Saturday, May 9, 2009
OK, first thing's first: Manny Ramirez used steroids. I saw a comment from a reader in USA Today that said, "I believe Ramirez even though I didn't believe guys like Clemens and McGwire." He believes what? Ramirez was on a women's fertility drug, a drug commonly used to kick start the body's testosterone development after finishing a steroid cycle. And he dropped his appeal and accepted a 50-game suspension, thereby forfeiting about $8 million in salary.
He dropped his appeal, put up a very minimal fight through the media, and was on a women's fertility drug. Manny Ramirez used steroids.
This means that Manny Ramirez--whose career features a .315 average, 533 home runs and 1,745 RBI--has a darn good chance of NOT making the Hall of Fame. He joins Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi as one of the 50 players with the most home runs all-time who may not make their way to Cooperstown.
But even more worrisome than this one case is the fact that there were 104 players who tested positive in 2003, and to me it seems inevitable that these names will trickle out at some point, either one-by-one or all at once. If you ask me, these names need to come out sooner rather than later. It will be extremely difficult for MLB and its fans to digest this information, no doubt, but we might as well deal with it instead of letting it linger.
The fact that MLB suspended perhaps the best hitter in the game for 50 games is a good sign. They put together a commission to decide what to do about this huge cloud hovering over the game, and now they've followed through on one of the recommendations, proving it wasn't just lip service (Ramirez is not the first to be suspended 50 games, but his stature is just a teensy bit higher than that of J.C. Romero, Sergio Mitre and Kelvin Pichardo).
MLB seems to be moving in the right direction; it doesn't seem that the same can be said for the Players' Association. MLBPA continues to fight against blood-testing, the only way to test for human growth hormone, or HGH. MLBPA can't help but focus on the fact that all these monster numbers have resulted in monster contracts for its players, so instead of working with MLB to clean up the game, they continue to work for themselves and laugh all the way to the bank.
I simply can't figure out why all the players who aren't using steroids wouldn't want to do everything in their power to make sure they're not going up against artificially-enhanced competition. And don't get me wrong: MLB deserves lots and lots of blame for the so-called steroid era, but while they seem to be working to get the train back on the tracks, the Players' Association is apparently waiting to derail it should that happen.
-Cardinals OF Rick Ankiel crashed headfirst into the outfield wall earlier this week, and left the field on a stretcher. Though he apparently told Chris Duncan he was fine as he laid on the ground and left the hospital after X-rays were negative, he has a bruised right shoulder and overall soreness, and will be out for 15 days.
-Are you serious, A-Rod? In his season debut Friday, he hit a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw. One steroid user is out till July, another one wasted no time getting back into the swing of things.
-Zach Greinke (6-0, 0.40) goes for his seventh win against the Angels tonight.