Blog Entry

The message from Manny

Posted on: May 7, 2009 12:44 pm
So now it's Manny.


But not WOW!

Sad, isn't it? Not that Manny Ramirez is baseball's latest drug cheat, but that the news elicits only a mild reaction. That we're beyond the point of being shocked when another baseball star gets exposed. That almost immediately, we're thinking about what this does to the fast-start Dodgers (and whether it taints that start), rather than what it does to baseball.

We're thinking how crazy it is that Ramirez is leaving the major-league scene just as Alex Rodriguez is about to return. Yes, we know that Rodriguez is returning from injury, and not from a suspension, but we link A-Rod to cheating, just as we now link Manny to cheating.

Just as we link the entire sport to cheating.

Ramirez is by far the biggest star to fall victim to baseball's steroid testing, and no doubt baseball officials will tell us this proves the system is working, and that big stars don't get special treatment. But what this really tells us is what we already knew, or at least suspected, which is that baseball players haven't stopped trying to cheat the system.

The idea was that the 50-game ban for a first-time positive test, the one Ramirez will now serve, would be such a deterrent that no one would risk using.

The fact is that with so many ways to beat the system (HGH, etc.), players continued to use.

In fact, after the initial "Wow," the next thought isn't, "Why was he using?"

No, the next thought is, "He must have been pretty stupid, to get caught like this. Why was he using something they could catch?"

Some will surely suggest that by suspending Ramirez, baseball is sending a stern message to other users. And that's true, but the message it's sending isn't, "Don't use."

Instead, it's "Don't get caught."

If we believed that baseball's testing system works, then A-Rod would have had a solid defense to the newest claims that he continued to use performance-enhancing drugs since coming to the Yankees. If we believed in the system, we would have said, "No, that's not possible, because he's been tested each year, and if there had been a positive test, he would have been suspended."

The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the Ramirez suspension, suggested that Ramirez will claim his positive test resulted from medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue.

Five years ago, that may have been a plausible explanation. It's hard to accept now, when every team warns its players against taking anything not approved by the club's doctors.

Now, when a player is caught, it tells us two things. First, that he was trying to cheat. Second, that he was dumb enough or oblivious enough to cheat in a way that he could get caught.

And what does it tell us about baseball and drugs in 2009?

Sadly, not much more than we already knew. Or at least, not much more than we already suspected.

Category: MLB

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 10:20 pm

The message from Manny

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:09 am

The message from Manny

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:44 am

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:57 am

The message from Manny

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:42 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:54 pm

The message from Manny

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Since: Jun 3, 2009
Posted on: June 3, 2009 7:12 am

The message from Manny

Just like pro athletes are held to a higher standard of behavior because of their public position, they have to be held more accountable when it comes to substances they use.

Since: Jun 3, 2009
Posted on: June 3, 2009 7:09 am

The message from Manny

The Red Sox should be stripped of their titles. Manny has always been respected as clean.

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