Thursday, May 7, 2009

Manny being Manny means making excuses

Steroids supposedly make you bigger, faster, stronger but now I’m beginning to wonder if they make you lie through your teeth.

Manny Ramirez, the best player on the best team in baseball right now, has been busted for violating Major League Baseball's joint drug prevention and treatment program and thus has been suspended 50 games. Manny being Manny being like so many other players who have been accused of taking steroids had an excuse. He said it was a honest mistake and issued an apology.

Wah. Wah. Wah.

When the news broke, Manny – or Manny’s legal defense team playing damage control – issued a statement. Manny admitted guilt, took responsibility for it but said it was not a steroid. Nice spin. If it wasn’t a steroid, then what the hell was it? What was the banned substance that came out of the medication that an unnamed doctor not affiliated with the team gave Manny for his “personal health issue”? Viagra?

I can handle the truth.

ESPN is reporting that a recent drug test on Ramirez detected unusually high levels of testosterone. That is believed to have been caused by human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a women's fertility drug (Manny being Mandy?) that is typically used by steroid users to restart their bodies natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle.

In this day and age of specialization where teams have team doctors, team trainers, team strength and conditioning coaches, team nutritionists and team massage therapists on the team payroll, how could this happen? The Dodgers have three trainers and two team physicians listed on their team website and Ramirez couldn’t seek out just one of them and ask them for help or ask them if the medication he was prescribed was OK to take? Shouldn’t his agent, Scott Boras, be responsible for making sure his high-priced, high-profile client makes all the right decisions?

Apparently Manny made as much of an effort to seek their advice as he sometimes runs out ground ball outs. Apparently the performance-enhancing substance didn’t improve his defense. Apparently baseball still has a drug problem.

Once again, baseball takes another swift kick in the groin and I’m sick and tired of it. Its most colorful player is suspended and suspicion about all its other players using performance-enhancers continues to linger. It raises even more questions.

Is this a reason that the Giants – or any team -- didn’t pursue Ramirez in free agency? Does this taint the Boston Red Sox winning their first World Series in 86 years in 2004 when Manny was the World Series MVP? How will this news impact Manny’s career and the future of the game?

No one knows because, when  it comes to baseball these days, who can you trust anymore?


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