The Fourth of July Weekend included the usual holiday fireworks throughout America, as well as the return of 500 Home Run Club member Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez completed a 50-day suspension for taking a banned performance enhancing substance. The fact that Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star, would be celebrated upon his return for such a monumental indiscretion says more about the warped mindset of a vocal segment of baseball fans than it does about the ethics of Ramirez.
Can it be that baseball fans dig the long ball more than they admire good sportsmanship and rule-abiding performers?
Ramirez , who signed a two-year, $45 million deal just prior to the season, said all of the right things after being busted for the use of the banned substance. He appeared contrite and apologized to his teammates. But when will all of these athletes learn that they cannot get away with shortcuts to stardom? As in the case of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and several other alleged steroid users, their talents already were superior to most of their colleagues before taking performance enhancers.
Los Angeles Dodgers fans had long awaited the return of Ramirez to the lineup in San Diego Friday night. There were 150 media credentials issued for the game at PETCOPark
"You've got a player who was suspended coming back from suspension," Padres president and COO Tom Garfinkel told MLB.com. "He's not chasing his 3,000th hit or 700th home run. We want to beat the Dodgers. That's what's exciting about this weekend. Full crowds here at PETCO…we'll have the uniquely San Diego experience."
Unfortunately, the experience of watching star players coming back after failed drug tests is getting pretty old.