Thursday, May 07, 2009

Another Major League headache - Manny, PEDs and the legacy of the game

Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games for using a fertility drug - supposedly used to stimulate testosterone production.

I think if you are considered a superstar through your mid to late 30s - you should get the jock deity treatment and take all the stuff you need to perform one, two or three more years.

It maybe a radical opinion - but I don't care about the performance enhancing drug use of guys like A-Fraud, Manny, Roger, Barry, Mark or any of the main 'other' guys implicated through this decade.

I know the established superstars are good for it and they are who I pay to watch the game - if I'm seemingly ambivalent over PED use or oversimplifying, then so be it.

It becomes a witch hunt anyway and I wonder if we'll ever get to some understanding it was an implicit part of the game - the terrain is murky however and the moral dilemmas shift from one way to the other.

Baseball fans wanted to crucify Barry Bonds at one point, but now we want the problem to just go away when other names came out through the Mitchell Report - we are so eager to forgive and forget but as long as it was 'our guy.'

I believe some guys dabbled here, dabbled there and maybe some guys have used them for a prolonged period of time - during the last 25 years PED use has exploded to fuel bigger, faster and better players.

It doesn't make it OK, but how can we get angry and pass judgment when PED use was so prevalent - admittedly however, it is harder to watch the game as a spectator and judge numbers from the Steroid Era.

I can choose to enjoy the Major League game and be a staunch defender - as someone who is a little ignorant, naive or blind.

You watch one guy, nicknamed 'The Machine' in St. Louis and he's the next guy at the top of the hill, the shining beacon of hope in our downtrodden times - Albert Pujols is truly the best player in the game today, but is he clean? Has he always been clean? How did he get to where he is? Playing in the Steroid Era, will he be the next one exposed?

I can be totally disgusted, knowing the players you may love to watch are damaged goods and no one is above suspicion - from the slap hitting dynamo to the bruising slugger who either hits a home run, walks or strikes out.

Part of me says 'get a grip' because this is the real deal in professional sports and whether I like it or not - players are looking for an edge, even to cheat to justify their livelihoods. You either pay to watch them play, tune in somewhere to watch them, chase them for autographs or you do something else entirely.

Part of me says, what about the legacy, what about the history of the game that presents itself as a noble game, with noble heroes - while the history of Major League Baseball is flawed, there is a fine line painted between what certain players in bygone eras represented and what players of today do.

By using PEDs, it seems like the players are content to give the finger to the past. Where is the professionalism - don't cheat your way to the top, don't try and get an edge by using PEDs. Let your talent take you as far as you can go and if you aren't good enough or can't play long enough, go somewhere and play golf.

Maybe I've been influenced by a Goose Gossage interview during a 6-1 Angels win on Thursday night - the Goose said if a player is caught using PEDs, the teams should void their contracts. Gossage doesn't like Manny, doesn't like 'my man' Francisco K-Rod Rodriguez showboating [after his saves], doesn't like Joba Chamberlain's fist pumps [Gossage said he was contacted by the general manager of the Yankees after Gossage was interviewed about Chamberlain].

Gossage thinks the 'me first' baseball players have ruined the game because they don't carry themselves with the same respect some of the past greats had when they were playing - as sort of a link between the past, present and the future. Gossage firmly states that no one player is bigger than the game.

It is kind of sad, Jose Canseco was right again - not that I have anything against Canseco, just that what he has said has been the truth. Once he said Manny might be using, you couldn't just brush it off and was waiting for 'El Maniaco' to be exposed one way or the other.

If he throws the name out of your favorite player as a potential PED user/abuser - you'd better be listening.

The games go on, but I don't know how to feel about guys who maybe real good at playing this game and their lasting legacy - because they might have artificially inflated their numbers.

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