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?
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