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Manny Tests Positive; Now What?

Today's news that Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez will be suspended for 50 games after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs has come as a shock to just about everyone, or at least to me.

Ramirez always came through in the clutch while with the Red Sox and did his best Roy Hobbs impersonation last season after being traded to the Dodgers, but did anyone suspect Manny was juicing?

Personally, as a baseball fan, Ramirez struck me as a slugging savant. The man can hit -- for power, for average and in the clutch and then of course he would take some games off as he saw fit. I never really suspected it simply because he seemed to be too big of a flake to even stick to a steroid regimen. Even when he was injured it sometimes seemed like ploys to get out of having to play in all-star games or to just give himself a breather.

It was Ramirez's seeming ambivalence to his prodigious talent, his kooky sense of humor and his glaring defensive liabilities that made him an endearing figure in the sport. That shine started to wear last year when he essentially forced Boston's hand and got the Red Sox to trade him.

Suddenly the Clown Prince of the Diamond was just another player that could be put into the category of "overpaid star" (a stigma that seemed to only deepen after his preposterous offseason contract demands). Today's news further cements that. Ramirez has gone from loveable "idiot" and World Series champion to petulant star to steroid user in just three years.

The question about Manny Ramirez had been what would he be remembered for -- would we look back on his career and think about what he did at the plate or his general goofiness and comedy of errors in the outfield? Now you have to add a third option, will he be best remembered as just another great talent revealed to be on steroids?

Ramirez's positive test result raises even more questions beyond Manny himself. He's the first key member of the Boston Red Sox' recent success to be embroiled in the steroids controversy but will more be revealed?

Boston seemed to dodge a bullet as several Red Sox fringe players and past stars were named in the Mitchell Report but none of the team's top players from the 2004 and 2007 World Series teams were fingered. Does this call in to question the Mitchell Report itself or did Ramirez start using in just the past year or two?

Regardless, it's another black eye for a sport that so vigorously prides itself on its history and preservation of its records. With nearly all of this generation's great hitters being linked to steroids, is there any sanctity left in the sport? And to fans, does it even matter? Everyone digs the long ball and for the most cynical fans it's easy to paint with a broad brush and just assume everyone's juicing. Maybe the question now isn't who do you think was/is on steroids but who would you be most surprised to find out was juicing?

By CJ Holley  |  May 7, 2009; 1:54 PM ET
Categories:  Dodgers , Red Sox  
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Next: Moment of Levity: The Big Picture


Can I change my NL MVP vote?

Here's hoping he's telling the truth when he says it's a drug his doctor prescribed.

Posted by: adampschroeder | May 7, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Nothing surprises me any more as far as revelations, and color me cynical about the doctor story. Not sure who would be shocking as a juicer at this point. The Iron Man, maybe.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 7, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I dig the occasional long ball, but in the context of watching fullly formed offenses. I'd much rather watch pitchers try to get out of first and third, one out jams and watch guys run bases than wait for a long ball and watch guys trot.

Posted by: dlk117561 | May 7, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey its a money and prower driven sport. Do what u gotta do to get ahead. Thats the AmeriCAN way!

Posted by: mossmillennium | May 7, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Um, CJ, it wasn't steroids that he was nailed for; there are other types of drugs that are banned (e.g., stimulants) so you can't assume it was steroids. But if I had a job that had drug bans and regular drug testing, I wouldn't go to the doctor without the list of banned drugs. "Here, Doc, you can prescribe anything but these."

Posted by: EinDC | May 7, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I knew this Manny Ramirez in LA thing was going too smoothly.

Posted by: MarkDaniel | May 7, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's just Manny being A-Rod.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 7, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Yup. That's about the only steroid-era player left that would surprise me.

After all, Nook Logan.


Not sure who would be shocking as a juicer at this point. The Iron Man, maybe

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 7, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's it for me. I've got tickets to a game in Cleveland next month against the Yankee$$... and it'll be my last game. Baseball has become a freak show and I can no longer be bothered. Overpaid cheaters... not unlike some bankers that have been in the news lately.

It really, really pains me to face up to the fact that they have killed baseball - the sport - the business will go on, but they can have it. I'm out of here.

Posted by: GivingUpOnBaseball | May 8, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse


Thats your loss, Baseball and the world will go on after you are gone from this earth. The funny thing is you are just depriving yourself because sports is entertainment not record and statistics like sports writers try to make it. I think if the media would just shut up and let the players play you could still enjoy the game just as much. Its like when you find out your favorite ballad singer or hollywood leading man is gay. Do you like the song or the movie any less? No because you value it for what it is, entertainment. The only people that should complain are the players and coaches who have to compete with these guys who do use performance enhancers. If they are not complaining then why should we?

Posted by: ged0386 | May 8, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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