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Should Manny Ramirez Be With The Team?

We are a little over a third of the way through the Manny Ramirez suspension, and to date Manny has been away from the team except for a brief encounter in Miami.

Reports over the weekend from the Boston Globe -- gee, I wonder what angle to the story they will take -- surfaced that Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt is furious that Manny is not with the team. Nick Cafardo reported:

If Dodgers owner Frank McCourt had his way, he'd kick Manny Ramírez to the sidewalk, void his contract, and say, "See ya later." But McCourt doesn't have that luxury, so he has simply asked Ramírez to do some very basic things to make amends for his embarrassing 50-game suspension.

He did address the team, so that's one off the checklist.

But that's about all he's done.

All Ramírez has to do is show remorse, take batting practice, be a presence in the clubhouse, and continue to help out the young hitters. So what is he doing? He's staying away.

The Dodgers expected Ramírez to come to Los Angeles after he briefly addressed the team in Miami last week. But Ramírez didn't. It's another act of defiance - a slap in the face to McCourt, who has been more than generous to Ramírez.

Manny did show up at Dodger Stadium to work out yesterday, but of course the team already left on their road trip. Does it really matter if Manny Ramirez is with the team or not during his suspension?

I'm as big a fan of the movie Major League as anyone, so I value a unified team, but I just don't think it matters whether or not Manny is around if he's not playing. If Manny was around, he might be able to help by offering pointers to or mentoring the younger players, but he can do that just as easily by picking up a phone.

With Manny around, there may even be a distraction for the players since there would undoubtedly be more reporters around, continuously rehashing the same questions over and over again. I spent about nine hours at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, in and around the clubhouse, dugout, and press box, and Manny's name was mentioned maybe a handful of times, if that.

Everybody knew Manny Ramirez moved to the beat of his own drum before he re-signed here. As long as he's ready to hit on July 3, he can do whatever he wants in the interim.