“Whatever you do, don’t watch Sports Center”
That was the text that rose me from my slumber at 9:30 this rainy Thursday morning from a friend who knows my daily ritual concerning the ESPN program.
Every morning, even before I manage to open my eyes, I lazily search for my remote and once it’s location is discovered I aim it over my shoulder and hit power.
As the ancient screen warms up I roll myself over to direct my body towards the television. Sports Center is queued up so as to insure that I do not have to punch the digits into the number pad.
I'm not a morning person, and it is necessary to decrease the amount of activity required for me in the morning.
I check the stories in line to decide if I have time to brush my teeth before anything I am intently interested in is discussed.
Receiving a text of this manner means that something has happened that is important enough to disrupt this morning procedure.
One thought, one name rather, echoed in my mind: Manny Ramirez.
Ignoring the warnings of my friend, I went warp-speed through my morning motions.
Being right is one of my hobbies, some might even call it a passion of mine. This was the one occasion in my life when I deeply desired to be wrong.
My first visual was a scrolling ticker containing the words that will continue to burn in my mind.
Well, there you have it. Manny Ramirez, the golden boy of the Los Angeles Dodgers, suspended 50 games for using a banned substance.
A good writer would want to wait to report until more information is released.
A good writer would refrain from inserting bias into their piece.
A good writer would keep their personal opinion out.
But alas, I am not a good writer, I am a sports fan, and right now I am a sports fan in disbelief.
What does this mean for the clubhouse?
The mere presence of Manny has a positive effect on the players around him. True, his ability to get on base benefits those batting before and after him, but this is not the extent of his power.
Everyone listens to the Dominican Republic native. They trust his judgement about pitchers. He is a source of wisdom that improved the entire team.
His energy and smile were contagious. When Manny laughed, L.A. laughed with him. No one is laughing now, save for the Boston Red Sox who must be thrilled he is no longer on their paycheck.
Manny's spirit, as well as his batting average and home run stats, will be sorely missed over the next 50 games.
So what will come of the Dodgers with Manny out until early July? I can say with confidence the team will struggle but survive.
The young talent will get their chance to step up and show that the Dodgers are not a one-man team. This news has put even more pressure on the entire organization than the battle to get Manny back on their roster earlier this year.
It is unlikely that the Dodgers will try to replace his bat, which is wise considering the time and effort that would be needed. For now they will focus on moving forward with the 21-8 team.
It is a little frightening to think about where this could lead when you consider those who have recently dealt with steroid rumors. It seems the MLB is trapped in an era of steroids. Once one name starts to fade from the headlines, there is another star player under fire.
Let’s hope Manny sees a better outcome.
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