Manny Getting Screwed?
What you saw happen to Manny Ramirez in last night’s Dodgers-Mets game might be something you want to get used to.
The Dodgers beat the falling Mets by a score of 8-0 last night. However, like throughout most of Manny Ramirez’s career, this was yet another night where the final score took a backseat to Ramirez’s antics.
Manny was thrown out in the 5th inning after the umpire ruled Manny out on a pitch that, to many, was clearly outside of the strike zone. Manny then walked off and tossed his batting armor in the direction of the umpire and was tossed from the game. Afterwards, Manny said that the umpire simply got the call wrong.
But I’m not here to talk about whether or not that was a strike (and it wasn’t), I’m here to speculate as to whether or not Ramirez’s apparent expanded strike zone was the result of an umpire self-rectifying yet another player done in by steroids.
Yes, that’s right. I’ll throw it out there! Maybe the umpire was a little more lenient with the strike zone when Manny was up, because he, like many fans, are tired of the Manny act—especially after he got dinged for 50 games for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
But that’s just one umpire on one night, right?
Maybe. Then again, maybe it’s not. Maybe this is something that Manny might be facing for the remainder of the season. Afterall, many players have been known to go entire careers, decades, seasons and series facing expanded strike zones because of their size, stance or lack of plate discipline. However, is an expanded strike zone as a means of continued punitive punishment fair at to Manny?
In my opinion, the answer is both yes and no.
On the no side, you have the obvious. Here you have a baseball player that has paid his suggested debt to the game by sitting out for a third of the season, and thus there’s no reason to continue punishing him by treating him differently from every other batter that steps into the batting box. It’s just unfair and shouldn’t be done.
However, on the side of the argument that says it’s okay to have this exact type of retribution against Manny, there is one good point. That point being that Manny has probably seen a relatively smaller strike zone than most, as his eye for pitches and their location has been the best in the league for quite some time now, and certainly, other umpires have come to respect that and have probably given Manny the benefit of the doubt on hundreds of occasions. Thus, if you’re an umpire today, and you or other umps you know have given Manny smaller strike zones for 2, 3, 4, 8, 12, 15, 17 seasons, then perhaps you think it’s time he start earning back the respect he was granted when no one thought he was cheating.
In that respect, I can understand an umpire’s position. Now, no such umpire should come out and admit to that, but I have no problem with an umpire who feels as if Manny has to earn a normal strike zone, nevermind the one he probably used to enjoy when everyone thought he was steroids-free.
That’s just what I like to call a little social vengeance. And as long as it’s justified as suggested, I’m really not going to complain about it.
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