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Home of the Jets
October 31, 2010

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Manny Being Manny

Whenever I see a sports documentary it often brings up the question: "Where were you?" For instance, let's say you are watching one on the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry. Where were you when Aaron Boone took Tim Wakefield deep to win in '03? I was watching that game on a 13 inch screen in my dorm room. Here is a tougher one. Where were you when news broke about Manny Ramirez testing positive for steroid use in early '09?

When I got a call from a friend telling me Manny would forever be tainted it made me happy. Up until that point it seemed all of the well known guilty steroid users were Yankees. Look at Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Jose Canseco. Of course Canseco was a Yankee for ten seconds and put his 2000 World Series Ring on eBay. Yet every photo of him when he admitted to being a steroid user was him in pinstripes. Come on. He was a "Bash Brother" with Mark McGwire in Oakland. McGwire finally came clean last year. Nice try, Mark. Your career will always have an asterisk next to it. Barry Bonds remains like Clemens as he denies every accusation.

Why couldn't they be like Manny and fail drug tests? "Manny being Manny" must now include not being able to spoil drug tests. Rafael Palmeiro failed a test and then disappeared. He had no problem lying to Congress a short time before that. Manny served the suspension after getting busted in '09 and came back with a flurry for Dodger blue. I know one Dodger fan crazy enough to buy a Manny Dodgers jersey.  

For the longest time, Manny Ramirez was considered the best pure hitter in baseball. These were the years from when his career began in the mid-90's and stretched more than a decade. Comparisons to Ted Williams were not out of the question. Even though Teddy Ballgame never would have used the bathroom behind the Green Monster during a game, Manny was a rare talent at the plate.

As a Yankee fan I remember how good Ramirez was as an Indian. All I know is whether he had that or the Boston uniform on, he was a Yankee killer. He always seemed to hit a big home run against us. His pose at home plate drove me nuts. Sometimes he would hit the ball and stand at home plate long enough to see it clear the wall for a home run. Sure, it did not take long since many of his longballs were laser line drives. For some reason, though, the Yankees and other teams never went up and in on Manny. He always looked to be way too comfortable. Maybe that was why it was so easy for him to dominate the game through his prime.

Before being busted for steroid use in '09 this guy was a first ballot Hall of Famer. Too bad. As great of a player as Manny was, he simply does not belong in the Hall of Fame. When he failed a second test just days ago he told the MLB he would retire. Not even a press conference. The guy whispered he would retire and then disappeared. Where is the press conference? At least guys like A-Rod and Pettitte admit what they did. Then there are clowns like Clemens and Bonds who continue to lie. My favorite, though, are guys like Ramirez and Palmeiro. Their careers were set. Just walk away and get the call in five years. Then in six years I would walk by your plaque. Instead, they both failed tests which is an automatic no entry into Cooperstown.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Really Rangers?

What a difference a week makes. It was just a week ago that the New York Rangers were looking up in the playoff race. They were trying to go from seventh to sixth. That way they could potentially face off with the Boston Bruins when the playoffs began. Who wants to play the Washington Capitals? If the Rangers were to finish seventh their fate would be Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps in round one.

"Playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs?" To quote the always bad coach Jim Mora is how Ranger fans feel today. Sure, they had a run of ten games where they went 8-1-1. But they picked a great time to lose against two teams with backup goalies in net. With just four games left and three points separating eighth to ninth place it is starting to feel like last year.

Even with Henrik Lundquist playing on the top of his game, the Rangers seem destined for an early vacation. Of the four remaining games, two are against conference contenders, Philly and Boston. The Thrashers and Devils will be tough tests also. Especially when you consider this fact. The Rangers can't score.

Two seasons ago they had the Capitals down 3-1 in the playoffs and wound up being eliminated. Their problem was the inability to score goals consistently. The Rangers' General Manager went out after that season and signed Marian Gaborik. He had a strong first season but the Rangers did not make the playoffs. Then this season, he has not even scored 25 goals and guess what? They still can't score and are dangerously close to not making the playoffs.

The Rangers have scored a combined five goals in their last five games. The Islanders beat them 6-2 last night. The Isles had nothing to play for. Their season has been over. Somehow, though, they played like the hungry team. The Isles have a pair of 30-goal scorers. When lines remain the same throughout the season it's easy to score goals. For some reason Ranger coach John Tortorella thinks by changing lines like underwear is a good idea. Have a bad shift? Benched. Take a bad penalty? Benched. Be on a line that scores in five straight games then go one without a goal? Have fun playing the next game with two new linemates. It's easy to win the Stanley Cup with Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, huh coach? This clown can't even get through an after game press conference without being a douche to another beat reporter. Just because any ONE of those reporters could do a better job coaching does not mean you get to be a sarcastic (insert word here).

All of a sudden tomorrow's afternoon showdown in Philly is more than a must-win game. It is an opportunity to regain their playoff push.

"It's now or never..."