Manny Being Manny (on PEDs)

michael eisnerCorrespondent IMay 7, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 30:  Manny Ramirez #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up before the game between the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on April 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

According to several Web sites, Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Manny Ramirez has tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) and will be suspended for 50 games today.

What a sad day for baseball.

It was one thing that Alex Rodriguez was exposed for having failed a drug test in 2003, but it's another thing that arguably the third-best player in baseball got caught with his pants down.

But, that's just Manny being Manny, right.

Ramirez, the newest member of baseball's "elite" 500-HR Club will now share a seat at the PED dais with Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro as 500-HR Club members who have failed drug tests.

And, to add insult to injury, Ramirez was widely viewed as the best right-handed hitter of his generation, which just happens to be forever tainted.

I wonder how many other players knew about Ramirez. Did Bud Selig know? How about Joe Torre?

Was he on that the same list as Rodriguez was in 2003?

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Ramirez has already released a statement in which he admitted to taking a banned substance, through a doctor's prescription. He claims to not have known the doctor's orders contained a substance that was forbidden by MLB's drug policy.

He also stated that he has taken 15 drug tests over the past five years and has passed them all.

You do the math - five years ago was 2004, exactly one year after Rodriguez failed his fateful test.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. He will always be known as a cheater. A 50-game suspension is a lot to swallow.

We've celebrated a new member of the "500 Club" seemingly every year for the last five or six years, finally culminating with Ramirez, Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Ken Griffey Jr., and Gary Sheffield this season.

Everyone has a story. Palmeiro blamed it on Miguel Tejada. Rodriguez said his cousin did it. Sheffield claimed he didn't know the stuff he took was steroids. Barry Bonds allegedly lied under oath.

Roger Clemens, though not a member of the 500 Club, flat out denied ever taking anything despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

And now, sadly, Ramirez will just chalk his ignorance up to "Manny being Manny."

And yet, in the end, I believe in the integrity of just two of these men: Griffey and Thomas.

Let's just hope the unpublished list of 103 failed drug-tests from 2003 doesn't contain the names Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas, because if they do the last 20 years of baseball records should be trashed.


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