Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 7, 2009
BASEBALL: Manny Being Barry

Say it ain't so: Manny Ramirez suspended 50 games for performance-enhancing drug test.

This is a bad thing, but in one way a good thing: it's the first such suspension that really has a chance to unsettle a pennant race. The steroids horse is way too far out of the barn, in my view, to punish people retrospectively. It's never going to be possible to say with certainty, looking backwards, who used what, who was clean, and what difference was made in their careers. Certainly, we can look askance at the really unnatural Bonds-like career patterns, but ultimately, I think the sportswriters will have to recognize that the drugs are just another generation's unique playing conditions, and the Hall of Fame will adjust accordingly.

But putting real teeth in the enforcement mechanism going forward at least will move us towards having a little more confidence in a clean game in the future. A real suspension for a real star is the wake-up call that's needed to get the public to believe it's a real effort.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:05 PM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

I'm stunned. But should I be? Probably not.

My esteem for Frank Thomas' and Junior Griffey's accomplishments (not to mention Pujols', assuming he's clean) continues to increase.

Posted by: per14 at May 7, 2009 1:08 PM

They caught a big fish in Manny. Jeez.

Crank, you write: "ultimately, I think the sportswriters will have to recognize that the drugs are just another generation's unique playing conditions, and the Hall of Fame will adjust accordingly."

This is a good point that people have not discussed much. Each generation of baseball players has its serious flaws.Will the next generation of sportswriters and fans view steriod use differently than we do?

Posted by: Steve at May 7, 2009 1:40 PM

I think this also puts to rest the old "Manny being Manny." Being absent-minded on the playing field is one thing. Being so absent-minded that he is suspended for 50 games for a banned substance is something else entirely.

Posted by: steve at May 7, 2009 2:00 PM

It just goes to show that it's probably best to just do "cosmetic" drug testing like the NFL because otherwise you are going to catch some really big names and hurt the sport. The more you go after the PED users, the more it looks like your sport is overrun by cheaters as cycling and track & field have found out.

All that being said, it's a gutsy move by MLB to suspend one of their best and most popular players. No way any other major American sport does that.

Posted by: Tom at May 7, 2009 2:14 PM

The NFL has at times suspended big stars, like Julius Peppers and Shawne Merriman. But it catches such a small number of players that it's probably not looking too hard (which is still harder than the NBA and NHL).

I am curious at what point the sportswriters are going to realize that they can't have a credible Hall of Fame if they keep out all of the proven or likely PED users. I think we are probably a couple more post-testing busts aways from that (maybe one, if it were to be Pujols).

Posted by: Jerry at May 7, 2009 3:19 PM

Manny being Barry? Geez, as a lawyer you must know the govt. has no case against Bonds.

Posted by: John Salmon at May 7, 2009 3:19 PM

Yeah, I'm a bit stunned too. A bit sad, mostly because the only thing I've heard of his alleged drug is to restart testosterone after a steroid cycle. If there's something else it can be used for, it may temper me a bit.

It's strange though - I hope that both ARod and Manny do well when they get back. Well, ARod mostly so the Yankees don't threaten to go below .500.

Posted by: Dave at May 7, 2009 7:30 PM

Busted for using female fertility drugs? Sounds like Manny being Mary...

Posted by: joe at May 8, 2009 6:40 AM

Hmm. This now all seems a little weird to me as I read about what actually happened. It wasn't steroids, it was a female hormone drug and/or unnatural testosterone. He supposedly has passed all drug tests in the last five years. He won't name his medical condition which suggests it's something embarrassing. It's going to be interesting how this plays out.

Posted by: per14 at May 8, 2009 10:08 AM

Are you absolutely sure Thomas and Griffey never did steroids.
Here's my list of players I know didn't take them.
Well, that's my top 5 list, at least.

Posted by: Berto at May 8, 2009 5:41 PM

Berto - I'm willing to give a clean bill of health to the following:

1) Jamie Moyer
2) Tim Wakefield

Those are the only players I can think of who would not have been helped by steroids. Even guys like Maddux and Glavine who I'm 99.9% sure about would still have known how to benefit from throwing 2 or 3 miles and hour faster.

Posted by: Jerry at May 9, 2009 8:53 PM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg