Are there no hero’s left? The answer to that question appears to be a resounding yes after the news broke today that Manny Ramirez was being suspended 50-games, starting immediately, for taking HCG a drug which, by most experts’ opinions is used to boost a body’s testosterone production and often one that is used to help regulate a body’s ability to produce the hormone after taking steroids. There is even a story out that stating that the reason Manny tested positive for the drug is that it may have been prescribed by a doctor to help him overcome erectile dysfunction. There are so many positions, I mean directions, that I could go with here I’m really tempted, but given the gravity of the whole matter I think I will just let that one lay where it is.
The fact of the matter is that baseball as we knew it is totally done. If there was any “star” in the game who seemed to be above the performance enhancing drugs (PED) scandals it was Manny. Why? Does the guy even know what day it is? Sometimes he acts like he is on drugs, but most would posit weed and not PED’s as the culprit thanks to his often outrages behavior. Alas, that “joke” is no longer applicable with the news we heard today.
So where does this all leave us? Can baseball respond? Take a look at the list of the greatest players of all-time, and a whole host of them are now tainted with names like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa all under the pale of the PED scandal that has rocked the game to its very foundations. We have a couple of situations at play here.
1 – We have the group of suspected PED users in Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa. Anyone with half a brain in their head must admit that it appears, with a high degree of certitude, that each of these men used illicit means to boost their performance on the field even if they have yet to make such an admission.
2- We have an admitted user in A-Rod. He has stated that his PED use was limited to 2001-03 when he was a member of the Texas Rangers, but a recent book not only disputes that “fact,” it goes far beyond it to allege that A-Rod took PEDs as far back as high school. Regardless, unlike the men listed in number one above, A-Rod has admitted to PED use.
3- We have only one man off this list, despite everything that has been discussed, written or assumed, who has actually tested positive for PEDs while a major league player, and that is Manny Ramirez.
Not only will Manny have to live with the shame that this suspension will bring, his once pristine image, only tarnished by his flighty attitude and whimsical indiscretions on the field, is now called into question from a historical perspective. Given the climate we live in today, that means that a man who is clearly one of the top-10 right-handed hitters of all-time will likely find his name alongside the likes of Bonds, Clemens and McGwire five years after he hangs up his cleats – former superstars who may forever be denied admittance into the hallowed halls of the Hall of Fame. And for that, we should all be truly ashamed.
By Ray Flowers