L.A. Daily News "Opposites Sketch": Manny Ramirez As Sportsman of The Year

Don SpielesCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2008

This morning I simply wanted to browse some headlines on the Internet.  The next thing I know, I’m reading a link to the Los Angeles Daily News that reads, “Manny Ramirez, Sportsman of the Year.”  To quote Clark W. Griswold, the master of exterior illumination, “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.”

What in the world could the criteria be when Manny Ramirez is even on a list of “Sportsmen”, let alone at its peak.  I suppose I’m just looking at it the wrong way.  This award cannot have anything to do with actual sportsmanship because Ramirez spent a good deal of time in 2008 trying to be the antithesis of a good sport.

How do you look back on the year where Ramirez dogged it on the field to gain a trade, started a fight with a teammate in the dugout, decked an elderly front office employee, and gave scathing interviews about the team he was a member of and then say to yourself, “Oh, yeah!  Manny’s sportsman of the year!”?

What you have is just the latest chapter in what will be the very polarized biography of arguably the best right-handed hitter ever to swing a bat.  The same man whose legacy will forever be tainted by the negative just like fellow legends like Bonds, Clemens, and McGuire.  They had steroids, Manny has his childish lack of class.

You can’t really blame the LA press for such a transparent move.  Ramirez was all sorts of friendly with them after joining the Dodgers.  Once his end-of-the-season free agency was assured, he began to play to the level he’s actually capable of instead of the pseudo-Manny that jogged to first (when he played at all) in Boston all July.  Plus, it will take a major miracle to keep Manny in Dodger-Blue for 2009 since all he is worried about is the highest bidder. 

Not that the LA Daily News "Sportsman of the Year" was ever prestigeous, but it has now fallen to somewhere between Arkansas Times “Best Mullet” award and the Scott Peterson "Husband of the Year" honors.

Sources which must remain anonymous (because I made them up) tell me that runners-up for this not-so-coveted distinction include both juicer Roger Clemens himself, as well as kidnapper O.J. Simpson, and steroid queen turned perjurer, Marion Jones.

You know what the saddest part is? Marion Jones actually was a runner up.