For the last couple of years, I have had these two photos saved on my computer for future use. Well, I never really thought I’d use them actually, but Manny Ramirez has presented me with the perfect opportunity to do so with his latest episode of “Manny being Manny.”
Being a Giants fan as long as I have been, it’s always easy to hate on the Dodgers. So much so that I have a deep respect for their organization and players, with a few exceptions of course. Even though most people read that last sentence and think that I can’t be impartial when talking about steroid use, I still can’t avoid speaking about the recent news of Ramirez retiring from the game of baseball. Of course, the fact that Barry Bonds’ trial is still being tossed around behind closed doors by the jury, and knowing that I have these wonderful photos of Giants fans giving Manny hell in my home away from home in the bleachers of AT&T Park, motivated me to ramble a bit.
The thing that I hate the most about Manny Ramirez is how great of a baseball player he was. Thinking of his days in Cleveland, and early years with the Red Sox, he was one of the best players in the game and one of my favorite players to watch. It wasn’t until the first time he was spotted in a bar “too sick” to play against the Yankees that I realized how much that monstrous $200 million dollar contract in Boston had just obliterated Manny’s hopes of making it to Cooperstown, and simultaneously inflated his head full of nonsense.
The recent news that Manny would rather retire than face the 100 game suspension just further proves how much the money turned him into the bum that Giants fans relentlessly haggled him about being during his time as a Dodger.
“Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rather than continue with the process under the Program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.” (via MSNBC)
Of course, as a Giants fan, the thought of Manny still doing steroids to this day, even after having been caught and served a suspension, makes me wonder why Barry Bonds is in court. McGwire refused to speak until he returned to baseball as a coach. Ramirez admitted it, then went right back to it to get this latest contract with Tampa Bay. The list of players from that era is probably equally guilty and innocent. Yet Bonds is still being chased. Just like everyone else, I don’t know the truth, I only have my own beliefs.
I don’t think there were clear enough guidelines (and still believe this to be the case), and those that were in place were not enforced. Major League Baseball leaving this area so vague and without circumstance is still at fault for the asterisks that many people want to add to the record book. MLB needs to pick a point to start over. Create a strict policy and enforce it. It doesn’t matter what point they restart from, just be firm with the choice and clear with the reasoning.
Most baseball fans don’t care at this point, they just want to love the game the way it was meant to be loved. Most parents, don’t want to have their kids looking up to guys doing steroids, and although being able to get HGH at your local Walgreen’s might make for a tough explanation to youngsters, everyone has their own idea of what right and wrong is.
The only way I will be able to explain all this to my future kids is with this analogy:
“For quite some time it was like baseball was a street that had no speed limit signs. They offered a suggested speed of 30-50 mph but never told anyone they were going too fast or too slow. Then years later, they decided to tell the players that went too fast, they were in trouble now.”
“So when you make it to the Major Leagues, be sure to make sure you know the specific rules. If you don’t and make a mistake just admit it. If you get a second chance after you make a mistake, don’t make it again”
“When it’s all said and done, the players that make the same mistake twice, turn out to be a bum, just ask Manny Ramirez.”
If you’re the photographer that took these pictures, feel free to contact me for credit or removal.