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News » Ramirez could be in All-Star Game Fifty-game suspension will end July 3

Ramirez could be in All-Star Game Fifty-game suspension will end July 3

Ramirez could be in All-Star Game Fifty-game suspension will end July 3
Disgraced, at least for now, Los Angeles Dodgers star Manny Ramirez will be eligible to return to the club after his 50-game suspension on July 3 in time for a weekend series at San Diego. The highlight of that weekend will be the Sunday evening announcement of the All-Star teams for the July 14 midsummer classic at Busch Stadium. And, yes, Ramirez would be eligible.

It will be up to the fans, and perhaps the players, to determine Ramirez's fate, and both have been highly supportive of the dizzy, yet talented, performer in the past. Ramirez has been elected an All-Star by the fans on nine occasions, two with Cleveland and the rest with Boston, and he was the American League's top vote-getter in 2006 when the Cardinals' Albert Pujols won the National League vote. Since the players' balloting - to help flesh out the squads - came into play in 2003, Ramirez has been selected among the top three outfielders in the American League in four of the first six years.

Ramirez might not win in the players' balloting this year because of some potential backlash from his suspension for using a banned substance. But the fans may have a different take on the matter, and if Ramirez makes the National League squad, the evidence would be even more substantial that the public does not care nearly as much about the steroids issue as the media does.

Why Baseball is held to a different standard than, say, pro football in these matters has baffled me. Ramirez has been suspended for nearly one-third of a season, and already the posturing about whether he has lost his Hall of Fame shot has begun in earnest. Why worry about this until 2016, the earliest Ramirez would even be eligible for the Hall? And why is it that we seem so consumed by Ramirez missing one-third of a season when, for instance, San Diego Chargers star linebacker Shawne Merriman was suspended for one-fourth of a season (four games) three years ago for a steroids violation? Not only is that latter happenstance largely forgotten, but Merriman was even named to the Pro Bowl (fans and players are among the voters) after that 2006 season.

The only conclusion I can draw is that Baseball is such a numbers-driven sport, and Manny's numbers are imposing. As for whether Ramirez is setting a bad example for today's youth, come on. When has he set a good example? As to the effect Ramirez's absence will have on the National League Western Division race, forget about it. The Dodgers are comfortably in first place now, and they'll be comfortably ensconced there two months from now because the division is so weak, there is a real possibility that all four other teams will finish under .500.

Interestingly, although Ramirez, who batted .396 with 17 homers and 53 runs batted in 53 games last year for Los Angeles, gave the Dodgers a presence they didn't have before the last two months of the season, the Dodgers were a modest 30-25 after they made the trade to get him from Boston and 54-53 before the deal.

NEWS ITEM - Chicago White Sox lefthander Mark Buehrle, who pitched a no-hitter two years ago, took a perfect game into the seventh inning Thursday before Detroit's Placido Polanco broke it up with a double. That was the only hit Buehrle allowed in eight innings as he raised his record to 5-0.

HUMMEL'S TAKE - Any sort of continuation of this trend and Buehrle finally will get to realize one of his dreams, getting to pitch in Busch Stadium (if not yet for the Cardinals ). The Francis Howell North product has a leg or two up on being named to the American League team for the All-Star Game here, and although this is his 10th season with the White Sox, he never has pitched professionally in St. Louis. The White Sox haven't played here since June 15-17, 2001, and Buehrle didn't start a game in that series sweep by the Cardinals , who beat Jon Garland, Kip Wells and David Wells, in that order.

While Buehrle, who a couple of times let it slip at Baseball writers' dinners here that he'd like to play for the Cardinals sometime, would be well received by local fans in July, there are a couple of former Cardinals who also might find their way back to a prominent game here.

Although he lost Thursday, righthander Jason Marquis is 4-2 for Colorado, which doesn't have Matt Holliday as its automatic All-Star anymore. And Scott Rolen has been hitting above .300 all season for Toronto, which has had the best record in American League.

Both were members of the 2006 World Series champion Cardinals , although Marquis was not on the World Series roster. Both, however, left with a sour feeling and they might not be treated as warmly by the fans here as Buehrle.

NEWS ITEM - One starting All-Star player from 2008 who probably won't make it back this time is Houston first baseman Lance Berkman, who fanned four times Thursday to drop his average to .184.

HUMMEL'S TAKE - Berkman, one of the good guys in the game, will be missed, but perhaps he shouldn't be on the same NL squad with Ramirez.

Asked about Ramirez's suspension, Berkman told the Houston Chronicle, "I wasn't surprised. I think that anybody that makes the game look clownish is under suspicion because it's just not that easy. It's unfortunate that here we go again with another round of steroid questions.

"I don't know exactly what he tested positive for, but I heard from a reliable source that it was not for a steroid, but for a masking agent for a steroid," Berkman said. "So if you're taking masking agents, it's not shocking that you would not test positive 15 times in a row. I don't know. I don't know enough about it. I'm no chemist."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 10, 2009

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