Well, here we go again. Yet another example of Manny being Manny, and another reason why Red Sox Nation should have no regrets about having said “buh-bye” to him last year. As readers know by now, The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Manny Ramirez has been suspended for 50 games (effective immediately) after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance. This gives Manny the dubious distinction of being the biggest star ballplayer suspended so far under MLB’s drug-testing and punishment system since its inception in 2003.
Naturally, Ramirez is attributing the test results to prescription medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue. One can only speculate with amusement what Manny’s personal medical issue might be since the substance involved is HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which is a female fertility drug that has been banned by Major League Baseball since last year and the International Olympic Committee since 1987. I’m sure in Manny’s case it’s purely coincidental that steroid users take this and similar substances to regulate their natural testosterone levels following a doping cycle.
This is just another load of nonsense from someone who should know better, but then again we’re talking about Manny. All players know they are responsible to ensure that any supplements or medication they are taking contain no banned substances. All players know they need to clear ANY substances they are taking with Major League Baseball whether it is a supplement or medication. Although Ramirez tries to glide by with a “what, me worry” attitude about things, he is actually a pretty bright guy (except when it comes to dogging it in Boston to get out of his contract). To be caught in this situation is inexcusable, like so much else Ramirez has done. I would like to feel bad for Dodgers fans who are shocked by this development, but all I can muster is “Whatever.”
The real issue here is the continuing corrosive effect on the reputation of Major League Baseball and what it means for future players who are today’s talented kids in school. This story follows A-Rod’s confession that he “only” used steriods from 2001-2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers. Ya, right. The message for talented kids today is apparently “do as I say, not as I do” when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs and the professional athletes that succeeded with them but now encourage kids to avoid them. The hypocrisy of it all is sickening, and it reveals the struggle that young talents will have in the future: Take 2 talented players competing for a position. If one juices, and the other dosen’t, who has the advantage? Or, looked at another way, what if one MIGHT be juicing? The temptation to go down that road in the future is obvious.
As the parent of a youth athlete, I am more concerned about my son’s potential exposure to that type of illegal drug use than any other. Hey Manny, thanks for helping out.