I’m not sure why, exactly, the Rockies insist on following up strong all-around performances by coming out and looking like crap the game after. This isn’t the first time they’ve pulled this, and I’d bet on it not being the last. The Rox were sluggish at the plate and in the field, and Jason Marquis showed his ugly side for the first time since donning the purple and silver. The 8-3 loss only looked as respectable as it did because Ian “Master of the Meaningless Homer” Stewart hit a two-run jack with two out in the ninth.
Other than that, it was a brutal game, one I’m glad I skipped to go play golf after work (I heard the first three innings on the radio and decided that was enough). So let’s not talk about it. Anything else happen in baseball today?
My biggest problem with steroids – my only problem with them, really – is that they’re against the law and against the rules. If you violate baseball’s drug policy, you’ve broken the rules in search for an advantage. By definition, you’re a cheater. So for anyone who wants to hang that label on Manny Ramirez for the sake of demonizing the man and discrediting his career with that label… well, you aren’t wrong.
Just make sure you’re an equal opportunity labeler in this case. Because it’s when I found out that I wasn’t that I lost any real outrage I had about steroids.
I couldn’t justify feeling anger and disgust about the steroid use of Barry Bonds if I barely cared about Rafael Betancourt, Alex Sanchez, Jorge Piedra, Michael Morse, or any of the other players who were getting suspended for the same violations. And for that matter, I couldn’t muster indignation about steroid users at all if I couldn’t do it for guys like Brian Moehler, who doctored the ball, or Albert Belle, who corked his bat.
I couldn’t chant ‘STER-OIDS’ at the likes of A-Rod or Bonds if I wasn’t going to give the same treatment to Ryan Franklin. And I wasn’t, because since steroids didn’t turn Ryan Franklin into a perennial All-Star, how could they have had a dramatic effect on the true greats of the game?
Steroids aren’t some magic elixir. They didn’t make Manny Ramirez one of the most fearsome hitters of his generation.
So I’m mad at Manny for breaking the rule. I’m disappointed in his ignorance of the illegality of the substance he allegedly took at best, his naked desire to cheat at worst.
(Hypothetical here: hCG, the substance Manny is alleged to have tested positive for, can be used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. If Manny’s having a little trouble… er, ‘being Manny’ in the nighttime hours, isn’t it feasible that he might ask for something that isn’t Viagra or Cialis or Levitra in order to avoid potential embarrassment that would come with being associated with those remedies? If you don’t think anyone would possibly consider that, ask Michael “Ron Mexico” Vick about his Valtrex prescription.)
Do I think Manny’s entire career as a baseball player has been discredited? In the absence of any evidence that A) he was using steroids his entire career, and B) steroids have a pronounced affect on production… no, I don’t. I’ll still be terrified seeing him at the plate when he faces the Rockies this year after his suspension ends. There’s no pill in the world to make that swing what it was, and is.
I’m not sad to see Manny suspended. I’m happy to see that the testing program works and that it punishes stupidity/cheating. But save the moral high ground for something more worthy. That’s all I ask.
Five Rockies I Am 100% Sure Never Used Steroids
1. Brian Bohanon
2. Walt Weiss
3. Ray King
4. Juan Pierre
5. Armando Reynoso