- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 5, 2009

SUNDAY’S BEST BET ON TELEVISION

While it will not live up to last year’s final, the matchup of Roger Federer and Andy Roddick at Wimbledon presents a chance for history. 9 a.m., Chs. 4, 11

SAY HELLO TO MANNYWOOD

Let baseball rejoice: Performance-enhancing drug user Manny Ramirez is back.

This is not an affront to justice or anything; the man served his 50-game suspension and was back Friday night in San Diego. What was a problem was the response he got.

The Dodgers star got a standing ovation from many fans. On the road.

Sure, there was a smattering of boos, but why weren’t they raining down on Ramirez with the vitriol of an angry audience? Maybe it’s because fans don’t really care about players juicing up — and maybe it’s really because it’s just Manny.

Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds are villains. Except at home games, they’re booed like they cheated the game. However much of that is for cheating or for their personalities, it’s the exact opposite with Ramirez.

Manny is a goofball, so America loves him. Fox did live look-ins Saturday for each of his at-bats. When he does something ridiculous, it’s just… well, you know the cliche.

Insert lame pregnancy joke here, but baseball fans seem willing to forgive Manny while spouting venom at other players accused of or busted for the same thing. Dodgers fans cheering their guy is perfectly all right, but the warm reception in visiting stadiums just doesn’t add up.

And it’s a shame the schedule didn’t work out, because Manny wouldn’t have gotten a West Coast ovation at Fenway Park. Maybe in October.