Manny Being Manny*

* With PEDs.

“U have no idea!” a Red Sox friend texted at the end of last July. “U haven’t heard half the stories. Ones u have r only half the truth.” The trade of texts ended with guesstimates of just how much the trade of Manny Ramirez had extended the lives of everybody in Boston from the team executives to the clubhouse attendants.
These stories constituted as wide a range of accused crimes and misdemeanors as any modern player has ever collected. But none I ever heard included a specific charge about performance enhancing drugs. That there is surprise at the 50-game suspension, at the perfect dagger through the heart of the Dodgers’ perfect start, is about the means, not ends. “Looks like a great team,” a Dodger told me not two months ago in Arizona. “Watch Manny screw it up. He got his money.”
The stories, dating back to Cleveland, ranged from unbelievable/nonsense to just unbelievable. He supposedly shirked, showed up late or not at all, forced the trade, tried to get it undone. Guys in the dugout said they saw him once picking at his nails, his glove under his arm, as a righty made contact and pulled the ball right to him (he made the catch). His personal hygiene was supposed to be indescribable. Teammates wondered if he was “all there.” As late as this spring a Dodger individual predicted a phony injury. His extraordinary natural gifts, they thought, gave him the ability to wallpaper it all. The near-.400 stretch with the Dodgers last year was an indication of what he could do if he was trying – and if he was scared.
There were some specifics. Last July 6th – maybe the first public indicator something was desperately wrong – the infamous Sunday Night game in New York when Ramirez didn’t start, and only appeared as a ninth-inning pinch-hitter against Mariano Rivera with two out and the winning run at second. Manny never took the bat off his shoulder. Not, he got called out on three Rivera cutters. He never moved. Went silently to the plate, left Boston’s last runner of the loss to fade away at second, left without comment for the clubhouse.
Last July 31st, the Red Sox and Pirates and Dodgers beat the deadline and Manny is gone. And the phone supposedly rings in Boston. It’s Manny, shocked into reality. He wasn’t happy, sure, but he was only doing what the agent suggested to get them to pick up his 2009 option (not that the agent suggested all this) and he was really sorry and he would play his heart out and he’d be there extra-early for BP and he was glad the trade hadn’t happened. And the person at the other end of the line needed several tries before he managed to get the idea through to Manny that the trade could not be undone, that he had to move to L.A., that time would not roll backwards just because Manny wanted it to.
That’s the thing that makes it surprising that we are all surprised today. All the stories about Ramirez could be total slanders. The claims about intelligence and hygiene and focus and selfishness could be utter nonsense spread to make those who survived him look better, gentler, more long-suffering. The Cookie Cutter Excuse No. 3 – my-doctor-prescribed-it-it-was-an-accident – could even be true. But the one continuous thread through every tale, true or false, is exactly the explanation for the PED user who gets caught – a presumption of invincibility and an inability to discern cause and effect.
Forgive the anonymity of the quotes – again – but this was in Glendale in March and a Dodger person (sorry) traded a greeting with Manny and then we watched as Manny joined a group stretching in the outfield. “Look at him wincing,” he said. “I’d be concerned but he told me, now that he had signed, and now that he had gotten his timing in the batting cage, since he hated spring training so much, he figured he’d pull a hamstring so he could get a few days off.” The Dodger person looked only at Manny. “He actually told me that. Look at him. He’s practicing looking hurt.”
I offered that he saw the new contract not as payment for services to be rendered, not as a lifeline to encourage a repeat of last year’s intensity, but as just desserts for what he did last year, that there when you were Manny Ramirez there were no incentives, no forward-thinking. The Dodger person squinted out towards number 99, and finally answered. “Yes. I think that may be it. But who (expletives deleted) knows. When they said that this was ‘Manny being Manny’ in Boston, we had no idea just how much that meant.”
Apparently none of us did.

47 Comments

Hi Keith,
When I saw the news headline on this, I knew you would write something about it. For me as a fan of the game it makes me pretty damn mad. Manny proved that he is a cheat. He cheated the fans and his team who depended on him. It takes away from the sport. It takes away from the guys who play clean and bust their ***** day in and day out.

I follow cycling rather closely and doping has been an issue for many years. It has left some fans very bitter and jaded. So much so that every time somebody puts in an amazing ride, they automatically assume doper. But I must say I like their approach to this issue. You dope, get caught you are fired from your team and are suspended for 2 years. If you come back and dope again, life time ban. The 50 game ban in baseball is nothing. They can still come back and play for a major league team and still make the big money. It shouldn’t be like that. MLB needs to crack down and follow cycling’s lead. There needs to be an absolute zero-tolerance for this.
~Kathleen

I am not surprised. Disappointed that he was not caught earlier. Hoping he was not someone’s role model. Wishing his millions would go to those looking for work.

Thanks for the blog KO

This is the greatest day EVER!!!!

Manny couldn’t even use a MALE enhancer??? Hilarious.

A-Roid should now be sending Manny a thank-you letter.

I am even MORE glad now the Sox dumped him, and I was pretty darn happy when that happened.

Props to you, McCourt? how?s that MannyWOOD investment looking now?

Baseball season in LA just got a whole lot more interesting.

I love this game

Management types & owners in baseball have tried to toughen testing standards, but the players’ union has always “just said no.” Owners, managers, etc. have wonderfully displayed their double-standard when it comes to PEDs. They want the players to hit all these home runs so games will be more exciting so people will buy tickets to the games so people will spend money at the park, etc. So, some players do what they do to increase their chances by any means necessary to gain that power. But, when the players get caught, the owners & managers et al. are the first ones to “poo poo” the offending player. I’m absolutely not making excuses for the players; many a baseball great became a baseball great without PEDs. But, many players today in any sport – not just baseball – don’t have the patience & mental toughness to simply train, work hard, devote yourself to the good of the game, etc. that the truly great players did. As far as the tests in cycling, my husband is in the “cycling game,” so he is glued to the Tour every summer & does riding on his own. There is NO WAY in Hades that baseball players will submit to the testing standards in cycling – no advanced warning, you have to test when they show up, testing at the end of every event, etc. That will NEVER happen in baseball or probably any other sport.

That is amazing that a Dodger told you to watch Manny screw it up because he got his money. Man, whoever that was..they were right on! The real losers in this are the Dodgers players, coaches and fans.Russhttp://wight4256.mlblogs.com

Now here’s a first, a baseball player doping because he’s just too LAZY to work up to his potential. Somebody ought to interview his High School teachers. Manny needs to be left to slowly twist in the wind.

The one thing that all of the baseball “fans” always say about players taking enhancements is they are cheaters. That comment is such ignorance. #1, we are all employes in real life, no different then baseball is a job for those who play. Baseball is 200+ games a year and thousands of hours of physical work outs. All of you who call in sick to work because of a cold have luxuries. Steriods make you bigger, physics dictates bigger means slower. To say a player is using enhancements to perform is ridiculous. You don’t hit home runs because your Barry Bonds new size (otherwise David Eckstein wouldn’t hit home runs). You hit them because you have bat speed. Bat speed can not be purchased in a bottle, it is a blessed talent. Ball players can’t call in sick when it rains, or when they have colds. Taking medicine solves that. When ballplayers don’t play they suffer financially, no different then when we miss days of work. Everyone who loves to say he’s a cheater or they are drug addicts, why don’t you ask yourself if your job was threatenting to lay you off, let’s say because you’re 36 years old and there are plenty of “younger” guys waiting for your job. If you would be given a prescription to enhance your work performance, which allows you job security, which puts food on your table, what would you do? All of you “fans” that want to consistently say about baseball being tainted don’t even realize that Selig and everyone in the office knew about McGwire, Sosa & Bonds. Don’t even kid yourself. Drugs have been a major part of sports since the 60′s. Sure, why would the commissioner’s office want to ruin the huge upswing during the McGwire/Sosa HR derbies? Heck, baseball was huge then, everyone watched. If the public chooses to be naive and think NOBODY knew, you are all kidding yourselves and look like jokes when you cry these players are “cheaters”. I will go on a limb and say there is not one player who has played the last 40 years who at some point in a season needed a “pick me up”. Someone who knows Cal Ripken should ask him off the record how many times in the streak did he find it almost impossible to get out of bed to go to the same job, day in, day out. A “pick me up” could be alcohol related?? It wasn’t like Mickey Mantle ever missed out when someone was buying a round of drinks. Or Billy Martin, or countless others. Get a clue, the real issue needs to be taken with the commissioner’s office and all of those idiots who knew all about this and kept it quiet from the public. No one will ever have the guts to put the screws to guys like Selig, and question it, but if you have a chance to talk to former players, if they are friends of yours and will speak the truth, and it will open up a new light for baseball fans. You will learn that baseball is a gigantic corporate business, and there are people who run the business and employees who worry about their jobs who work the business. Baseball is real life, no different to those who work for Corporate America. Until those of you who cry travesty to this situation can ever say they did a physical activity, like playing a professional sports, not like a 2 hour gym workout, daily for an entire season and didn’t take a day off because this is your meal ticket, then NONE of you know what it’s like. I’ve never played professional sports, and I fully understand and personally couldn’t care less. If a player wants to assume responsibility for injuring themselves, THAT IS NOT my responsibility. I don’t know Manny, I don’t know Barry. If Barry wants to juice to his head explodes, that is between Mr. Bonds and his family. NOT ME, NOT YOU! Get off the bandwagon and accept sports as something to live vicariously through, wishing we all could quit our jobs and do, enjoy it for the entertainment value, and let those guys do their jobs, and we stick to ours. I wouldn’t ask Manny to come and do my job daily, he doesn’t need me or YOU telling him how to do his

I am just glad Manny wasn’t in a Red Sox uniform. Life is good!

Another point that I would like to make to the “fans” who continually say how this has ruined the game for them. As a fan, diehard or casual, you need to seperate what is real from fantasy. It is perfectly okay to be a fan of a sports team or a player. When you start making stupid comments about how YOU have been taking advantage of as a fan, you need a reality check. As a fan, the purpose of an event is to entertain. Now unless you have vested interest in the club as a stock holder, or directly related to one of the players whose income has a profound impact on you, when you are saying YOU’VE BEEN cheated, it has NOTHING….NOTHING to do with you. There are billions of baseball fans worldwide, steriods, overdoses, guys who mess around with Madonna etc. The problem here lies with obsessed based fans who cannot escape the reality that they are not part of the team. As much as you want to turn the cap around to be a rally cap, and then your team comes from behind and wins the game, IT IS NOT because of you and your backwards hat. Or the lucky troll your grandma brings to the game, or the prayer you made during the last mass. If you really want to be a fan, then you support your team, good and bad. You don’t jump off the bandwagon, you don’t cry foul, you enjoy watching your team and your favorite sport as it’s intended. Entertainment people. As I said, unless we are playing sports, it is designed for those players blessed with the talent to be able to do so, and for us to spend the money and have an enjoyable evening and watch them play. Let athletes do their jobs, and lets have the public stick to doing ours. Anyone who did not read my previous blog at 12:30pm today, please do so. I welcome all comments and have more then enough energy to back up what have said. Baseball has been around for over 110 years, and has outlasted Babe Ruth dating 15 year old girls, Mickey Mantle stumbling around the clubhouse in a stuper, Willie Mays making a silly choice to play his last season in obscurity with the Mets, Joe Jackson, Pete Rose and the list goes on and on. When you are talking about jobs, it doesn’t matter if you are Alex Rodriguez the Yankees future Hall of Famer, or Alex Hernandez who works for Citibank. There is fear for job security, there is real fear to wake up in the morning and its all gone. These athletes need to protect what they have, just like you do. Because they make 6 million in one year and you make $35000 is just relevant to the skills each individual possess. If all of us were blessed to hit baseballs, we would probably all play baseball. That’s why there are teachers, doctors, lawyers etc. When people say that these players are not good role models is another point of ignorance. Barry Bonds said it best that he wasn’t asked to be little Jimmy’s role model. A role model needs to be a child’s parents, or teacher or mentor. If a “good” parent raises their kids to idolize Barry Bonds as opposed to the child’s father, or the teacher that is giving this kid an education, THEN THE PROBLEM is at home with you the parents not teaching your kids proper values. I’m a huge sports fan. I have been directly involved with working with athletes in personal events for the last 24 years of my life. Sure, I have sat in limo’s with Mickey Mantle, sat in bars with Joe Namath, I have sat in casino’s with Dennis Rodman. Does that mean that I have to fall apart and forget my upbringing because Darryl Strawberry asks if I mind if he does a line while we are waiting at a stoplight in his limo. Does that mean I have to do the same. NO. And neither do any of you. Role models should be people who can make a difference. I,E. “Role” models. They play a roll in shaping someones future. Last time I researched that, teachers, law enforcement, firemen, parents they would fall into that category. I am just not certain where any child I personally have an effect on could put Manny Ramirez in that same sentence as to have changed his or her life. Back to my last point. Let athletes do THEIR jobs, and assume personal responsbility and let’s all do OURS.

It sounds to me that he might be suffering from some sort of clinical depression, perhaps bi-polar disorder. I only say that because I’m bi-polar and have a history of self destruction as a means of destroying opportunities. I hope he gains the upper hand on whatever demons are ailing him. When he’s on he’s an awesome player.

Barry, Roger, Arod, and now Manny… another example of what the culture of imbalance in baseball has done. Imbalance meaning the Worship of the Home Run at the expense of the rest of the game. As long as the Home Run is the main feature of baseball, as long as it is touted as the most exciting play, as long as ESPN rolls endless highlights of balls rattling in the outfield seats, as long as players are given fat contracts for hitting them… there will be PEDs whether the MLB drug squad detects them or not. Yes pitchers use them too because they hurt their joints throwing 93+ fastballs to foil the homer hitters. PEDs help them heal up so they can do it some more.

They can take PEDs out of the game by making the Home Run a rare event. Soften the ball, raise the mound, stretch the fences… so that a Home Run is likely to be an Inside The Park job, not just a triumphant trot and a motivation to load up on more steroids. But the League is opting for Prohibition… a concept that hasn’t worked yet for anyone. The PEDs these players use are designed to elicit multi-million dollar contracts. 50 game suspensions handed out to players with guaranteed contracts isn’t going to stop them.

Until they make the Home Run an antique relic of the Steroid Age, the Steroid Age will continue. And I believe that it will so get used to drugs in baseball, kids. =(

thanks christopher.allen for your comments. i could not agree more, especially about role models. i’ll continue to be a fan of the dodgers, which i’ve been since 1949, and when manny returns i’ll continue to enjoy how he plays the game.
reality is how he plays and entertains. reality is that there are athletes in all sports enhancing their performance, certainly in baseball. some forms of enhancement are illegal, others are not. since we really don’t now who’s doing what, i’ve never quite understood how we can come down so hard on certain actions, and not on others. the purity of baseball, and other sports, disappeared long ago, if it did ever exist. as you said, we should just sit back and root for our teams, and enjoy their performances,enhanced or not. george p.s. keith olberman should stick to politics, where hot air is more appreciated.

Just Manny being Manny.

Like Milli Vanilli winning a Grammy. Like Glenn Close redubbing all of Andie MacDowall’s dialog in “Tarzan.” Like just about everyone in popular music lipsynching at concerts. Baseball is entertainment. There will always be liars and cheaters. None of this is surprising.

Hi Keith, Sorry about you mom. I Never miss Countdown. I was on a high last night after the Dodgers Nats game, Because of the win and the way the Dodgers have been performing as a team. Deep down I knew this was going to happen. If not Manny then someone else on the team. Nobody made any offers for him in the off season. But Manny is not bigger than the Dodgers. When Nomar Garciaparra join the team, I was as excited as my kids at the Circus. That’s what Dodger Baseball does to me. Manny could retire today and The Dodgers are still going to be in contention for the NL Championship. But what gets me is that fans from his former teams calling him a Quitter, He’s selfish, a cheater, a doper a Two time World Series Champion. He won them two World series. He did. Nomar has never giving the Dodgers a World Championship. Manny has never giving the Dodgers a World Championship. But their still Dodgers and that’s all that matters.

I’m really not shocked, but…Jose Conseco seems correct on all of this….what are your thoughts on Conseco?

Nice post Keith. Nothing better than an “I told you so” Monday Morning quarterback without a single source. I wonder what “Dodger person” would say about his .345 BA and 500 OBP…maybe that it would have been 360 if he wasn’t too busy “practicing” his injured hamstring routine in spring training.

I’m not sure what I’m more disappointed about…the fact that another of baseball’s great sluggers is tainted with steroids. Or the fact that I just subjected myself to pure drivel from a Sportscenter host turned MSNBC host turned baseball blogger. Geez.

if his substance really was prescribed by a legitimate physician he would have fought the suspension and most phyisicans know what are banned substances. he deserves the suspension and should be thankful it is only 50 games and a loss of 7.7 million dollars. this loss of salary is more than most peoplemake is a lifetime and those paying to see those games make in a lifetime. it is time that these players realize their mistakes. good riddens for 50 games

Sad day. I guess he just proved that Manny does this to every team he plays for, first he ditches Cleveland (but at least he certainly isnt the only one chasing money), then he performs all those antics to get out of Boston and betray my sox, and now it is the dodgers’ turn :(
well, if anything, i’m glad we got rid of the b*stard when we could still get a great player in jason bay. I still liked Manny even after all of that crap until today. Burn in h

ell, Manuel Aristides Ramirez

Keith – I don’t know if I’m reading this right, but here goes; you aren’t making predictions or saying Manny had to have done this; and that you are one of the few good sports journalists out there right now concerning the news on Manny today. Meaning; you are telling us what you know about Manny, and not what you think we should think. Am I correct? I’m hoping to see this as a segment on your show, but I’m in the middle of watching the Brewers lose to a whole bunch of guys who normally do not hit home runs. Whatever the heck you just said, it didn’t have a horrible Olney/Rosenthal/(even Verducci and Costas) slant to it. Cryptic, though. I really doubt he took steroids. You’ve got his baseball cards; you’ve seen his stats. Mostly static.

My apologies to the Reds organization, for making a careless remark on the Brewers losing to guys who do not normally hit home runs. What I should have said was ; “The Reds hit a lot. We want to win 8 in a row before Chicago comes to visit, and that they simply should NOT be hitting home runs.”
My apologies to the team, especially Micah Owings.

FOR CHRISTOPHER.ALLEN,
I DO RESPECT YOUR WORDS AND BELIEVE THAT IS HOW YOU FEEL. NOT THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU WHAT I RESPECT. HOWEVER IF YOU DON’T FOLLOW THE RULES WHAT SHOULD WE CALL THEM? I AM WITH YOU ON THE CHEATER THINK, IT’S A LITTLE CHEESEIE????? THE FACT REMAINS THEY ARE DONG SOMETHING THAT IS AGAINST THE RULE. . I CAN UNDERSTAND SOME USING TO GET THRU THE SEASON, BUT THEY KNOW IT IS NOT ALLOWED. I COULD NOT AGREE MORE, PLAYERS SHOULD NOT BE HELD UP AS ROLE MODELS. TOO MAY OTHERS IN REAL LIFE THAT ARE MORE DESERVING OF THAT
EVEN OL’ BOBBY GIBSON SAID THAT HAD THEY BEEN AROUND IN HIS DAY HE PROBABLY WOOD HAVE USED THEM.
PEACE,
HAWK

KO Manny looked like he came off the juice while still with the sox. His uniform became very loose after the league started to pay attention. The only sport I really care about is baseball & I hope none of these cheaters make the hall of fame. Pete Rose didn’t make it for gambling after he was done playing, none of these juciers desirve to make it in.

KO Manny looked like he came off the juice while still with the sox. His uniform became very loose after the league started to pay attention. The only sport I really care about is baseball & I hope none of these cheaters make the hall of fame. Pete Rose didn’t make it for gambling after he was done playing, none of these juciers desirve to make it in. Big fan of countdown aswell KO keep up the great work.

One of the key points being missed is the honor system. I teach at a college. If a student sees someone cheating, that student is supposed to turn in that other student. So, we hear players saying they “knew” so-and-so was cheating. Why didn’t they say something. To blame only those who have been caught, like Ramirez, or seem obvious, like Bonds and Clemens, is to deny the regrettable reality that baseball is, always has been, and always will be a cheater’s sport.

Firstly Keith, glad to see you writing a sports oriented column again. There are some who can remember you back in the days in California discussing various sports topics on the news. There are some like me who have dealt with you on another business level by selling you sports memorabilia, and know of the legendary status of your collection, as well as respect your knowledge for the game. Let all the emailers announce how many books they’ve written on baseball, or how many hours they have put into amassing the collection of merchandise that I know you own. Idiots surround us my friend. I was able to read a couple of ramblings from users who need to take their typewriters out of their trailers and find better things to do then fill a blog site with a bunch of expletives and nonsense. Most people haven’t seen 50% of the stuff that I have seen in the business, and I haven’t seen 10% of what you have. Best of luck dealing with the idle chatter you will find. I’m certain you will find a way to creatively denounce them and put them in their place

KO, while your speculation and storytelling do not fall upon deaf ears, this blog sounds like it has more of a personal vendetta tied to it than that bush league SI reporter’s book on A-rod. Let us all stop sounding as though playing the game of baseball constitutes some kind of sinful pursuit partaken only by those looking for a shortcut to financial success and stardom where everyone is a selfish s.o.b. cheater. Baseball is a source of happiness for millions of people who love the game just like the players do. The God given talent MLB players are blessed with is only half of the equation, enhanced or not. Nobody is holding a gun to these players heads forcing them to entertain the fans. Major league players play the game because they truly love the game. There is no way in the world that they would play the game at such a high level of excellence otherwise. Love makes you do stupid things from time to time. Not that it is excusable, but the intention of these players is not to cheat the game or the fans. It is just a stupid decision that they unfortunately chose to make. If anyone in the media thinks of him or herself as the authority on bringing a sense of guilt or regret to those who have unnaturally enhanced their performance, realize that it is the personal sense of regret the player feels that cuts deeper than any talking head’s criticism.

In responce to The Hawk:
That is a very good point as to what do you call someone who breaks the rules? Whether it be baseball, in school or at the work place trying to go “up the ladder”. Cheating is 100% the correct term as per person involved. I think when you break down a team sport you have incorporate the “team”. Yes, Barry hit all those Home Runs in his career, and has all those offensive titles. But he has 2 fewer rings then Scott Spezio & either 2 or 3 less then David Eckstein. As far as individuals go, certainly records from past era’s will go by the wayside. But it’s not any different arguement then when people ask who was better, Arnold Palmer or Tiger Woods? You hear the arguements comparing Ruth to Mays and then to Bonds and then to Arod, to Pujols etc. etc. Those arguments get all sorts of attention, but in reality you are comparing “apples and oranges”. Babe Ruth didn’t get a 8 year 68 million dollar contract offered to him. No different then Arnold Palmer didn’t have a 3 wood with a head the size of a loaf of bread attached to it like the guys now. Compare it to Football, Hockey, heck think out of the box; compare it to Bowling. When we are spanning decades but still talking about the same sport, it is simply not the same playing field. Take the average players basic size now coming out of High School. Kids are 6’1-6’3 210-230. Look back in generations people. Kids are bigger now, physically. Sports equipment is so much further advanced as is Sports Medicine for that matter. To all of those “fans” who think Mantle, Mays or Aaron would have turned their heads if these enhancements were offered, I can only say a final comment. Willie Mays, arguably the greatest 5 tool player of all times played his final season in 1973 and parts of 1974, in obscurity no less, as a has been with the New York Mets. Steve Carlton who had nothing to prove and nothing left in the tank went on to a silly result with the Twins and White Sox his last couple of years because he just couldn’t say goodbye. Can any of these guys really say if they could go back in time and have found some sort of “bone enhancer” or “hormone treatment” that could have made them heal faster, prolong them during the healthy parts of their career, and be able to make it where they wouldn’t feel the affects from their playing days, that they wouldn’t have done the same. Someone should ask Johnny Bench this question next time they see him in public with his walker that he doesn’t show off in public, but uses. Or when he’s recovering from another hip surgery. I love the comment that the user Hawk made about Bob Gibson when he said if this stuff was around then, he’d have used it too. You’re damn right.

To those who want to baste Olbermann for alleged lack of reputable sources in his original post:

It’s a BLOG POST, people. It was not, is not, ever intended to be or to substitute for, an actual news story. Some of the same people who wish to appeal to a “common sense” ethic of cheating-is-cheating ought to apply that same tried-and-true thinking to the easily discernible differences between a personalized statement in a blog post and the higher standards of televised/print/web reporting. As such, in this personalized forum, if a guy wants to vent his spleen, he has that right.

That said, I am in complete agreement with the above posts which call for some sorely needed perspective: 1) drugs–and many which are much worse than steroids–have been around pro sports for decades. Pollyanna-like moaning for some long-lost “purity of the game” is both ignorant and embarassing. 2) I defy ANYONE here to show conclusively that steroids–or ritalin/adderall, etc.–will enhance a baseball player’s ability to perform the variety of actual tasks required of him. In baseball, reaction time is the most important skill to hone–and no amount of any steroid or other alleged PED will increase a player’s reaction time when deciding what pitch to swing at, or to time a dive for a ball in deep centerfield. An excellent point was made above: steroids produce mucho muscle mass, which SLOWS overall speed to meet the ball at its best possible point. If you want to make the argument that McGwuire, et al, without the juice, don’t hit those mammoth 550-foot moon shots, you MIGHT have a point–since increased muscle mass does–for the short-term–mean you can hit the ball harder to a certain degree (although this is also quite debatable for a number of reasons related to teh physics of the game). But last time I checked, most MLB power alleys peaked just below 400 feet. Are you then telling me that McGwuire, A-Rod, etc. couldn’t hit a “modest” 400-foot shot any day of the week without the roids? Please. 3) This leaves us with the issue of Ramirez’ actual suspension which, reagardless of the “purity” nonsense at its core, I have to support. An argument was made above that if we don’t take the rules seriously, then what’s the point? Even if the whole thing rests upon a completely bogus foundation, if MLB wants to make it through this–and maybe do something right, first with the public humiliation of Selig and crew–and have some fans fill the seats, MLB has to follow up with what it said it would do. The BS about sports and drugs–roids or otherwise–is as deeeply rooted as it gets. MLB actually has an opportunity to end this idiocy, hypocrisy, and historical deception. We all know it won’t dare come close.

Keith–

I’m a fan of yours. I’m also a longtime Red Sox Nation citizen and, despite that, still a Manny maniac.

No one has been slow to judge Mr. Ramirez, even without knowing all the facts. How COULD he? they’re screaming. I don’t know IF he could, but I think I might know how.

Baseball and other major league sports are a haven for those few individuals gifted with superior abilities, but they offer such a haven (and often to individuals born into poverty) only for a brief span of years. The monetary rewards can be staggeringly large, but they melt away like a Fenway snowball on a June L.A. day when the athlete’s ability to perform miracles is curtailed by injury or age.

And despite the hoary chestnuts many of your readers are pulling out–the cries of outrage at the sullying of “America’s pastime,” the enraged bellows of “Cheater!”–it is clear that said hallowed pastime has never been about finding and rewarding men of great character, although the game has been blessed with a few such. Except for the sandlot days of childhood, it has always been about finding great talent and rewarding it with great wads of cash. And when the spotlight goes elsewhere, yesterday’s hero limps away, often to spend his remaining years in chronic pain, and with dwindling resources.

Is it any wonder that those who vanquished obscurity with the swing of a bat or a change-up no one’s ever seen before are often willing to fight, by any means available, to prolong their days in the sun? The most addictive performance-enhancing drugs are money and fame; we offer them freely to those who can lift and loft us from our mundane lives on a crisp October afternoon and send us flying toward a green monster that was built to be vanquished. Why do we bellow in outraged betrayal when the glory junkies we create are willing to bend the rules until they snap for a few more fixes of wealth and adoration?

Is Manny Ramirez a human of great character? Probably not. Is he human? Indubitably–as, may god help us, are we all, and heirs to all the weaknesses that come with the territory.

Is he a character? As we say in Boston, ayuh, you betcha. I will wait to hear what Manny has to say. And part of me will love him always for the great baseball he gave me. Gave to us all.

Bolshiegirl:
Very well thought of, and very well worded post. I applaud the effort. In so many written, or spoken instances there is a phrase that gets repeated “that if you don’t expect too much, you might not be let down”. There is just no real training when you take someone, who in all reality makes a living playing a game, and you hand then 30 or 40 million dollars. Can any of us “common work folk” relate to that? Outside of hitting a Megabucks slot machine in Vegas, how many of us can say we will be handed in one lump sum even 1 million dollars? 100,000? You get the point. How can that pressure build up for an athlete to perform on a daily basis with these expectations? Most of us feel the heat with a $2 raise at work. Athletes are put on the pedastal because deep down every little boy wants to hit a home run, run around the bases with the fans screaming. Or they want to hit the jumper with no time on the clock, or be Hines Ward and catch the winning TD, or whomever. The reality is way too many athletes crack under the strain, and we can all say that’s a joke, but sometimes take a minute to just think of the strain. True, this is the profession they chose. Nobody would give it a second thought if he was Barry Bonds the employee at KFC, but he’s not. God Bless Donnie Moore whose demons took him in the prime of his career, and it wasn’t even his fault. You never hear much about the fact the Angels left Mike Witt in that game way to long and then loaded the bases back to back innings, tossed way to many pitches, then they brought Donnie in. The rest as we know the result is history, and the entire Moore family for generations has to live with that. The same can be said for Len Bias and so many others. It can be so very easy for the public to make judgements based on what they see on the outside. A former employer of mine once told me that there are actually 3 colors to every situation. There is Black, there is White, and there is Grey. People who have the ability to see Grey, have the ability to succeed. When Babe Ruth was asked how he felt that he makes more money then the president, he replied that he had a better year. Amusing, sure. Truthful, 100%. Baseball is just one gigantic corporate business. People come and they go, no different then all of our work places. Being able to figure out a way to properly educate the 16-19 year old that have been given a gift while they are in school. Or better yet while they are at home and the parents can see their kid is special when he is 12 or 13. Find some sort of way to keep your special kids on the right track and you will not only be able to find better athletes, but in fact better adults. Bobby Knight has been called an impossible man to play for and be around. But I dare anyone to read stories or quotes from any of his former players that said they didn’t leave a Coach Knight program a better person then when they walked in. It starts at home, and it starts in school. Those need to be your kids “Role Models”. Not Barry, Manny or Arod.

Yo keith,
Time for me to rant… forget Manny, A-Rod, Big Mac, The Rocket, Bonds and everyone who is linked to steriod use. We should Erase their names from the history books, from the Box Scores and anything they have their name on. Lets give them numbers like inmates or something like John Doe 32 or something. Kick these sorry ***** out of baseball, never to play again, never give them a chance to be on a HOF ballet. They should have their contracts voided and banned just like pete rose, shoeless Joe Jackson.
Baseball is still the best game in the world and it will continue to be the best game in the world when these cheats are dead and gone. Baseball has survived many rough times and it will continue to do so. I think it is time for a change at the top also, meaning Selig needs to go. Time for a Roger Goodell’esk style commisioner for baseball. Maybe Cal Ripken Jr? No second chances for these roid heads, get them out for good. I know people connected to major league baseball and I even know a High Profile Major leaguer who has done it and who has said it is a very common thing in the league, starting in the minors!! I’m not the type of person to name names and I won’t, but trust me it is a lot worse than people think. Canseco is right about everything he said and its ashame he has lost his credibility among the public. Time for a change and it needs to start with selig. We need more Roy Oswalts in this game. More Cals, ruths, gehrigs, Mantles and robinsons. Its complete and udder horse **** whats going on with the game I love so much.

Bret
J-ville

In response to bc1869:
Addressing your comment about the guys you labeled that baseball “needs more of in the game”, lets address a couple of them one by one. We can start with Mr. Ripken. Great role model for baseball? Sure? If you were to ask his wife about the lawsuit she slapped on him for infedelity back around 1986ish she might think otherwise. Do your research on the Ripken vs Ripken civil suit, if you Google it, I’m sure you can find some results. We can’t forget the Bambino who took a very keen likeness to underage girls during his playing days. If you didn’t the biography in the theathers, it can be backed up in numerous books about the Babe’s private life. I really don’t need to go into Mickey Mantle do I. He spent 2/3rds of his career in a bag being tanked, and that didn’t change when he got older. I can go over numerous public appearences that I had with him where it was a 9 Martini lunch before we got to the event. I have an awesome story I can share about him leaving a suitcase full of cash he received for a job inside of a taxi cab while trying to catch a plane. Then he got to the airport, once again loaded, and realized he left the suitcase behind. Touching upon the fact that during the entire period of the 80′s & mostly 90′s all these guys insisted on being paid cash for their appearences doesn’t make them rank as “All-Stars” on the IRS lists. That explains the reason guys like Duke Snider, Steve Garvey and so on have 6 figure IRS debts they are working till they die to pay off by doing public signings. Bottom line, the only thing agreed is that the front office of baseball needs to go. Personally, I like Bob Watson for the job as a new commissioner. The guy has the inside track from being on the board, he’s a former player that had a career long enough to understand the players arguements, as well as a career “inside” to understand the business. But don’t mention the boys like Ruth, Cal or Mantle, you are doing no great service then mentioning Jose Canseco, Pete Rose and Denny McLain in the same breath

Dear Keith:
COUNTDOWN! Manny is just one more on the list of players belonging to the Steroid Society. You write:-”That’s the thing that makes it surprising that we are all surprised today”. Well, I am not surprised at all; think about it, Manny took a female fertility drug so, Manny Being Manny, maybe he just wanted to get pregnant.

CAllen — I did Google ripken v. ripken, and nothing came up. Are you sure you have the right HOF’er? ;o)

Thought you would want to know?

MLB bans fan protest of steroids?.

http://foamasterisk.blogspot.com/

Check out the video (8 minutes),

The Fans

Mr.John Dodge:

Check this Site:
http://WWW.Dee-Nee.com/RbI/Hallofshame

Here is the exact cut and paste from the site mentioning the very little known Ripken legal issue that I referred to. It had legs for about 24 hours during the streak and then “mysteriously” disappeared into news oblivion.

This is a pretty amusing site that lists virtually all players that have had some sort of regrettable legal incident. I am not sure if it’s current to 2009, but worth a look.

I Quote:
Cal Ripken
Involved in one of the strangest sports conspiracies of all time. The story goes that Kevin Costner and his wife were staying at Ripkens house in 1997 during a film shoot. Kevin comes home from the shoot and finds Cal in bed with his wife. A melee ensues and Ripken is hurt in the scuffle. Too hurt to play, the Orioles concoct a lighting problem at Camden Yards to postpone that night’s game, thus preserving The Streak. Probably ********, but the story itself is shameful…

In reading the post some have said that steroids does not enhance the players performance. I respect the view point, but I have to ask, if it isn’t a PED then why are these players using it?
No matter how we feel about steriods the negative connotation is there. Why risk the scrutiny, negative press, and the works? My feeling is that it does provide an edge and players risks it for the money and the fame (even if it’s only temporary).
I don’t like to point a finger specifically at Ramirez. I think he is just one example of an overall problem of MLB. Steriods may just be a symptom of an overall problem. I don’t have the insights of the business into the game and I am not sure what specifically spurned this issue, maybe Keith can shed more light on it.
All I know is that I love baseball and I don’t think it’s wrong to say that I am disappointed.

I’m going to leave the same comment I left on the ESPN boards, because I am sick of all this steroid talk, but even more than that I am sick of how everyone is acting like baseball in tarnished.

“I think I sure the sentiment that a lot of baseball fans share:

WE DON’T CARE ABOUT STERIODS.

Oh sure, there’s plenty of fans who think it’s ruining the game. That it somehow tarnishes things, but a lot people realized that there’s always going to be people looking for a competitive edge, in pretty much anything we do.

So we don’t really care, because it’s not like people weren’t looking for an edge before steroids. We know for a fact there were cheaters back then. People act like baseball was pure in the old days but they forget about things like segregation, doctoring the ball, the “red juice”, greenies, etc.

It’s just human nature to do whatever it takes to win.

But I think the most important factor of why I have absolutely no interest in steroids is the fact that there is no evidence that using steroids actually makes you a better ball player. NONE.

The only retort anyone has to this is “Well, if steroids didn’t work, why do ball players take them?” but ball players do a lot of things that don’t work in the belief that it will make them a better player.

People are just dazzled by the big names, but for every Manny and A-rod, there’s a Jeremy Giambi and Shane Monahan.

If you don’t have the technique/skill to hit a baseball, no amount of juicing is going to solve that.”

2 comments:
no matter what happens down the road with manny, the longest-lasting effect he will have had on the dodgers will be what all those great young dodger players learned from him about preparation, and about having fun playing the game. and hopefully, at some point he will make it clear to them what a huge mistake it would be to even think twice about PEDs.
and, regarding any commenters who are red sox fans( and red sox fans in general), you have the distinction of being part of a fan base that caused argueably the best left-handed hitter in baseball history(ted williams) and certainly one of the best right-handed hitters(manny) to grow to hate playing in boston. and knowing the mentality of sox fans, you’re probably proud of it.

Hey Keith! How is your personal hygiene these days? Seriously, I wish you would leave the smarmy and fetid world of cable news and stick to sports where your voice is always authentic, clear and thoughtful.

While I’m sure that attacks on Mr. Olbermann’s character are completely necessary to better understand the issues surrounding Manny Ramirez, I’d like to stick to the baseball.

Someone pointed out the use of the “if you don’t expect too much you won’t be disappointed” argument. I submit another: if you don’t demand excellence, you will never get excellence. I’m surprised at some people’s attitudes towards cheating in baseball. Just because it’s nothing new and many people do it (no pun intended) we should just kick back and enjoy the entertainment? I don’t think it’s naive to insist on a higher standard.

Also, Keith’s source: Mark Felt?

Very interesting comment 2 posts above. I think that smarmy cable news is a perfect venue for you. At the same time, I despise Manny for not just the PEDs, but the entire last few years of his career.

Having said that, why don’t your producers have a “letters” segment where letters are read and you have the opportunity to respond to them? I just might watch you more.

A couple of thoughts: – As a Yankee fan one of the reasons I was so upset about Alex Rodriguez’s name being the only one made public from the infamous list of 104 users of PEDs was how fans from other teams–especially those rooting for Boston–could point the finger at A-Rod while–hypocritically, of course–secretly dreading which one of their beloved players was on that list as well. The discovery of Manny Ramirez’s PED use is a step in making things a bit fairer in that regard.- Bob Gibson has stated on the record that if he’d had access to PEDs back in his day, he would’ve taken them, without a second thought.- The Reds are still listed as the winners of the 1919 World Series.

“Damn my eyes!” the young man pronounced. “If one’s to be a dozen times a day at the house it’s a great deal more convenient to sleep there. I’m sick of travelling up and down this beastly Avenue.”
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