Sorry, but no.
I’ve thought about it, and here’s my list of PROs and CONs with regards to the very recent news that Peter Young and the Calgary Vipers are reaching out to the very recently suspended (50 games for violating the MLB’s drug policy) Manny “ManRam” Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles.
PRO: I would get to see Manny Ramirez play baseball, live, while he is still a prime hitter… and it would only cost me about $10 a visit. I’ll reserve judgement on Manny’s drug issue until more facts are released, but I’ve always liked Manny Ramirez the baseball player. I’m a fan.
CON: As I’ll be profiling tomorrow, I already like the Vipers 2009 Outfield, and having Manny on the roster until July 3, 2009, will just take at-bats away from the guys who will hopefully be battling for a league championship come September. This has “disrupts team chemistry” written all over it. This season looks promising for the Vipers; let’s not blow it on a publicity stunt.
PRO: News coverage, media exposure… hey, those NHL-hockey-only talkboxes on The Fan 960 might even realise that this city has a pro baseball team! The Vipers might even get local radio play-by-play! Lord knows we have enough radio stations around here.
CON: But it’ll be mostly negative press, won’t it? Another athlete fails a drug test in American sports, and is granted refuge in Canada – a la Ricky Williams and the Toronto Argonauts. The Golden Baseball League still doesn’t have all the Jose Conseco smell washed off yet. Manny’s not Jose (at least I hope he’s not), but it’s an optics issue really.
PRO: I’m a firm believer – and I’ve blogged about it here in the past – that this city is home to a lot of baseball fans that don’t know they’re baseball fans yet. The best way to get someone new to baseball hooked on the live game is… to get them to a live game. Manny would put butts in the seats of Foothills Stadium.
CON: But what about your core baseball fans? The Theoren Fleury gimmick – which only attracted an extra 500 fans to the game – was enough, thank you. Please, we just want to watch competitive baseball, not a carnival. At the end of the day, Manny Ramirez will not help the Vipers win the Golden League Championship.
CON: What does this say about the Golden League’s one-strike and you’re out drug policy? The optics here, even if the league has the best intentions, are bad. Giving a player who has failed a drug test in the past a fresh start and a new chance is one thing, but employing players who are currently under suspension for failing a drug test is completely different. The GBL will be seen as a nice little side-league for those who get caught cheating elsewhere. To quote Ogden Nash, No thonx. I don’t care about the whole “oh my god, think of the children” angle, but the league probably should.
It’s fair to say that the CONs render the PROs obsolete. You’re great, Manny, and I’m sure you’d love hanging out at Peter’s Drive-In, but I think it’s best we just stay friends.
Like this would actually happen, anyways.