August 30, 2014

Joe Torre Headed Back to St. Louis!

According to Bill Shaikin, Joe Torre has been named to the National League’s All-Star coaching staff.  While this seemed like a no-brainer, it’s good to see.  It’s also a homecoming of sorts for Joe.  From Shaikin:

Torre played for the St. Louis Cardinals for six years and managed them for an additional five. He won the NL Most Valuable Player award as a Cardinal in 1971, when he hit .363 with 24 home runs and 137 runs batted in.

Hopefully Joe will be able to use his influence to get some of those well-deserving Dodgers players on the team!

Philly Fans Getting Riled Up Over Manny Ramirez’s All-Star Votes

ballots

Update:

the latest voting results (6/1) show Manny in 5th place for an outfield spot with 635,530 votes. He trailed Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun (908,745), Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez (817,849), the Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano (775,319) and 1st place vote getter Carlos Beltran (741,875). Milwaukee’s Mike Cameron was sixth, about 100,000 back.

Those Philly fans are an ornery bunch just about all the time. Try showing up to an Eagles bar wearing anything other than a green NFL jersey on Sunday and see how you are treated.

These days, however, their ire is directed squarely at one Manny Ramirez. That’s because Manny is still a leading candidate to start in left field for the NL team. That leaves the Phillies’ Raul Ibanez, who is having a stellar season, out in the cold. Ramirez has a comfortable 50,000 vote lead as of Sunday, even though he is currently serving a 50-game suspension courtesy of Major League Baseball.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for Manny Ramirez to get the starting slot ahead of Ibanez. The Phillies’ left-fielder is 36 and playing one of his best seasons ever. Through 49 games, Ibanez is batting .333 with 17 home runs, 46 RBIs, 40 runs, and 4 stolen bases. Ibanez is a serious standout in the NL right now (regardless of position) and should be recognized for his achievements.

However, we get to the crux of the issue that irks Philly fans so much these days – the voting system that powers everything from American Idol to the All-Star Game…the popular vote! Popular voting doesn’t guarantee that “All-Stars” will actually play in the game – it merely ensures that the most popular players for any given position are selected.

Ever since Sanjaya practaically made it to the 4th place spot on American Idol, we’ve learned all to well how the popular vote can be used for evil as well as good. The drama that unfolds is pretty captivating – as Sunday’s Philadelphia Enquirer showed us. Take a look at the first selection from the mailbag addressed to John Gonzales:

How can Manny Ramirez be suspended for 50 games and still be ahead of Raaaaaaaul Ibanez by 50,000 votes in the all-star voting? I know a name carries a player in voting, but this system is really ridiculous. I don’t care if the Phillies make the All-Star Game. I just worry of the integrity of the game itself.

- Mike

Mike,

You’re absolutely right. It’s crazy that Manny isn’t even playing and yet he’s way ahead of Ibanez – a guy who’s having arguably the best season of anyone in the National League right now.

I wouldn’t worry about the game, though. Whatever “integrity” MLB had vanished when it shipped a bunch of fools and liars to D.C. to talk about steroids with some other fools and liars.

These days, baseball focuses less on integrity than it does on the ballpark experience. MLB is about summer evenings at the park and Dollar Dog Nights and beach blanket giveaways. Just go with it.

- Gonzo

Wait a minute…since when did integrity come in to play here? Has the All-Star Game voting been compromised in some fashion? Did officials from some big accounting firm get it wrong somehow? Has MLB let us down by changing the rules on how the All-Star Game’s players are determined?

The answer to the last three questions above is NO. Fans have decided that the All-Star game should be more about celebrity and popularity then about statistics from the first half of the season. They are voting for the person they want to see (and see perform) during the game – and so far that person is Manny Ramirez, not Raul Ibanez.

You know who isn’t complaining right now (other than Manny Ramirez)? The Fox Broadcasting company, who will surely get better ratings with Manny in the lineup than Raul Ibanez

Manny Sneaks In While Team Hits The Road

Well, Manny Ramirez decided to show up and do a little of that batting practice that Frank McCourt asked Manny to do…only he decided to do it (conveniently) while the team was on the road.

Huh?

I guess that’s better than nothing, but it speaks volumes about Manny’s interest in listening to the team and playing an appropriately active role while being suspended. Is taking batting practice and running the bases in Dodger Stadium (when no one is there) any better than staying away and continuing his regimen? I believe it’s actually worse, since he seems, more than ever, to be snubbing his teammates and the front office.

What’s the reaction of fans? To vote him into the All-Star game, of course! As of today, Manny is #4 in the voting with Where is Manny at in the voting with 1,213,423 votes. If he does end up getting sent to the All-Star game, can you imagine what his behavior will be like post-suspension?

I am bracing for the aftermath already…

Let the All-Star Voting Begin!

2009 MLB All-Star Game

With the season just about 1/4 over, it’s time to begin turning our attention towards the 2009 All-Star Game and voting for the right Dodgers to represent in St. Louis at the Midsummer Classic this year.  According to the voting rules, fans can vote online up to 25 times through July 2nd, as well as at the stadium (of course).

Needless to say, there are a number of intriguing options for LA fans to choose from, and we’ll be analyzing those over the course of the coming weeks.  Of course, the one situation that stands out is that Manny Ramirez is listed on the ballot and Juan Pierre is not.  While Pierre has been a breakout star of the team this year, I for one am a little dubious that he can maintain these super-human numbers over the course of the season (let alone the All-Star break).  Still, does he deserve All-Star consideration?  Absolutely.  The guy has been a key part of the Dodgers success since the Manny Ramirez suspension and his attitude has just been fantastic.  The guy is a gamer and wants to play, and for that I have nothing but respect.

Here’s where Pierre and Ramirez stand now, head to head.  Obviously Manny is suspended through the completion of All-Star voting, but Juan has a chance to significantly improve his stats and mount a legitimate write-in campaign.

                          At Bats   H   HR   RBI   AVG   SB   OBP   SLG

Juan Pierre      74        31   0       12   .412     7     .476  .554

M. Ramirez      92        32   6       20   .348    0     .492   .642  

Pierre apparently doesn’t have enough at bats to rank in the official MLB stats, but what’s even more interesting is that Manny Ramirez doesn’t either (a player needs an average of 3.1 plate appearances per game to qualify).  Still, can you imagine Manny Ramirez being elected to the All-Star Game this year?  Given that the voting tends to be more of a popularity contest than a true appreciation of fantastic play, it should be very interesting to see where Manny Ramirez’s name falls in the voting rankings.

Start thinking about those All-Star votes and we’ll see you at the ballpark!