Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Manny Ramirez, who left the game in shame in May, returned to his first action 250 miles to the west of here Tuesday night to loud cheers.
And the reception the slugging LA Dodgers outfielder, who is about to complete his 50-game suspension for a positive steroid drug test, only confirms what I and other expect: the media cares a lot more about steroids than the public does.
Ramirez, who has more than 500 career home runs, played four innings for the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate. He was hitless in two at-bats.
The first of what could be three appearances with the Isotopes drew 15,321 fans -- largest in Albuquerque baseball history. According to the Associated Press, there were some scattered boos early on.
But those were drowned out by cheers that grew louder as the approached the plate for the first time. And the cheers only got louder. Many fans were wearing the fake Manny dreadlocks wig and signs of support were seen in the stadium.
I'm sure when Ramirez returns to the Dodgers, "Mannywood" out in leftfield will be in full throat again. Hale the return of the conquering hero.
For the public, at least for the players on their team, they don't care about steroids. It's like making sausage. Don't tell me how it's done behind closed doors, just show me the finished product.
Now fans will get up in arms if a player on a rival is caught, but if it's their guy, it's more of the attitude that they're just doing what a lot of people were doing and all he was trying to do was get better and help my team win.