Monday, May 11, 2009

Manny, Manny, Manny...

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few days you know the story. Manny Ramirez tested positive for a banned performance enhancing substance and has been suspended for 50 games.

Manny's apparently disingenuous press release blamed an unnamed physician (has Manny every used the word "physician" instead of doctor?) for prescribing something for a "personal problem". The word is that he tested positive for a substance used by steroid users to enhance their testosterone levels when coming off a cycle. Manny hasn't tried to fight the suspension or brought forth this mysterious doctor to corroborate his story.

This raises a few questions:

What happens to Manny? You have to think his Cooperstown chances are severely damaged. Mark McGwire is the poster child for this - he received less than 22% of the votes in last year's election. I have to think a lot of the voting baseball writers will put Manny in the same boat. He also did great harm to his current team, the Dodgers, who put a big marketing campaign behind him this season. Manny will be back in July, but he's not going to be the lovable hitting savant we have watched all these years.

Who else? No one's name being connected with steroids surprises me any more. There are still 103 names on that list A-Rod was on that we don't know about. Many of the top home run hitters of recent years - Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Palmiero, A-Rod, Sheffield - have been connected to steroids or other performance enhancers. I don't know who's next, but I'm sure there are some big names we haven't heard yet.

Are the Sox World Series titles tainted? Not to me. I think it's fairly safe to say that virtually every team in 2004 and 2007 had some players using PEDs. Although no sigificant Red Sox names came out before Manny, I think it's naive to believe that the Red Sox (or anyone else) were clean during that period. There are three groups right now: those that have been caught; those that haven't been caught; and those under suspicion. It's not right, but that's the way it is.


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