Next up: Manny Ramirez

I’ve been waiting to comment on Manny Ramirez’s positive steroid test until all the details come out.  Well, maybe all the details aren’t out, but I think I’m ready.

First, make no mistake about it: my stance on Manny using steroids is no different than A-Rod, Bonds, Giambi, Clemens, etc. 

What I do find somewhat humorous about this is that pretty much no one is “safe.”  Sure, the BALCO guys used steroids, but Clemens didn’t – he just worked his butt off.  Okay well maybe Clemens used, but A-Rod is clean even if everyone hates him.  Well, sure maybe A-Rod used steroids, we think he’s a phony anyways, but at least we have goofy Manny who’s too dumb to use steroids.  Oh, wait.

If you dig into the past of any player, there are likely to be skeletons in their closet.  Sure, as a Yankee fan it’s nice to be able to give back some of the crap to righteous Red Sox fans.  So here’s my rant to Red Sox fans, just to get it out of the way: Enough with steroids.  For every A-Rod, Giambi, Sheffield, etc, you have your own questionable players.  You lucked out and George Mitchell was in charge of the Mitchell Report so he focused on NY, not Boston, but every team had its drug culture.

I know Manny is a Dodger now, but he tested positive for a drug that is used to regenerate testosterone after years of steroid use.  If you think this is an isolated thing, you’re being naive. 

David Ortiz can’t catch up with the fastball all of a sudden?  If I didn’t know better, I’d say he looks a lot like how a certain 1B/DH of the Yankees looked back in 2004.  Hopefully for Boston’s sake, Ortiz can come to grips with the player he now is and rebound like Giambi did, though it might not be as easy because Giambi is a better athlete (amazingly enough) and has a better eye.     

What happened to the budding careers of Trot Nixon, Bill Mueller, and of course Nomar?  Keith Foulke had quite a run in 2004 before his arm fell off.  Curt Schilling had an amazing late career resurgence – or is it just a coincidence that his best years came in his mid-to-late 30s?

Did all these guys use steroids?  Who knows.  But it’s certainly time for Red Sox Nation to get off its pedestal. 

Because you know what this should teach us?  That it doesn’t really matter.  Just look at the reasons that I chose as to why someone might be a steroid user; aren’t the negatives just as great as the positives?  Taking steroids is a big risk – the bill eventually comes due.  It’s up to the players to say, “hey we want this stuff to be illegal because we think it gives a potential advantage and no one should feel pressured to use it.”  That’s the bottom line.  This isn’t really a fan issue at all. 

So no, I don’t want asteriks on any records or championships or anything stupid like that.  We can’t say something didn’t happen after the fact because we decide we now have a different code of ethics.  If so, then we should forget about everything that ever happened while baseball was segregated, because I am willing to state for the record: racial segregation is a much more heinous crime than PED use. 

Meanwhile, this development is great for A-Rod and the Yankees, in terms of media scrutiny.  A-Rod will have enough pressure on him without the constant steroid talk.  And as for Serena Roberts’ book?  Well, looks like moving up the release date isn’t going to help.  Serves her right for trying to make a monster of a public figure for her own personal gain.  (Random aside on that: I know if you’re a public figure, you’re fair game.  But just think about it – if someone was writing a book on you, couldn’t they speculate and interview the right anonymous sources to make you look bad?  A-Rod isn’t a dictator, he’s a baseball player.  Everyone needs to calm down. Oh, and read this tremendous article about Robert’s book by Murray Chass.)

In the end, I don’t think this Manny thing is bad for baseball because the games biggest stars have already been disgraced in the public eye.  Manny gives us some perspective on the issue.  We shouldn’t sit around and judge one way or the other because the whole truth is impossible to know.  The media certainly doesn’t know what is going on.  Rather than just waiting to be told who the next pariah should be, like some twisted witch hunt, let’s just focus on enjoying the game.  There aren’t fake players and real players, fake stats and real stats.  It is not up to us to gauge what amount of a player is “authentic.”

This is just entertainment that is provided by people.  Maybe Selena Roberts should go and cover the NFL for awhile and we’ll see what happens.  No one complains about football – we just enjoy it.  The players should be working together to protect their own health, because they are the ones who this affects.  Not us. 

So we’ll see you in 50 games, Manny.  This will likely blow over soon enough but I think it will be awhile before you see any more Peter Gammons articles about how Manny is working extra hard at the gym. 



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