Manny Just Being Manny…

Greg RiotAnalyst IMay 8, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19:  Manny Ramirez #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at bat against the Colorado Rockies during the game at Dodger Stadium on April 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

When I was in Los Angeles a few weeks back for a Lakers game, I had the chance to visit Dodgers Stadium. I was on a crazy NBA road trip, so I had to visit one of the meccas of the sports world. My manhood depended on it! Truth be told, Dodgers Stadium is a sight to behold. You can just feel the history of that stadium.

I sat in the empty stadium with three friends as the groundskeepers did their work, and had a field of dreams moment. You can just survey the stadium from the nosebleeds and hear the roar of the crowd and the crack of the bet. It was surreal.

So when I went to the gift shop to buy something to remind me of the visit, I had the pick of the litter. I’m a jersey freak. I get jerseys whenever I go to a stadium. So when my pick came down to Manny Ramirez or Jackie Robinson, I had some mulling to do.

I’ve always been a big fan of Manny. He’s one of the best hitters the game has every known. His personality is magnetic. He’s accessible to a point, but he doesn’t really have anything to hide. I actually like that his personality polarizes baseball fans.

The day I was visiting Dodgers stadium was the same day I received a text saying, “Manny. Dodgers. $50 million” from Damon D, our BetUS Radio host. It seemed like everything was in line for me to snag a Manny jersey from Dodgers stadium with the glossy “99” on the back.

For some strange reason that I really can’t recall, I went for the Jackie Robinson jersey. I think in my mind it was way cooler or something stupid like that. At the end, I usually go for a jersey with historical significance, so the Robinson jersey made sense for me.

Now more than ever, I’m so glad I didn’t get the Manny jersey. And I’m not even a Red Sox or Dodgers fans. They’re understandably upset. The Dodgers are 21-9 SU right now, they’ve lost just one game at home and are storming away from the pack in the NL West.

Now they’ve lost their $50 million man for a third of the season. The Red Sox, meanwhile, are sweating out the possibility that Manny was abusing the needles when the Sox made their Championship in 2003.

So why am I glad that I didn’t get the Manny jersey? If he was a needle pumping steroid junkie, which I don’t think he is (I mean…look at him), then that’s one thing. But to get caught for using a female fertility drug is just awkward. Is he trying to get pregnant or something? What the hell! I want my baseball players pumping steroids like real men!

How sick are we of the line, “my doctor said this was ok"? When you’re a professional athlete, shouldn’t your team doctors be involved in prescribing you medications? Shouldn’t each team have sort of basement laboratory where they run tests on sports supplements, prescriptions and milkshakes just to make sure none of their players get railroaded for banned substances? If you’re going to spend $50 million on one guy over two years, why can’t you spend $60,000 on a guy running tests on anything that goes in to your players’ bodies? Can I ask anymore rhetorical questions?

Now the Dodgers, who had been undefeated at home and clicking in every possible way, just lost their best player. A city is deflated. A team has lost it’s mojo. It’s just strange for Manny to get busted for something this stupid, not that I’m surprised or anything. Manny is just being Manny after all. He gets a $7.75 million paycut, a 50 game vacation and he still gets about $16 million this year. Not such a bad gig.

Am I all that angry about this? Are you? I’m angry that Manny Haters have some more fuel for their fire. I’m angry that Dodgers fans have to continue to suffer like this. I’m mad that a storybook championship like the Red Sox had is in jeopardy of being scrutinized. Most of all, I’m mad that all this will be forgotten if Manny comes back better than ever and pushes the Dodgers in to the World Series. That is, of course, unless Manny gets pregnant in the next couple weeks. Then I’ll be angry.