Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's A Pretty Shaky Excuse for a Column for Bill Plaschke

It's another 30 column inches of schlock for the LA Times' Bill Plaschke, who has used up all of his monthly quota of love extolling the virtues of the Lakers, and now has to turn his vitriol toward the Dodgers, specifically, Manny Ramirez. Even if it's not Manny's, or the Dodgers', fault in the first place.

Plaschke's latest piece of crap, "It's a pretty shaky suspension bridge for Manny Ramirez", contends that the rule allowing Manny to play for the Isotopes to warm up for his MLB return is plain wrong, in the world of Plaschke:

Something needs to be done about the rule that allows banned major leaguers to play in the minors.

While the Dodgers were playing the 42nd game of Manny Ramirez's 50-game suspension Tuesday, Manny Ramirez was doing something very strange.

He was playing for the Dodgers.

Except he wasn't. He was playing for the Albuquerque Isotopes. Albuquerque isn't even in the state of California, last time I checked. Oh wait, this is creative license of hyperbole in which you utilize fallacious statements to emphasize a point! My mistake:

Well, not exactly, but close enough, as he was playing on a Dodgers-sponsored team, with Dodgers-funded teammates and coaches, in a stadium where a portion of the ticket revenue is sent to Major League Baseball.

Manny Ramirez playing for the triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes is as weird as the word Isotope.

Because the word "Albuquerque" isn't all that weird, right?

Why is Ramirez allowed to play there? Why is Ramirez allowed to play anywhere? Since when are players allowed to turn a rehab assignment into a detox assignment?

Well, Bill, this is exactly what the rules of baseball state: every suspended MLB player has the right to a rehab assignment, as Jon Weisman deftly pointed out two days ago. Maybe you're too busy drinking the Lakers' koolaid that you haven't had time to study the rulebook, or even read the Dodgers blog from your own damn paper.

And by the way, Bill, in case you've forgotten: Laker Lamar Odom violated the NBA's anti-drug policy and was suspended twice, allegedly for marijuana use to which he confessed. But you've had no problem overlooking this similar transgression as you praise the virtues of Odom's gutty performances for the Lakers.


And why can't baseball punish a guy without also apologizing to him?

Why can't LA Times subscribers get an apology from you for wasting valuable article space in the already wafer-thin, Sports section?

Under the current rules, I don't blame the Dodgers for sending them there, and it's hard to blame Albuquerque for trying to make a few bucks off the circus, but there is something fundamentally wrong about all of this. I blame the entire major league baseball system -- from the commissioner's office to the union to the individual clubs -- because nobody saw this coming.

I blame LA Times Editor Russ Stanton for your column. And LA Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein. And my paper delivery person, who can't find my doorstep with a map. And Gutenberg, for inventing movable type printing. And Steve Gutenberg, for playing Sgt. Carey Mahoney in the Police Academy movies, on top of "The Bedroom Window." And Moses Hightower, Tackleberry, and that guy who makes all those crazy sounds.

In the meantime, Ramirez's suspension continues to look increasingly like a nice vacation for him and a financial windfall for the Dodgers.

Yes, the reason for the Dodgers to introduce Bleacher Beach and Free Parking promotions definitely indicate the team's "financial windfall" since the suspension. No attendance gaps here to speak of while Manny is out!

Think about it. During the suspension, Ramirez had reaped all the rewards of being a Dodger without any of the responsibilities.

Actually, Ramirez received none of his salary for the 50-game suspension, sacrificing $7.7M of his salaried contract. But yeah, other than giving up $8M, you're right, he's reaping ALL of those other rewards. Like, er, continued use of his parking space on non-game days. And a 10% discount at the Top of the Park store. And free MLB Gameday Premium.

Ramirez is playing for the Isotopes for free. And have you seen those Isotope uniforms? Surely, a man deserves pay for wearing that.

He has been allowed clubhouse and training room and field access without ever explaining how and why and when he violated baseball's drug policy.

Access to the field and clubhouse is limited to only when the team isn't there, as MLB made clear. As for his need to explain the details of his suspension, that isn't mandatory, either. And certainly not to you, Plaschke, self-appointed keeper of the confessional booth.

The Dodgers have taken care of his every need -- from cough syrup to batting-practice baseballs -- without once asking him to be accountable to the community that they once considered a priority.

Again, you're wrong. Frank McCourt called out Manny to apologize to the team and Dodger fans. Which I have to say, I always thought was a little ridiculous, since I don't think McCourt has the right to tell Manny what to do. And as for the cough syrup, wow, I'm glad you called that out, Bill. Robitussin D is a pretty important point to reference.

Talking with [Minor League Baseball President Pat] O'Conner and major league officials Tuesday, it became apparent that the Ramirez case has caused both parties to reconsider Rule 9(i), and it will be revisited this winter.

"It's a new era, and would something like this be deserving of at least a conversation?" O'Conner said. "Maybe so."

Aha, so the lengths of all of your bombastic muckraking only result in a slight "maybe" from Pat O'Conner (who talks a lot like Jim Tracy, answering his own rhetorical questions)? Well done, Bill!

Here's another one for you: "Would man landing on Jupiter to establish a human colony in the next decade be deserving of at least a conversation? Maybe so." Or how about this one: "Would the opportunity to have flames shoot out of my eyeballs on command as a superpower be deserving of at least a conversation? Maybe so."


Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Diamond Notes has video of Plaschke on ESPN explaining how by not going to Albuquerque he is protesting Manny's rehab. Let's just ignore the idea that nobody really cares that he is not in New Mexico, but that he finds that people should, and that he believes his absence can actually change things. Gandhi, Chavez, and now Plaschke.

QuadSevens said...

So Plaschke doesn't think Major Leaguers who violate the drug policy should be allowed to play a rehab minor league assignment. Did he even notice that J.C. Romero of the World Series defending Champion Phillies did the exact same thing last month? And why wasn't he mad about the fact that Romero tested positive for androstenedione near the end of August, but took his case to arbitration which allowed him to pitch during the postseason and World Series? Very interesting.

MR.F said...

Who's Bill Plaschke? That name and person does not exist to me. Such creatures prey on attention. Best to ignore them.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

In the immortal words of Allen Iverson, "We sitting here, and we're here talking 'bout practice. Not a game. Practice."

Josh S. said...

*stands and applauds*

Neeebs (The Original) said...

I don't even read Plasche anymore. Why waste my time. He brings nothing to the table. And MLASF, for what its worth, I am confident that the LA Times did not have a travel budget for Plasche even if he wanted to go to Albuquerque. So it is a hollow protest indeed.

I don't know why there are highly qualified and respected sports journalists who have been laid off in recent years and Plasche still has a job.

Eric Stephen said...

Steve Sax,

This is brilliant. You are doing God's work, with this excellent take down of Plaschke.

Anytime you can reference Police Academy, and make more sense than Plaschke himself, you deserve kudos. :)

Josh S. said...

So Randy Wolf has had a persistent cough because the Dodgers gave all their cough medicine to Manny?

On a more serious note, he should be careful tossing around terms like "drug offender". That signifies criminal activity, not someone who was punished by their employer for breaking a workplace rule. It's borderline libelous.

Eric Stephen said...

Josh S,

Way to connect the dots to Randy Wolf. I love it. :)

Rafa said...

Is this the birth of I for one certainly hope so. He is a waste of space and time.

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