Manny Shocker Benefits The Giants

Now how do you feel about the Giants not bringing in Manny Ramirez as a free agent?

Today's bombshell news of Manny Ramirez testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs means the dreadlocked-out left fielder will be suspended for 50 games. The suspension is effective immediately. Ramirez is not challenging the suspension, so he will be unavailable to the Dodgers until July 3.

As a Giants fan, forgive me for looking at this "bombshell news" instead as a "really really super awesome Christmas gift."

I don't mind pointing out that your San Francisco Giants are right now comfortably ensconced in second place in the NL West. Regardless of today's outcome against last-placed Colorado, the Giants will retain second place. And guess which team is ahead of them in first.

Yep,  that team you hate now finds itself being rocked by the blockbuster steroids scandal.

It's only May -- so this windfall could become meaningless to the Giants with one bad losing streak -- but we do have a whole month of baseball in the books here. And if you take out the Dodgers, every other team in the NL West has played more poorly than the Giants thus far. 

Phil Rogers points out in the Chicago Tribune how last year, pre-Manny, the Dodgers were only a .500 team. Now they're out Manny, plus also the hard-hitting asset Jason Bay whom they traded for Ramirez. So until July, the Dodgers have absolutely nothing to show for that trade.

It is a very realistic possibility that the Giants could ride their marginally-impressive combination of solid pitching and Bengie Molina's bat to a division lead when Ramirez returns in July. At that point, the Giants could trade for another solid bat and perhaps -- gulp! -- contend this season. 

Rooting over another team's misfortune might be unseemly. But this is the Dodgers, and Ramirez did break the rules here. One can reasonably assume that many of the Dodgers wins came courtesy of these banned substances, so the franchise does deserve a significant consequence.

 And the Giants deserve a nice shot at first.

 Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is not owning up to all that "We should sign Manny!" smack he was talking in March and April.

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