what, exactly? A cheat? An idiot? A victim?
Well, for starters, Manny Ramirez may be my all-time favorite player. I was a fan when he was in Cleveland, cheered when he came to Boston, and pouted the day he went to LA. So, I’m trying to be objective about all this.. I’ve written on my PED views before, and I like to think I’m sliding Manny into the same set of rules. Feel free to check and call me on it if I’m not
First of all, it’s hard to decide what really happened. One reason I didn’t write about this yesterday was that I wanted to give at least a little time to have some facts come out. Here’s what I think I know so far…and I’m sure it’s all changed by the time anyone sees this. Manny failed a test for a banned substance. It was not a PED, and he has still not failed a test for a PED. The rumors I’ve heard as to what the substance was range from a female fertility drug to an ED drug. Manny was suspended for 50 games following the test, according to MLB’s policy for dealing with such matters. The rule says something like, even though he didn’t fail a test, there’s something not quite right, so they can suspend you. Manny was planning on appealing, but after talking it over, didn’t go through with it. I’m not sure exactly who he talked it over with…the Dodgers, MLBPA, or Scott Boras. Manny issued a statement saying that the drug the test picked up was prescribed to him by a doctor, who didn’t know it was on a list of banned substances. The rules say it’s still his fault, so he’s serving the suspension. And, as far as I know, that’s where we sit. Have I got it so far?
So, where does this leave us? I’m not sure. Do I believe Manny? Maybe. Would I prefer it if he came out waving a prescription from an American doctor for a drug that he could actually need? That would be great. Why hasn’t he yet? I don’t know. So, I’m left to compare this excuse against other excuses.
We have the Roger Clemens flat denial. In Roger’s case, he was accused of using PED’s. Manny’s not exactly there yet…so denial wouldn’t be necessary. That excuse would be a good one though, if it were true. It would appear that Roger was lying through his teeth though. But, still a truthful denial is the best way to go. An untruthful one will kill a career, or in Roger’s case, a legacy.
There’s the Gary Sheffield (and Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi allegedly) excuse of, I took an illegal PED, but didn’t know it. It’s say that’s worse than Manny’s excuse. That one admits to cheating, just to not doing it willingly. So, the numbers are bogus, but his character may still be in tact. (Assuming Bonds and Sheffield had characters worth keeping in tact) Sheffield and Giambi have apparently come through fairly well. They’re not in the news much anymore, and both are still signing contracts without taking a hit. I’d say Manny’s case is better than theirs.
There’s the Andy Pettitte version. Yes I took it. Yes I knew I took it. Yes, I knew it was illegal. But, I only did it to enhance my performance, which would help my team. He has been heralded as a stand up guy for admitting it, and appears to be plugging along as normal. I’d say, so far, Manny’s better than that.
There’s Paul Byrd, who admitted taking HGH, but also used the prescription reasoning. Byrd, again, has apparently had the issue dropped without hurting his career. The difference with Byrd is that HGH isn’t a drug that could have been legally prescribed to Byrd. So, he at least had to find a shady doctor to do it. Manny would appear better than that excuse.
There’s Alex Rodriguez, who admitted using PEDs in a jumbled mess. He said he took it for a while, might have had a prescription from the Dominican for it, and might have stopped using it. Like Clemens, his real problem appears to be that he keeps lying about it. If he came out in the beginning with the Pettitte version, who knows what would have happened. Manny’s definitely better off than that.
So, I like the Manny excuse better than all the others. (Obviously, it’s better if the drug is an ED drug, and not a female hormone.) But, Manny does not appear to have been accused of breaking any laws. (Unlike everyone else on the list above) He has not been accused of taking a PED. (Again, unlike anyone else on the list above) Do I think Manny might just be that much of a moron? I’m guessing that if he doesn’t know where his appendix is, he might not know the brand names of every drug out there. So, for the moment, I’m willing to ride it out. Maybe if there’s an actual accusation of breaking the law or PED use, that could change. I do wonder, though. If half the country weren’t determined to hate him, would this be a big deal? Would it just be JC Romero…whom I believe has a similar issue with is suspension? I didn’t see that on any front pages. Stay tuned, I guess.
I do wish he’d produce that doctor’s note though.
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