When Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez tested positive for steroids last week, the only real surprise was that the news seemed to shock a good number of people in the baseball world.
Despite the hideous scar that the drug use of baseball stars, such as Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds, has inflicted on the face of baseball, the general public still tends to assume their innocence.
While the trust that baseball fans exhibit is admirable, it is also tragic in that no matter how many doctors "mistakenly" write steroid prescriptions, it often provides cheaters with an undeserving benefit of the doubt.
However, whether this trust is the result of the idealistic presumption of each man's integrity or whether it is a pained cry of ignorance of the current situation cannot be determined.
The only conclusion that can be made is that this trust is not well deserved.
Granted, not every member of baseball's large fan base is so trusting.
In fact, it's probably safe to say more people (myself included) do not even acknowledge the excuses made by baseball's spineless cheaters.
Without a doubt, there are plenty of individuals who ridicule the likes of A-Rod, Bonds, and Clemens from ESPN to the local sports bar and deservedly so.
Not only have these men cheated America's national pastime, but they repeatedly insult the intelligence of baseball fans with ridiculous claims to prove their innocence or make excuses for their actions.
With words such as "unknowingly" and "loosey-goosey" thrown around ad nauseam, the ballplayers who are caught become increasingly difficult to believe.
In addition, some even deny using steroids, despite the presence of concrete evidence which ranges from abnormal (steadily-increasing hat sizes) to just plain creepy (bloody gauze and syringes).
The fact that fans can continue to presume the innocence of some players, in spite of the disrespect said players show them, is unfathomable.
Logically, it would be embarrassing and rather foolish to give any credibility to Ramirez's claim of an accidental drug prescription.
But since when has baseball been considered a logical game?
Is it logical to continue wearing a rally cap with an eight-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth with two outs?
Wouldn't relying on a journeyman relief pitcher to mow down the heart of the opposition's batting order be considered illogical?
Heck, even Chicago Cubs fans have been saying, "Wait 'til next year," for over a century now.
Baseball is and will always be an illogical sport, and it's only fitting that its fans are illogical as well.
Acting illogically is not necessarily a sign of baseball fans' stupidity.
Rather, it comes off as a sort of idealistic optimism or a "vote of confidence" in the integrity of the game.
It breeds hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.
So, the next time that a player tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs, many baseball fans will probably accept his explanation and apology.
The trust they will give him will likely have nothing to do with his faked sincerity, but instead, it will stem from their desire to save the face of the game they love.
As for the rest of us, all we can do is hope that this illogical behavior is the only logical solution to saving baseball's integrity.
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