I can barely type this story, since I am shaking with laughter., and grinning in a way that makes it difficult to see anything past my smile. The man all Arizona fans love to hate, Manny Ramirez, has been suspended by major-league baseball, for 50 games, effective immediately, having failed a drug test.
Even funnier, some sources report that the drug in question was one prescribed to Manny to treat his erectile dysfunction, though this is uncertain at the present time. Other sources say what triggered the positive test was a gonadotropin, which is most commonly used as a fertility drug, but can also be used to trigger testosterone production - such as in those whose testicles have basically given up, through steroid abuse. When Jose Canseco was recently caught smuggling HCQ, one of the gonadotropin family, across from Mexico, he claimed it was part of hormone therapy, treating low testosterone due to his steroid history.
The dreadlocked doper released the by now traditional statement, through the player's union. Let's spin the Wheel O' Excuses, and see where it stops, shall we? Contaminated supplement? Questionable family member? Ah, no: it's landed squarely between "Legitimate Medical Condition" and "Bad Advice":
Recently, I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.
No-one will remember those now. Ramirez just becomes the latest, and by far the biggest name to get caught, under the new drug-testing policies. Whether or not you believe his story [and personally, it feels a half-truth at best], it seems unlikely his reputation will ever be quite the same. As Chris said to me after I told her the news [and once she'd finished dancing round the room, making "Woooo!" sounds], "Is there anyone out there performing great naturally?" It's a good question, going beyond the undeniable sense of schadenfreude. As the dominos topple, one by one - Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Rodriguez, now Ramirez - any feeling of shock is gradually being replaced by a cynical numbness. The more remarkable the performance, the greater the sensation - justified or not - that it's been achieved by illegal methods.
Doing the math, the 50-game suspension will cost Ramirez $7,650,273, and he'll be due back on July 3rd. What exactly this will affect the Dodgers, it's hard to say. Having roared out of the gate to a 20-8 record, and now being forced to fill Mandy's spot with a replacement-level player, Los Angeles face much what we did with the loss of Brandon Webb - except they already have a nice six-game cushion over the other teams in the division. However, given it'll be almost two months until they get to see Ramirez in the line-up again, it's certainly going to make things more interesting.
For Arizona, however, as this afternoon's lackluster performance showed, it's not so much a question of Los Angeles losing - the Diamondbacks need to play a lot better themselves. While the Dodgers have owned us since the arrival of the man with the dirtiest helmet in the world [we've lost nine of the last ten meetings between the teams], our record against non-Dodger teams this year is a hardly inspiring 11-13, and that won't see us into the postseason. While the absence of our MHP for fifty games is a gift from the baseball gods, it would be very foolish to think that it alleviates, in any way, the need for the offense to start producing at a much-higher level.