We have lost another one.
With the Alex Rodriguez steroid scandal still making daily news, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games due to a positive test for a banned substance, reportedly a drug than can be used for testosterone production following a steroid cycle. Ramirez has been said to be a future Hall of Famer by everyone in the game, having hit 533 home runs with a .315 batting average. He also holds the lead for most career postseason home runs.
Ramirez explained this as an outside physician prescribing him medicine for a “personal illness,” then taking it before testing positive. He has released a concilatory statement, owning up to this mishap more so than Rodriguez likely ever will. He passed 15 drug tests in the previous five years, but we don’t know how strong that case really is now.
Whether or not he did use anything illegal prior to 2009, Ramirez’s image is likely tainted forever. Some people never forget these things, no matter how apparently minor the infraction is. This is not as egregious as Rodriguez or Jose Canseco, or even Roger Clemens, but many fans and writers will see it as substantial enough to keep him away from the Hall of Fame.
I don’t think this is the single largest performance enhancement story ever, or even this year; it’s just that a huge name was busted and suspended. I don’t know how Manny will look in the long run after his return and eventual retirement, but it certainly is not looking up right now.
This Rays team has continued winning at home and setting new records by the week. After this weekend’s series victory over the White Sox, they finished this ten game homestand at 8-2, the best three series homestand record in franchise history. Now it’s up to Boston on Tuesday night to begin a critical three game series with the Red Sox. The Rays have done a great job holding on to first place, but to cement their status, they’ll have to beat the enemy in their house. After seeing the great pitching of James Shields and Scott Kazmir, along with the walk-off home runs from Cliff Floyd and now Gabe Gross, I think it’s an attainable goal. The Red Sox have played very well too, so it’s just a matter of who runs out of energy first. Boston plays in Baltimore tomorrow, while the Rays have a travel day. Advantage: Rays.
One Boston player should be congratulated here: Manny Ramirez, on his 500th home run. He hit it in Baltimore off Chad Bradford deep into the right center field seats. He hit number 501 today, but I think he’s due for a cold streak. Through the Boston series and beyond, go first place Rays.