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Conflicting Conceptions of Manny's Positive Test

Now we all know: Manny Ramirez definitely tested positive for a banned substance. The question is whether that banned substance was a masking agent for steroids, or whether it could have actually been a drug used for a health problem ... or some misguided attempt at sexual enhancement.

According first to Yahoo!'s Tim Brown and Steve Henson, then ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn, Manny tested positive for a women's fertility drug called HCG, not for steroids or for HGH. The drug itself is used to increase fertility in women, but Fainaru-Wada and Quinn both ciite past precedent for its use as a way for steroid users to re-start their body's traditional testosterone production.

As for Ramirez, he's already released a statement saying he took the substance because it was prescribed for him by a doctor. He's not citing a fertility issue or an attempted pregnancy with his wife or anything like that. Rather, he seemed contrite and, to a certain extent, confused by the entire incident, which will cost him at least $7 million.

Yet, there remains some doubt among pretty established baseball writers that Manny knowingly took a banned substance. ESPN's Peter Gammons cited an unnamed Red Sox source saying he "didn't believe (Ramirez took a steroid masking agent) for a minute," earlier today, and Gammons himself says he thinks that the test was probably brought on by a personal medical issue, not a desire to enhance performance.

All of that is fine and good, but the general atmosphere of contemporary baseball, as well as the heat surrounding Alex Rodriguez, certainly don't help his case of alleged "clean living". It striked me as a little hard to believe that Ramirez didn't know what he was putting in his body, though, if there was ever an instant Hall of Famer who could have taken something for sexual enhancement without even glancing at the drug's intended use (or it's likely pink container), it's probably Ramirez.

And as for Rodriguez, he's the one man who gets the most out of the timing surrounding Ramirez's positive test. It may be an honest coincidence that he's scheduled to return from hip surgery tomorrow, but that suddenly could be an advantage, considering the fact that he won't even be the biggest performance enhancing drug story of the day.

What do people think? Was this a clear case of Manny trying to cover his tracks? Or is this Manny being Manny, at so ridiculous a level that he didn't even realize what he was taking? And how will this affect the Dodgers? And does anyone else (like adampschroeder) want to change their NL MVP vote from our preseason picks contest?

By Cameron Smith  |  May 7, 2009; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Dodgers  
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Hm, interesting how when a power hitter has a positive drug test, everyone assumes it's steroids. Yeah, I do think Manny is flaky enough to not realize what he was taking (or to trust the doctor who prescribed it.)

Posted by: EinDC | May 7, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Manny's obviously did an idiotic thing by taking anything without knowing what was in it or running it by MLB who gives players access to professional who will approve anything you put into your body if you have any doubt.

That said, it just doesn't make sense that he would take anything. They physical signs aren't there, the guy has consistently RAKED the ball for 15 seasons-plus with no true anomalous peak seasons or categories throughout his career. Sometimes the evidence is obvious - see Bonds, Barry. In Manny's case, I gotta say, it's just not obvious at all that he's done this intentionally.

Posted by: ryaneades | May 7, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

You're right - Game of Shadows does note several instances of female fertility drugs being used to boost testosterone.

It's funny that everyone wants to give him a pass. The "Manny being Manny" argument should have lost its legs by now.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 7, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Who's giving anyone a pass, losing 7 million dollars is punishment enough without the blogosphere's additonal rantings. I hope baseball doesn't lame out like cycling and track go completely overboard with these suspensions. Kicking guys out for 50 games when they take legit non performance enhancers or over the counter junk you can get at GNC is way too much. It's a stupid waste of time to have to run everything you put in your mouth past MLB.

Posted by: Dremit97 | May 7, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"The drug itself is used to increase fertility in women, . . ."

Huh. Fertility. In women. Jolly good. Perhaps he should now be referred to as Fanny Ramirez?

Posted by: Ted_Striker | May 8, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

I am so sick of this bullspit. OF COURSE HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS TAKING. Shejus Cries, PEDs have only been all over the news, all over congress, all over everything FOR YEARS. They are not putting a molecule into their bodies that they don't know about.

The stories these axeholes are trying to feed us is pithing me off. It's worse than the offense.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Any of you journalists who keep trying out this story for size should be ashamed of yourselves.

And any baseball fans who swallow this load of spit should be ashamed too because you're all just feeding this machine.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Either 1) he cheated and got caught or 2) he recklessly took something having no idea what it was.

In the current environment #2 is maybe even more stupid than #1. Both deserve the 50 game suspension and negative coverage he is getting.

Posted by: Avar | May 8, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Industry insiders and groupies (Gammons, sorry, I mean you) circling the wagons to protect the goose that lays their golden eggs? I'm shocked, shocked.

Sports "journalism" that repeats this tripe as if there's a shred of credibility is a sham. Again, I'm shocked.

He cheated, he got caught, he's lying to create an alternate explanation that "journalists" feel obliged to repeat to protect his future endorsement income and celebrity status. End of story.

Olympic style testing please. Only enforcement will work.


Posted by: utec | May 8, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse


I'm Manny Ramirez's doctor. I had no idea he was a baseball superstar. I had no idea that what I prescribed might set off the MLB testing. I don't consult with the Dodgers' medical staff. I come from a magical world of unicorns and rainbows.

Posted by: UrbanShocker | May 8, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

You tell 'em, NatsNut!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 8, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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