Manny, Manny, Manny. We always knew you were an idiot, but this?
By now, everyone in the Baseball, heck the whole sports world, knows that Manny Ramirez, the highly paid outfielder for the LA Dodgers, has been suspended, without pay, for 50 games for failing a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) test. He becomes the biggest name to have been suspended since active testing began. It’s a first time failure, hence the “mere” 50 game ban. Bet the McCourt’s and Dodger’s brain trust are loving this. Especially after all the hoopla in the offseason before he resigned with Los Angeles.
Now, for those of us who have watched Manny since he came up with the Indians way back when, we knew he was mercurial at best, and down right looney at worst. While he never went to such strangeness in Cleveland as he did in Boston, he still had those “Manny being Manny” moments. He’s always been one to just be in his own world, be it on or off the field. He just did his own thing, and never a care for who thought what of him.
Even so, this PED test failure comes as a bit of a shock. Unlike many others who have been linked to various PEDs, Manny was not one of them. Even with his strange behaviors, no one ever made any sort of even vaguely sustainable links between Ramirez and PEDs. Now, one could argue now that PED’s are the cause of much of Manny’s behavior quirks. But IMO that’s just hind sight. No, I think this is just as Manny said in his statement, he was an idiot. He should have done more checking on what he was being given, and if it would fall under the banned substance rules of MLB. He admits to this in his statement, and accepts “responsibility” for his actions, and will not challenge the suspension. Oh, and he does have a point, in that he has passed some 15 previous PED tests administered by MLB. So, in the absence of any further information, I will take Manny at his word (such that it is). He’s taking his lumps, and that should be that.
I found it unsurprising that the media rather than talking primarily to the Dodgers, instead went to Boston. After all the drama that surrounded Manny and his exit from the Red Sox, it was obviously where reporters thought they’d get some sort of sallacious details. Unfortunately for them, the Sox weren’t so obliging. Yes, Dustin Pedroia talked a bit, as did David Ortiz, and Terry Francona. Yet in each case, they weren’t all that interested in giving scandalous details to reporters, even if they had any. The general gist of the comments can be summed up as: “Manny’s in LA, not in Boston. He’s not here, so why should we talk about him?”
This leads me to the man who “replaced” Manny Ramirez in Left Field for the Sox, one Jason Bay. While Bay did not put up those lights out kind of numbers Manny could after he came over from Pittsburgh, he did more than enough to cement himself as an important part of the Red Sox team. But his start this year has been outstanding. He’s produced in the clutch (take that Mariano Rivera!), has been getting on base consistently (tied for the MLB lead in walks), driving in runs, and swiping the occasional bag with ease. Further more, he’s as far removed from Manny personality wise as one could possibly get. Not to mention a better defensive Left Fielder. Bay is a fairly quiet (but not reclusive) player, who prefers to let his efforts on the field speak for themselves. He’s much more a team player than Manny, and not one to seek, or even be found on the tabloid pages. Basically, he’s the ideal Red Sox player.
So, like many in Red Sox nation, I’ll keep saying “Manny who” anytime he gets mentioned.