If the career of Manny Ramirez has taught us anything, it's that even though the ride might be bumpy, the destination will usually be worth the journey. With the Dodgers, Manny's production on the field has been nothing short of amazing:
Today, Dodger fans found out the cost of that production, as news of his 50-game suspension broke. No doubt many checked their calendars just to be sure in was in fact May 7 and not April 1.
Here's what we know so far. Per Tim Brown and Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports:
Ramirez tested positive for the substance during spring training, then was administered a second test more recently, and it also was positive. Major League Baseball notified Ramirez of the second positive test after Wednesday night’s Dodgers victory over the Washington Nationals. Ramirez admitted to having taken the substance and declined to appeal. His 50-game suspension begins today.
From Manny's own press release:
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. I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I’m sorry about this whole situation.
However, ESPN said this substance was consistent with those used by steroid users coming off a cycle:
However, two sources told ESPN's T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada that the drug used by Ramirez is hCG -- human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is a women's fertility drug typically used by steroid users to restart their body's natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle. It is similar to Clomid, the drug Bonds, Giambi and others used as clients of BALCO.
As a fan, for lack of a better word, this simply sucks. The issues of steroids and performance enhancing drugs have never really bothered me for some reason, but it still stings when it affects one of your own. I've always liked Manny Ramirez, even before his Dodger days, because of his quirkiness and bizarre behavior. He always seems to have fun on the baseball field, and that's hard not to like. Will today's news change how I feel about Manny Ramirez? I don't know, but I have about eight weeks to figure that out.
If anything, this is probably the best possible time for this news to happen. The Dodgers currently have the best record in baseball, and have a 6 game lead in a weak division. The next 50 games will surely be a tough test, but the club has built itself a nice cushion.
Sure, the Dodgers will have Juan Pierre playing just about every day, but the lineup is still very good. It's just not great now.
Here's a breakdown of the club's schedule during Manny's suspension (28 home games, 22 road games):
|Today||1 vs. Washington|
|Fri-Sun||3 vs. San Francisco|
|May 12-14||3 @ Philadelphia|
|May 15-17||3 @ Florida|
|May 18-20||3 vs. NY Mets|
|May 22-24||3 vs. Angels|
|May 25-27||3 @ Colorado|
|May 28-31||4 @ Chicago Cubs|
|June 1-3||3 vs. Arizona|
|June 4-7||4 vs. Philadelphia|
|June 9-10||2 vs. San Diego|
|June 12-14||3 @ Texas|
|June 16-18||3 vs. Oakland|
|June 19-21||3 @ Angels|
|June 23-25||3 @ Chicago WS|
|Jne 26-28||3 vs. Seattle|
|Jun 29 - Jul 1||3 vs. Colorado|
Manny's first game back will be Friday, July 3 at Petco Park in San Diego. If you are interested in attending an informal True Blue LA event at this game, please indicate so in the comments.
Bring on the Xavier Paul Era in Los Angeles!