That's why Manny Ramirez' big minor league stint at Single-A Inland Empire was such huge news in Lake Elsinore, part of the burgeoning Temecula Valley out in Cali. If you lived in that awesome part of California that didn't border the Pacific Ocean, you'd get excited too about a rehabbing all star despite his nasty steroid smear. To wit, here's the video coverage of Manny's big first-pitch tater tot this weekend:
Lots of bobbleheads have implied that Manny somehow doesn't deserve to enjoy a minor league rehab stint before his 50-game suspension expires. It's as if these folks are lumping the minor leagues and the major leagues into one bucket, as if the importance of each is equal.
It's not. The owners and players both realize how valuable it is to have their big league players back in playing shape as soon as possible following the suspension. A fifty-game forced vacation is a fifty-game forced vacation for both the player and his team; there's no reason to punish everyone any longer just because one dude was dumb enough to dip into the wrong pile of pills. To imply that a team should suffer longer than the prescribed 50 games just to get the jerk back into playing condition is ridiculous. Allowing a player to rehab in the minors won't make the team any more or less 'vigilant' to control illicit drug use.
Besides, folks in Rancho Cucamonga need entertainment, too.
Video via Diamond Leung's outstanding Tumblr.