|MLB Looks Bad Concerning Ramirez||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on December 10, 2011
Let's say I kill someone, and I botch it badly enough that the cops figure it out and are coming to get me.¬† I'm facing 20 years mandatory, but before the cops can grab me I flee the country.¬† Ten years later I come back to the country and say I want to serve my sentence, to make good and become a member of society again.¬† Does the judge void half of my sentence, because for 10 years I had to change my lifestyle and couldn't go to work? Or fail to punish me for fleeing to begin with?¬† Fail to punish me for leaving the ruins of a family in my wake?
While the Rays still won the Wild Card on the last day of the season, Boston's collapse rather than the Rays' success was the biggest factor. ¬† The Rays lacked offense, ranking eighth out of the 14 teams in the American League in runs scored.¬† Without the bat they thought they had hired as part of their grand 2011 plan they didn't match up with the best in the league and when they faced Texas in the ALDS, that bat was sorely needed. ¬†Needless to say the Rangers rolled over them.
Ramirez is a star and a character and the game certainly is more colorful with him in the mix, but shortening his suspension is akin to telling players that they can escape punishment for use of performance enhancing drugs if they are big enough in the game.¬† And in this case you have to wonder if he were a player of lesser statue and less name recognition if baseball would bend its own rules -- and its "mandatory" suspension for him.
Certainly this is not what Bud Selig promised the fans either in negotiating a policy on steroids and PEDs, or with his own words when Ramirez skipped out on his punishment last season. ¬† Back then MLB's official stance was "If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed."
And the point is that Ramirez served none of it so far.¬† Yes, baseball's lords have taken the official stance that he missed 156 games last year, so by making him sit for 50 games more that amounts to a 206-game suspension.
Ramirez fled.¬† He didn't man up and say I was wrong I'll do the time.¬† He didn't say, yes I have a problem and I need to get cleaned up, or offer to do some community service to bring himself back into the good graces of the public and powers that be.
No, he chose to retire rather than face the music or even admit that he was in the wrong.¬† Now baseball wants to reward him for it.¬† It sets a bad precedent, not just in terms of evading justice, but in showing the MLB's drug policy with its mandatory punishments are a joke which can just be dismissed with a wink and nod between representatives of the MLBPA and Bud Selig's office.
Mr. Selig, there should have been no leeway on Ramirez serving his entire suspension.¬† He broke the rules, he chose to retire rather than serve out that suspension, in the courts we'd call that evasion of justice, not time served.¬† By letting him get around that both the MLBPA and the office of the commissioner are betraying not just the fans, but all the players who agreed to amend the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to clean up the game.
And from where we are sitting, it looks like the dirt is piling up around your knees once again.