be rooting for him to help the Dodgers win a championship? Yes. Because I root for the team first above any one player. I will not argue the fact with any of the haters that Ramirez is a cheater. Like all cheaters Ramirez has disgraced the fans, the Dodgers and most importantly the game itself.
No matter what happens, the game is going to go on and someone is going to have to win a championship. I know that I enjoy any sport better when I have a team to root for so I will pick the lesser of all evils and root for the devil that I know.
Every team in major league baseball is a glass house that should not be throwing stones. All of them have some type of skeleton in their closets in which one of their own has disgraced the game. It's sad that with sports today we have no choice but to he hypocrites and use a double standard when it comes to our teams. In a perfect world there would be clear cut "good guys" and clear cut "bad guys" but unfortunately the golden years of sports have long since been bronzed, never to return.
Dodger fans will undoubtedly enjoy what Ramirez brings to the organization and will be excited about the fact that he returns to a first place team that has a chance to go all the way. Just know that it's a sad day knowing that the latest chapter in sports hypocrisy begins tonight in San Diego with a historically significant and proud franchise.