Thursday, May 7, 2009

Was Manny Just Being Manny?

Not to much to say about this. This whole steriod and performance enhancing drugs thing doesn't suprise or shock anymore. At this point it's like testing a football player or professional bodybuilder and being shocked. Here is the story just in case you missed it:

By Bernie Miklasz

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and will be suspended for 50 games.

My reaction: Why would anyone surprised by this?

Think about what’s happened in MLB over the past several years:

* The Mark McGwire vs. Sammy Sosa HR Derby of 1998 has been tainted by the obvious suspicion that we saw a circus-strongboy freak show, rather than something authentic and real.

* The game’s all-time HR leader, Barry Bonds, is still embroiled in a steroids scandal and legal troubles stemming from his alleged juicing.

* Roger Clemens, the greatest righthanded power pitcher of his generation, had his reputation shattered after being implicated in the Mitchell Report for using PEDs.

* Alex Rodriguez — who has collected nearly $200 million in salaries while hitting 553 homers to this point — has admitted to using illegal performance enhancers and is awash in related controversies.

So now the latest name to pop out of sewer is Ramirez, the preeminent slugger of his time.

Man-Ram has 533 homers, 1,745 RBIs and a .594 slugging percentage in his career. And I never was convinced that all of his power came from eating spinach and Flintstones vitamins and lifting weight.

At this point, I’d be surprised to learn that a superstar player is clean. As I have been saying for a few years now — after being suckered by Mark McGwire — I no longer assume that any MLB player is pure. This doesn’t mean that I believe that they’re all cheating. But I will never be shocked again by any disclosure that reveals the dirty, druggy business of a VIP baseball player. And yes, that would include any player that wears the uniform of the St. Louis Cardinals. I refuse to ever be fooled again. A raised eyebrow, yes. But to be blindsided that someone is a juicer? Never again.

Ramirez said he received a prescription from a doctor and was told that the medication/supplement was OK and not in violation of MLB’s drug policies.

That’s to be expected. We’ve seen a bunch of excuses along these lines…

– A doctor prescribed this and I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was OK to take it.

– I didn’t know the supplement was banned by MLB. I bought it in a store, after all. So how did I know?

– Another player gave it to me and told me it was B-12. Just a vitamin shot. I believed him. I didn’t know.

– I was just trying to heal faster from an injury and some trainer at the gym told me that this would help and I tried it. I guess I should have checked first.

Philadelphia Phillies reliever J.C. Romero was suspended for 50 games before the season for a PED and his excuse was that he bought a supplement from a GNC store and suggested that he was misinformed by the Major League Players Association; he was led to believe that the stuff was acceptable. “I still cannot see where I did something wrong,” Romero said. “There’s nothing that should take away from the rings of my teammates. I didn’t cheat. I tried to follow the rules.”

You see, the players are never really responsible in their own minds.

It’s always somebody else’s fault.

They eat or inject these drugs or smear them on their limbs because someone else took control of their bodies and their care and they were mere vessels, empty and helpless to stop anyone from loading them up with the juice.

They think it’s OK to take it because someone tells them it’s OK — never mind picking up the phone to ask an MLB official who would provide an accurate answer.


If we are to believe these stories — that these are honest mistakes — then here’s another question:

Just how dumb are these players?

How stupid must you be to actually get caught in a screening test for PEDs?

MLB players are meticulous about routine, conditioning, training, diet, appearance. They spend hours and hours studying video of opposing pitchers or hitters. They take their jobs seriously, knowing that there’s a lot of money to be made. They’ll take two weeks to decide what kind of TV to buy, what kind of watch to wear. They hire personal chefs to cook for them so they can enhance their athleticism with the ideal nutrition. They are detailed and thorough and on top of everything that has to do with their pursuit of greatness, fortune and pleasure.

And yet we are supposed to believe that these players, and their handlers, are using drugs without knowing what these drugs are, what these drugs do, or if these drugs are legal or illegal under Major League Baseball policy?

That’s absurd. Look, considering what’s at stake, if I’m a player who is giving a bottle of pills or some cream by a doctor in Florida, or if I buy a supplement from a nutrition store, I’m going to call Bud Selig himself to determine with 100 percent certainty that it’s permissible to use it.

And here’s a question I wish Manny would answer: if he had a medical condition, why didn’t he go see the Dodgers’ team doctors or a physician affiliated with MLB? Why did he go out of the system to seek medical care? His explanation doesn’t pass the smell test.

Indeed, ESPN investigative reporters T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada are reporting that the drug used by Ramirez is HCG — or human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is a women’s fertility drug used by steroid users to restart their body’s natural testosterone production as they cycle out of a steroids phase. ESPN added that HCG is similar to Clomid, a drug allegedly used by Bonds and others according to documents that emerged from the BALCO scandal.

That’s a little different than what Ramirez would have us believe, eh?

But so many of baseball’s cheaters want us to believe that somehow they’re the victims.

We’re not that naive.

Or maybe we are …

Because when the next superstar player is nabbed and exposed for performance enhancers, there will be shock and awe and cries of anguish. We’ll pretend to be stunned all over again. But understand that more big names are likely coming. And if you’re unprepared for this, you’d better go to the doctor’s office for some medication.

Just don’t go to Manny’s doctor.

Thanks for reading…


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