Don’t be surprised.
Go ahead and be angry, but for God’s sake, don’t be surprised.
You had to know this was coming.
Maybe not necessarily from Manny Ramirez, but you knew something was going to come out again about somebody.
In fact, if you haven’t done so already, brace yourself now for the next one.
Because it will come, too.
What’s truly appalling about Ramirez’s failing to adhere to MLB’s drug testing policy is that this isn’t 2003. When Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens were all using — and let’s be frank, they were using — baseball either didn’t have a steroid policy or didn’t care about enforcing the lame one it had.
But this is different. Baseball doesn’t mess around anymore. It doesn’t care who you are — what used to be a surefire Hall-of-Famer isn’t treated any differently than a relief pitcher like J.C. Romero. Come up positive, or get nailed on an MLB investigation like Manny, and you’re gonna get nailed for 50 games. Done and done.
The goofiness that persisted over the dumb “Manny Being Manny” moments has forever been replaced by the slugger’s utter arrogance; that he could be so bold in this day and time in baseball to take a drug that boosted his testosterone and think he would never get caught is slap to every baseball fan’s face. It’s the same kind of arrogance that allowed Ramirez to dog his way out of Boston and hold out for an insane amount of money that was never out there for him. So arrogant that he would put out a statement and say “The doctor did it” before word leaked out that thedrug he took is one steroid users typically use to cycle off the performance-enhancers.
So no, we shouldn’t be surprised that this same guy would cheat the game, too.
But this isn’t just about Manny being Medicated.
Reckless, stupid, pompous — it doesn’t matter. What Ramirez did is nothing new, not in this era. Clemens, Bonds, A-Rod, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa — they’ve all been linked to PEDs. Put it another way: six of the top 17 home run hitters in the history of the game have been alleged to use steroids — all in the last 10 years.
“You can’t have arguably the greatest pitcher of our era, arguably the two greatest players of our era and now another very, very good player be under this cloud of suspicion and not feel like it has ruined it for everybody,” Atlanta star Chipper Jones said.
“But what are you going to do? You can’t be born in a different era. It is the Steroid Era,” he said.
Which says something else. Given what we know now, and what we’re likely to learn in the years to come, it may be time to step down from the ivory tower and get over the fact that steroids have forever permeated baseball. If the highest of high-profile players were juicing, then it’s pretty clear that PEDs were rampant in the game. What we know now that we didn’t figure then is that baseball may have been on more of a even playing field than we could have ever imagined.
But there’s one more problem with the Ramirez news breaking Thursday: it means baseball still has a significant steroid issue plaguing the sport. “I do want to say one other thing,” Ramirez said in his statement. “I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.”
That may be the worst news of all.