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Manny Ramirez Tests Positive for Performance-Enhancers

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

 

A bombshell out of LA today – Manny Ramirez faces a 50-game suspenion after testing positive for steroids.

Wow.

I’ve said all along that I don’t care that much about the steroid controversy because I think the vitriol surrounding it is, largely, blind to the various and sundry blights scarring the face of every individual baseball era – segregation, Bob Gibson’s raised mound, the dead ball, the designated hitter, etc. But for some reason this Manny revelation has hit me harder than most. You always heard about how Ramirez was basically just a more unusual, slightly dumber version of The Natural. A hitting savant who spent hours in the cage before games honing his craft. An artist, wielding a Louisville Slugger for a paintbrush. It was a romantic idea, the last great natural hitter awash in a sea of cheaters and steroid abusers. With this latest news, that old-timey bubble just burst.

Now, instead of a legendary baseball genius, Manny is simply another member of baseball’s steroid fraternity – another guy who saw an opportunity to be great and took it. And I really can’t blame him, even though I want to.

I guess I should’ve seen it coming. Manny has always been a me-first guy, taking plays off, inventing injuries, shoving travelling secretaries. But he was always accomodated because of his prodigious power at the plate. Because he hit .300 and slugged forty homers a year, Ramirez wasn’t spoiled and arrogant, merely “odd” and  “lovably goofy.” The “Manny being Manny” phenomenon clouded our vision, distoring the image of a guy putting up steroid numbers in a steroid era into one of a naturally blessed hitting wizard. At least until last year, when Theo and the Red Sox ownership group finally decided they’d had enough of his antics.

Just in time, it turns out.

But I didn’t see it coming. I wanted to believe in the fairy tale of Manny and his natural gifts. I loved this character who pounded home runs over the Monster and then stopped for the occasional whiz inside it. This is a guy who gave me one of the best moments of my life in 2004, and again in 2007. So I defended him when he jogged to first or made yet another boneheaded play in left. I defended him because I believed in him and I believed him to be great.

After today, I won’t defend him anymore. And that’s not because I’m mad at Manny Ramirez. I’m not angry that he took performance-enhancing drugs. I’m not going to get up on my soapbox and say that he’s a bad guy or call him a disgrace to the game. I just don’t care about him anymore. He’s just another clean-up hitter in a league full of them. I’m indifferent.

 And at the end of the day, maybe that’s the tragic consequence of baseball’s Steroid Era.

The magic’s gone.

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  1. Yeah, he is still the man.

  2. tough call… he has passed numerous other test… why now? especially with the whole a-rod controversy… and yes, he’s still the man.

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