Looks like the campaign to get Manny Ramirez voted to the National League All-Star team might need to prepare a concession speech at some point.
Ramirez, the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger who is serving a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy, dropped to fifth among NL outfielders in vote totals released today.
Last week, Ramirez ranked fourth, trailing Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran by just 34,080 votes for third place and the final spot in the starting outfield. Ryan Braun of the Brewers and the Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano were 1-2 in the voting last week.
This week, everyone in the top five other than Braun was leapfrogged by the Phillies’ Raul Ibanez, who surged from sixth to second. He trails Braun by 91,000 votes. Ibanez, who has never made an All-Star team, is batting .332 with 17 homers and 46 RBIs and a 1.079 OPS.
Ramirez’s drop in the voting comes despite the publicity received by the blog “Vote For Manny 2009,” which pushed for the former Sox star to make the All-Star team partially as satire, but also to encourage changes in MLB “in hopes the rules of the game will somehow change to make sense.”
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said this week he didn’t believe Ramirez should make the team.
“No, I don’t, and if you ask Manny, he’d give you the same answer,” said Torre. “I understand a lot of it is a popularity contest and you want to give the manager the best players, but to me, the significance of the All-Star Game is to reward players who had a good first half.”
Online voting started April 22, two weeks before Ramirez was suspended. Balloting ends June 28.