Manny's Positive Test Latest Blow to Baseball
Manny Ramirez may, in fact, have produced the most expensive urine in history. His positive test for performance enhancers under the Major-League Basic Agreement has cost the Dodgers slugger 50 games, starting right now, and has cost him almost $7.75 million of his $25 million in '09 salary. In addition, the Dodgers have a club option of $20 million for 2010. There would seem to be a strong chance, depending on how the club finishes up in the standings and the post-season this year, that in the wake of current events they will pass on paying Manny for the extra season.Since there were already no other bidders for his services this past winter, there is no reason for anyone else to step up now.
Manny being Manny? More like Manny being stupid. He claimed in a statement released by major-league baseball that the positive test for Performance-Enhancing Drugs came as a result of an ingredient in a prescription given him by his doctor for a personal medical issue. I'm sure it's an argument he will stick with for the rest of his career and since there is no appeal being planned by Ramirez or the union, then there is no reason for MLB to try and dispute Manny's claim. Or vice-versa. The doubt will appease those in the Cult of Manny and soften the long-term blow, including potential Hall-of-Fame inclusion.
But his argument makes no sense. Ever since first-time offenders were being penalized starting in '05, players have been advised to let their team trainers or their agents or MLB know whatever they were planning to put in their body so they can be cleared or warned. Manny knew.
The sources at ESPN.com as reported by Peter Gammons, have listed HCG a women's fertility drug as the likely cause of Manny's positive test. It is often used to restart natural testosterone production at the end of a steroid cycle. That is why it would be included on the list. The fact that Ramirez was not subject to random off-season testing as a free agent may indicate that when he signed on March 4 with the Dodgers, he may have decided to use the HCG without knowing it was one of 55 banned PEDs. According to ESPN it is similar to Clomin, linked to Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and BALCO.
Make no mistake, there is a lot of private fist-pumping going on from guys like Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Raffy Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, The Rocket and most especially the discombobulated and confused A-Rod, who only wanted to be loved. His timeline for returning to action has coincidentally been moved up by the 13-14 Yanks so he will already have had maybe three games and a lot of hootin-and-a-hollerin' from jeering road fans under his belt by the time he reaches the somewhat polite Rogers Centre -- and oh, yeah, if you're going to yell at A-Rod about sex, or drugs or rock and roll, Jays' fans, judging by the history of the biggest library in North America -- be prepared to be threatened with ejection starting next Tuesday..
But back to Manny. It's another blow for commissioner Bud Selig and MLB. The argument has been that the newer, tougher drug policy has been working and that the game is returning to normal, led by its incredible shrinking superstars. The game has been fun to watch in April. Over the past two seasons the list of those caught, even with the harsh first-time offence, mandatory testing, is short. In '08 there was 1) Elizier Alfonso C (SF) and 2) Humberto Cota (C (Col.). This year there has been 1) J.C. Romero LHP (Phi.) and 2) Sergio Mitre RHP (NYY). Now comes the headline-grabbing Manny, sending Bud back into defensive mode.
It's sad because Manny has been praised throughout his career with the Indians and Red Sox for his unbelievable work ethic and dedication to the craft of hitting. He spends more time watching video and in the cage than any of his teammates. He's always been a pure hitter. Now that purity is tainted forever.
Does this make the Jays the best clean team in baseball? Unfortunately we can't say that for certain about any ML team anymore. Once again, one positive means 750 players are clouded by the negative.