Sports from the point view from the guy that holds the clipboard for the guy that holds the clipboard.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Steroids Hall of Fame: Manny Ramirez

This is why I started doing this series.  I knew one day someone I truly loved watching would end up enshrined here.  I knew it.  It was not destiny or fate, or some magical premonition of mine.  No, it is the reality that we live in.   I can here my buddy Rich now, "What's the big deal?  It'll all be legal in five years because you can't ever get rid of it."   I am neither that cynical, nor that pessimistic.  I am here, writing about steroids because I understand that we will never get rid of them.  They are part of sports today.  They suck and I hate them, the drugs and their users, but I cannot stand upon a soap box and say I've been 100% professional in my life and have never cut a single corner.  Especially the corners I see everyone else cutting.  No, I am not better Manny, or Lyle, or Jose.  They are just men, and suffer the same weaknesses of ego, greed, and jealousy that I do.  They are experiencing those emotions on a level I can never truly understand.  I am also not apologizing for them, nor giving them an excuse, nor a free pass.  Pay your fine, serve your suspension and stay the fuck out of Cooperstown.

So Manny got busted, for what we don't know yet.  I hate rushing into things like this without knowing what was taken.  I love the names these drugs have, sorry but it is half the fun of doing this.  But I needed an excuse to get this project going again anyway, and I'm tried hard to make sure that I am fair and take on one of my guys when they fall.  The good enws is we can officially add a new feature:

Punishment Served
50 games, which is less than a third of a season.  It is however a big number and considering the start the Dodgers were having, will hurt the team significantly.   It is, in both time and percentage of games, longer than the penalty Rodney Harrison got.  Then add in the $8M hit he's taking as well, plus potential loss of sponsors. It's not the penalty that Runners or Bikers get, but it is a significant punishment and for baseball that is a good thing.  They are willing to publicly do this to one of the game's biggest stars.  Give credit to MLB, Selig, and the MLBPA for getting us this far.

LAME!  Manny, you are the most quotable athlete since Yogi Berra, and you give us "My doctor gave me a script and it accidentally had something bad in it."  I am ashamed of you!  Of all the crazy things you have said, you can't even give us a creative excuse that makes no sense to anyone but yourself?  Do you not care about your legacy?   *sigh*  This almost hurts more than the bust.    File this under Deny, and that means it's complete BS.  Heck thanks to Gay-Roid, even the admissions are complete BS.

Claim to Fame
Manny being Roidy just does not have the same ring to it.  Manny being Manny.  And when Manny was himself he was an RBI machine.   He could field the Green Monster as good as any who've played left field in Fenway.  He was fun, full of energy and was loved mostly because he looked like a kid out there.  Of course he rubbed some people the wrong way.  I was not one of them.  People who actually have fun playing professional sports will always have me as a fan.

Drug of Choice
TBD  -  The least it will be is amphetamines, but I think it i steroids or HGH.

Let me get personal for moment and share my tale of Manny and how I experienced him.  I first heard his name from a college roomate in 1996.  My roommate was a good friend of mine who unfortunately was from Cleveland.  I'm from Boston and the Indians swept the crap out of the Red Sox in the playoffs that year.  I could not feel bad after the decades of terrible teams Indians fans had suffered through.  He was born and raised a diehard fan of a team he'd never seen win anything.   His girlfriend at the time was also from Cleveland and she had a huge crush on a then very young Manny.  My roommate would tell me about how good Manny was and how much fun it was to watch him play the game.  So I was introduced by two huge fans of his and go to see him play well in his first post season.

Fast Forward to 2001 when the Red Sox signed him to a very hefty free agent contract, by the infamous Dan Duquette.   Manny was fun to watch and I don't care what his rep is, he is a good fielder.  Before 2004 the players union shot down one of the craziest trades ever thought up:  A-rod for Manny.  As far steroids go it was a lose-lose.  But as far as World Series rings go it was a huge win.   I loved the guy, until the very end.  I was that rare Red Sox fan who hated Schilling but loved Manny.  Right now Red Sox Nation is giving Manny the Buckner treatment.  But it is undeserved from those ungrateful bastards.  Without Manny's bat the 1918 chant would still be relevant.   The question I must ask myself is: Would I trade that for a clean team?

That is the heart of all this debate.   Would we go back?  Could we live in a world where 61, 755, and 1918 all still mattered?  It was magic, but it was dirty.  Unfortunately we cannot go back, we cannot undo the damage as much as many of would like to, and part me wants to go back as well.  All we can do is accept the world we live in:

Every athlete is innocent until proven guilty in the court of public opinion.  For me, once you test positive all prior activities are in question and doubt.  But until we get that rude awakening, you are clean.  Rumors are king, especially when the role of Cybil is played by Jose Canseco.     The drugs aren't going anywhere, but neither are we.  All we can do is make sure that when caught the cheaters are punished.   And this cheater was punished.   The next question becomes:  Since Manny actually served a suspension and did not "get away with it" does that mean he gets into Cooperstown?  I'm biased, I say yes.  I'm still a kid who loves sports and Manny is my guy.  I am as human as he is.

The worst thing about this is: Who was Manny's best friend while in Boston?  We have to assume I'll be writing about him at some point in the future.


Nomad said...

So Manny's out and A-Rod is in... I haven't heard yet if any of these guys will be barred from the Hall of Fame because of their confirmed drug usage

Pip said...

Nothing official, but from the way it looks to me: The guys who got busted with a positive test and serves a suspension are far more likely to get into Cooperstown than those that will live in Denial forever. Call it the Pete Rose Syndrome if you will. It's not the crime, it's the denial.