A bit more on "Vote For Manny"

If you think my “Vote For Manny” is actually about wanting to embrace the pro-steroids stance, please read on.

If you think my “Vote For Manny” is actually about preventing the most worthy of players, such as Raul Ibanez, from getting selected to the All Star Game, please read on.

If you understood that the “Vote For Manny” is one part satire, one part sarcasm, one part fun, one part grandiose hopes the rules of the game will somehow change to make sense…. feel free to read on even though you already get it.

So what is “Vote For Manny” and why did I create it?

The issues surrounding Manny, the All Star Game, PEDs represents the “perfect storm” for MLB. Now, I am not a Bud Selig basher, but there are things he’s done that I am critical of, just as I am complimentary of other things he’s credited with. Having Manny, by far the highest profile player to test positive under the current testing rules, coming off his 50 game suspension a week prior to the ASG is unquestionably brutal timing for MLB. Currently, the rules state that a player cannot be part of the ASG if he’s suspended and Manny won’t be mid-suspension. I am sure they wish Manny isn’t among the three highest OF vote-getters in the NL. Maybe that will be the case, maybe not.

The rules are out of whack and sometimes we need to make a travesty of something to enact change. Sometimes you need to do something radical to rally for change.

I do not want to see Manny in the All Star Game. Are we clear on this? I started the “Vote For Manny” site to illustrate the joke that the voting, the “this time it counts”/World Series home field advantage rule, the mandatory representation, the still-soft PED rules…has become. I want to see the best players selected, not the most popular. Ibanez is worthy and will have a spot on the team no matter what; his manager is managing the NL team. Not to worry, Phillies fans.

Here’s how I’d change the All Star Game:

  • Make the game an exhibition, like it used to be. Let the fans vote however they wish. If a contingent of fans wish to stuff the ballot boxes for one player, so be it. Each team will have a representative, no matter if they deserve the spot. (So those of you crying that Manny being elected a starter will take a precious spot, cry about the “mandatory representation” rule first.) We can play 9 innings, no extras. If it’s a tie, so be it. Each manager will try to get every player in the game. At the end of 9 innings, shake hands and get ready for the 2nd half. No chest-thumping. It’s an exhibition.
  • Or make the game count for something (even the stupid WS HFA). But, if you are going to make it count, then first cease the mandatory representation and have the best 32 guys play. Then have a three pronged election for the starters (fans get 1/3, players get 1/3 and managers get 1/3). It’s not perfect but it’d be better than what we have.
  • My point is this: You cannot have a game that counts with a selection process that is fit for an exhibition. It’s dumb.
  • Also, a new rule: any player dinged for PEDs cannot play in an ASG within the next 12 months of the beginning of their suspension. That covers players who get caught in the 2nd half of a season so they can’t be selected in the following ASG.

Let’s also dispatch with the “what if Manny IS selected as a top 3 OF?” stuff, shall we? Manny has always come up with a phantom knee injury or some reason to NOT go to the ASG. Why will he start now? Answer, he won’t. If Manny is indeed selected as a starter, I am quite certain his agent, Scott Boras, will carefully craft a statement which will politely thank the fans who voted, but Manny needs to focus on helping the Dodgers get to where they want to go in the 2nd half. There is no way Manny steps on the field in St.Louis. None. That means he does not take up any other deserving players’ roster spots. Pierre, Ibanez….whoever.

The other, larger, more complicated issue this “Vote For Manny” site highlights is the lack of a deterrent the 50 game suspension actually is. Manny lost some $7m during his suspension, but he’s made well north of $200 million over his career. So what has he lost? A shot at the HOF? A bit of pride? Some fans? Do you really think he cares? Really? When Manny is done playing and living on his own island, will he really care? Would YOU? Here’s my question: If you were promised $200 million once you were done serving a 1 year jail sentence, would you serve the time? Would you risk the shame and embarrassment for generational wealth? So what’s the deterrent to players using PEDs? Entrance into a museum? Or the chance at untold lifetime wealth?

And what about the “Steroid Era”? Given the popularity, the voting results, the resiliency of the game, is anyone really upset anymore? I mean, besides some of the chest-thumping writers and HOF voters? Manny is a cult hero in LA and was one in Boston. ARod’s back to bashing HRs in the Bronx and cheered nightly. The game is littered with those implicated with the PED label and each player is cheered when he does something good for their team, booed when they don’t. Isn’t it crystal clear that the fans are completely sick of hearing, reading, seeing stuff about PEDs in the game? We root for the laundry. I’m no ARod fan, but when the player wearing #13 hits a game winning HR for my team, I am happy.

Speaking of ARod, after some thought, I will not create a similar site for ARod for one simple reason: He did not test positive for PEDs in 2008-09. He admitted to prior usage, whether we choose to believe his story or not. He has not tested positive this season. That’s a big difference.

The perfect storm is on the horizon: Manny being elected a starter in the ASG. A vote for Manny is merely a statement to MLB that the rules need to be changed. It’s not a vote for Manny, the player. Sure, the LA fans might actually want to see Manny, but that only highlights the point earlier; fans root for the laundry.

I hope this clarifies the reasons for my “Vote For Manny” concept. If you still don’t get it or disagree, that’s OK with me. I welcome the discussion. I enjoy the debate. Just please keep it civil.

UPDATE: One additional thought which I neglected to mention: If you are an NL fan of a contending team, would you want Manny ON your team to help possibly secure HFA? Forget the PEDs, if you can. If you close your eyes and imagine the top 3 NL OF, is Manny really NOT one of those three? Manny in LF (Braun?), Beltran in CF, Ibanez in RF. Pretty solid.

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.