Right Field

Who’s That River Cat?

Manny Ramirez will make his 2012 debut tomorrow for the Sacramento River Cats, the triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, as he prepares for his big-league return following an aborted retirement and subsequent 50-game, PED-related suspension. He is expected to join the parent club 10 days later.

Mike Todd of USA Today objects to the affiliate’s decision to mark Manny’s presence with a promotion:

So we have a question for the River Cats. What message are you sending to kids when you promote a two-time drug cheat? The same one that dads send to their kids when they give a standing ovation to a player returning from drug suspension — steroids, cocaine back in the ’80s, or other. When the player has done nothing to rehabilitate his standing, maybe with some community work?

Seems the message is clear: We don’t care about your character or kid, as long as you can paint the corner of the plate at 98 mph or take that fastball over the wall in left-center.

End of rant. Thank you.




If Rangers fans get to celebrate cocaine abuser Josh Hamilton’s remarkable on-field accomplishments* — oh, and ditto for his skipper, Ron Washington — and Jays fans give Brett Lawrie a standing ovation less than 24 hours after his batting helmet-hurling meltdown at home plate, and Dodger fans cheer for James Loney even after endangering the lives of fellow motorists due to his reckless driving, why can’t folks in Sacramento show some love for an aging, comical slugger who has done his time?

Would you prefer the club fete Governor Moonbeam instead?

* To paraphrase former MLBer and friend of NR Bob Tufts, when may we expect to see Hamilton reimburse the Tampa Bay organization for the $3.96 million they wasted invested after making him their no. 1 pick in the 1999 amateur draft?

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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