Ramirez to return to Dodgers next season

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Thumbnail image for manny ramirez option.jpgManny Ramirez will be a Dodger again
in 2010. His agent Scott Boras informed general manager Ned Colletti on
Friday that the 37-year-old slugger
would not exercise the escape clause in his contract.
As part of the two-year, $45 million contract that Ramirez signed in
March, he had the option to re-enter the free agent market after the
season. Instead, Ramirez elected to return to the Dodgers for the price
of $20 million.



“Obviously, he enjoys L.A.,” Boras said. “If he went into the
marketplace, the real negative was that he could end up playing in a
place he wasn’t comfortable playing.”



His decision shouldn’t qualify as a
huge surprise considering the kind of season that he had. Ramirez was
off to a piping hot start, batting .348/.492/.691 with six home runs
and 20 RBI until he was suspended for violating MLB’s
performance-enhancing drug policy in May. But he just wasn’t the same
hitter upon his return, batting an underwhelming .269/.389/.492 with 13
home runs and 43 RBI. He risked making considerably less on the open
market.




Ramirez continues to be a liability
in left field, but anytime you can have one of the most feared
right-handed batters of all-time in your lineup, it’s pretty hard to
complain. With one of the most potent outfields in the sport, Colletti
will turn his focus to finding a taker for the remaining two years and
$18.5 million left on Juan Pierre’s contract.

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

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On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

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It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.