While the Mets hope to rebound from a lost weekend in Philadelphia amidst the backdrop of the Manny Ramirez Circus coming to Citi Field, Fox’s Tim McCarver expressed revulsion this weekend over his network’s treatment of the Spacey Slugger. Though the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick might well have penned McCarver’s words, the columnist finds the broadcaster’s protests a tad hypocritical.
On the Fourth of July, Fox chose not to present the national anthem prior to its Mets-Phils telecast, but it did choose to interrupt the first inning to show Manny Ramirez’s first at-bat in his second game back from a drug suspension, an insert from the Dodgers-Padres game.
“It’s almost as though Manny Ramirez is being treated as if he’d been on the disabled list for 50 games. … Why all the adulation for a guy who has served a 50-game suspension when guys like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and A-Rod served no suspensions, yet they’re branded?”
McCarver next noted that Dodgers-Padres wasn’t originally scheduled to be shown by Fox in the New England market, but the return of Ramirez changed that. “We jumped right on the wagon, too.”
Apparently, McCarver hadn’t received a copy of the plan, the one ESPN and Fox have been working from: We’re all supposed to love Manny Ramirez, unconditionally.
Perhaps, too, McCarver’s magnificent spew, Saturday, was in part designed to forgive his own senses-defying commercialism. In 1999, he co-authored a book, “The Perfect Season: Why 1998 Was Baseball’s Greatest Year.”
Turned out that 1998 was baseball’s most shame-filled year, with a few more that came close, still to come. Yup, right after McGwire and Sosa combined to hit 136 home runs, McCarver jumped right on that wagon, too.
Of course, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it’s pretty easy to paint McCarver as a shill for Baseball’s Great Recovery. So Tim McCarver wasn’t the guy who found the andro in McGwire’s locker. Neither was Mushnick. That McCarver might’ve been an accessory to the crime during the PED era makes him no different than countless journalists, managers, baseball executives and fans. If only those who pointed a finger at McGwire and Sosa (sans evidence) a decade ago have a right to express an opinon on Manny Ramirez, it’s going to be an awfully short conversation.