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Friday, May 08, 2009

Manny Suspension Just Baseball Being Baseball...


I'm truly sorry, kids. But if you're surprised by the latest news of Manny Ramirez getting a 50 game suspension for failing a drug test, then the real joke is on you...

Greg Maddux.

That's the name I throw out there on a regular basis. As in, "When Greg Maddux tests positive for roids, or it's revealed that he used them, then, and only then, will I be surprised."

Other than the Mad Dog, I pretty much expect every player, from the utility man to the biggest home run king, was experimenting with steroids during the pharmaceuticly enhanced era that was the mid 80's up until just a few years ago. Is it sad that I have to take such a stance? Of course it is, and it's why I can understand where guys like Bill Simmons are coming from. But for anyone to be "surprised" at this point, in my opinion, just speaks to their ignorance, and more importantly, their naivete...

Bill Simmons: Confronting My Worst Nightmare

Fact is. Out of the top 10 home run hitters over the past 25 years, only Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome and Frank Thomas have yet to be accused of taking the spike. That's Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Sheffield, A-Rod and Manny. All roid users. Then you have everyone outed in the Mitchell Report, and the 103 guys that allegedly tested positive in the same test that nabbed A-Rod. So by my count, we're talkin' about 120 guys that have been busted for using, and in most cases, we're only talking about stars. Throw in the hundreds of guys that have tested positive since the minor leagues started strict testing in 1997, and we're pushing the number awfully close to pandemic status. Screw the Swine Flu. From what the numbers tell us, you're more likely to run into a roided out MLB player than you are to get that shit! Then again, that logic would also tell you that the room you're currently in has at least 2 Chinese people, 1 Indian person, and 1/5 of a Jewish person in it. But let's not let facts get in the way...

Truth is, if you're shocked at this point, then you only have yourself to blame. Can you be disappointed? Of course you can. I know I am. For years I've marveled at Manny's ability to hit the ball, and while I'm quick not to attribute all that ability to steroids, I can't help but now look at his stats in a different light. And what's worse, is that Manny has always had the innate ability to make contact with the ball. So much like Bonds, it appears he just couldn't stand being forced to play as a lesser version of his old self. As a competitor I can understand that desire, but by no means does that make it OK. Not matter how you want to justify the reasons you used, I just don't wanna hear it. You knew it was wrong, and not only did you do it anyway, but you tried to cover it up. And just like I said in the case of Andy Pettitte, trying to tell me you got caught the first time you were doing something just isn't gonna fly. Even if that turns out to be true, it still means you thought about doing it about a million times before you actually pushed the plunger, and that premeditation speaks just as loudly as the actual use...

And let's just get this straight, too. No, Manny didn't test positive for steroids. He tested positive for HGC, a substance listed as banned by the MLB. From what I've been able to gather, HGC would only be used by a dude if he A) was coming off a steroid cycle and needed some extra testosterone or B) needed it to mask in a blood or urine test the fact that he was using anabolic steroids. That's it. From what I've read, it's NOT used to help you out in the bedroom. I liken that to the Roger Clemens statement in which he thought Brian McNamee was simply shooting him up with something that later turned out to be a local numbing agent. Right, cuz that makes sense. We're supposed to believe another athlete, that gets paid millions upon millions of dollars dependent on their body, is yet again shooting something into them with no idea of the effects it could have. Yeah, right. We didn't buy it with Bonds and Palmeiro when the talked about B-12 and flax-seed oil. We didn't believe Clemens when he talked about vitamins and Novocaine. And I for one and certainly not gonna believe that Manny randomly had a banned substance in his system because he had trouble getting little Manny to come out of the Green Monster...

Besides. Either you took it legitimately and didn't bother to see if it was on the banned substance list. Which makes you dumb, and deserving of a suspension. Or you took it illegitimately in order to improve your performance or to mask another drug. Which makes you guilty of cheating, and deserving a suspension. It's a classic "either way you're an idiot" situation. Either you're dumb for not knowing, or you're dumb for doing it to begin with...
And what innocent person would waive their right to an appeal and immediately accept their suspension? Well, maybe if anyone were to do it Manny is the guy. But taking a roid rap just to get 50 days off would b a little bizarre for even him. Maybe if he got to keep the $7.7 mil they're docking him I could believe that, but after fighting so hard for this contract I find that situation hard to believe. Fact is, he's not appealing because he's guilty, he's seen it the quickest road to redemption, and in particular, because Manny's not that great at dealing with the media. The second he goes up in front of the mic's in an A-Rod style press conference, he's screwed. So for his part, at least on a PR front, he appears to be taking the the right steps toward getting back on the field...

Now, like the rest of the players that have been accused of using performance enhancers, Manny needs to try and make good with the fans, make good with his teammates, and prepare to live the rest of his life mired in questions. His ticket to the Hall of Fame, once an afterthought, is now up in air. And while Manny will probably tell you that doesn't matter to him, I gotta think that a guy that's worked his whole career for recognition, and even cheated to keep his place in the game, will eventually come to see his omission as a slight to his character and an insult to the game...

But that's where we are in baseball. That's the world we've come to live in. For all you Red Sox fans out there that feel cheated and betrayed, don't. If Manny used roids in Boston, it doesn't tarnish the titles. Besides, to again reference Simmons, most of us would have gone right along with him had we known he was using at the time because we were so hungry for a title. So don't feel cheated by Manny and his steroid using ways. Feel cheated that you yourself were duped by your heart, and by Major League Baseball, into thinking that what you've been watching these past 15-20 years was a pure sport, with a fair playing field...


Once you've realized that, nothing will surprise you. Except of course, a positive test from the Mad Dog...

Hey, if just pitching gives you so much pleasure that you would often get a boner on the mound, then I'm gonna go head and assume you love the game too much to cheat it...


Consider Manny Ramirez just another domino in the scandal that, in hind sight, will have saved baseball by ripping a lot of it's recent history into shreds...

And don't be surprised at the big name that comes out next...


100...


"If knowledge is the key then just show me the lock" - Q-Tip