You would think that Manny Ramirez was caught fighting pit bulls alongside Martha Stewart.
ESPN’s Bill Simmons says that he is “confronting my worst nightmare.” Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports believes that it is time to talk about “lifetime bans.” Boston Globe writer Tony Massarotti says, “everyone is guilty until proven innocent.”
The sports radio and comment boards have been cesspools of racism. It’s always easy to hate, especially someone who plays a game for a living and makes millions of dollars.
All I know is this: thanks to Major League Baseball’s hypocritical, idiotic and altogether morally bankrupt steroid policy, the sport will be without one of its premier attractions for fifty games, someone I would pay to watch at batting practice. Yes, Manny Ramirez, the finest right-handed hitter of his generation, has been sent to the showers and forced to surrender $7.7 million in salary after testing positive for what was initially called a “performance-enhancing substance.”
The decision ends a stretch where the former World Series MVP was reviving baseball in Los Angeles, leading the Dodgers to a 21-8 start and a record thirteen straight wins at home to open the season. Los Angeles, a town built on artifice and home to hordes of performance-enhanced entertainers, not to mention led by a performance-enhanced governor, now demands purity of its athletes. This is a column that aims not to “defend” Manny Ramirez but to condemn Major League Baseball’s steroid idiocy. Besides, the quizzically quirky Ramirez is not, at this point, defending himself. Ramirez will not appeal the suspension, and he apologized, issuing a brief statement that read in part: “I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me.” But MLB, in a typically classy move, has leaked to the press that Ramirez tested positive for the female fertility drug HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin. Steroid specialists have fanned out across the airwaves explaining that HCG is used to increase testosterone levels, usually after a heavy steroid cycle.
Former AL MVP, author of Juiced, and admitted steroid user Jose Canseco, who pleaded guilty last November to a misdemeanor of trying to bring HCG across the Mexican border illegally, also weighed in: “It could be that a player used it because he used steroids and went cold-turkey and needed HCG to get his [testoterone] levels back to normal.”