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Not THAT kind of enhancement
May 7, 2009 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Manny Ramirez, arguably one of baseball's most talented and fascinating figures was suspended 50 games earlier this morning for violating MLB's drug policy. In an intriguing, late-breaking twist (and one completely indicative of Manny's bizarre career thus far) the banned substance in question seems to be a sexual enhancer.

Possible further intrigue in a note within the article: Noises are being made on ESPN that in addition to wiener pills that chemical may be useful in restarting your body's testosterone production after coming off steroids.
posted by Lacking Subtlety (126 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Did he use it when he made out with himself in the mirror?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:59 PM on May 7, 2009


Did he use it when he made out with himself in the mirror?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:59 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Wrong intriguing slugger... unless that was your intention... in which case I don't get it.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:01 PM on May 7, 2009


Maybe he really wanted a baby.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:02 PM on May 7, 2009


Did you mean to link to the same story twice? The same story that says nothing about it being a "weiner pill", but is instead typically used as a fertility treatment for women?
posted by muddgirl at 1:04 PM on May 7, 2009


Wiener pills? I heard it was a female fertility pill.

Clearly, the press should not rest until Americans of all stripes know when, where, and how ManRam used either peter pills or lady enhancers. I demand a tribunal.
posted by billysumday at 1:05 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


*Baseball Joke*

Joe Torre's IQ just dropped 20 points.

*End Baseball Joke*
posted by Mister_A at 1:08 PM on May 7, 2009


Wrong intriguing slugger...

Exactly.
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on May 7, 2009


Manny being...womanny?
posted by total warfare frown at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2009 [14 favorites]


Low-dose Clomid and HCG are used as male infertility treatments, FYI.
posted by Mister_A at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2009


YIKES. this may be problematic. The story is changing and ESPN has updated both links to reflect the new details. It was originally reported as a "sexual enhancer", but now the new more accurate details are up...
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:11 PM on May 7, 2009


As has been said above, it's not a "weiner pil"l ... it's Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
posted by ericb at 1:12 PM on May 7, 2009


Low-dose Clomid and HCG are used as male infertility treatments, FYI.

Also "used by steroid users to restart their body's natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle" according to the article
posted by poppo at 1:13 PM on May 7, 2009


More details on HCG
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:14 PM on May 7, 2009


Right poppo. I just wanted to point out that there are legit uses in male patients as well.
posted by Mister_A at 1:14 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guys, guys, he thought the Extense was supposed to work on his bat.

Okay, now jokes about his "bat" go right down there ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓
posted by mudpuppie at 1:14 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


wiener pills

Testicle injections, actually.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:15 PM on May 7, 2009


Wrong intriguing slugger

Thanks, yes. I knew that. Perhaps I should have used the word "whenever" instead of "when" indicating that making out with yourself in the mirror like a pre-pubescent girl is a regular occurrence for steroid-pumped self-obsessed athletes.

posted by Pollomacho at 1:16 PM on May 7, 2009


Do you think A-Rod was saying "¡Yo me cogida!" while making out with himself in the mirror?
posted by Mister_A at 1:19 PM on May 7, 2009


My search for snarky Extenze related line failed.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2009


Takes the onus off baseball's number one scapegoat for all of sports evils- Alex Rodriguez, who starts his season tomorrow. So this is good news.
posted by Zambrano at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2009


Frankly, and I'm saying this as a Sox fan who was glad to see Manny Ramirez leave and Jason Bay replace him, this is a pretty poor post. You missed a golden opportunity to highlight some of the weird and obnoxious stuff Manny's done over his career, such as assaulting Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick, dodged important games by allegedly feigning injury, or getting into fights with his own teammates.

The Globe put together a substantial slideshow of these kinds of moments of Just Manny being Manny.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:21 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


You need to look long and hard for a funny Extenze line, Ironmouth.
posted by Mister_A at 1:23 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


This so made my day. I've hated Manny Ramirez for as long as I've known about him - he was a glaring meathead on a Red Sox team last year that was filled with classy people doing baseball the right way - guys like Pedroia and Youk and the lot.

Manny Ramirez has been an embarrassment in every other level of his play, why not just complete the cycle (pun intended) and get in the press like this?

Good effing riddance and GO JASON BAY!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:29 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The drug Manny got caught with, hCG, is (allegedly) the same drug Kate used on Jon And Kate Plus 8. HA!
posted by inigo2 at 1:31 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, did Manny just start using (hard to believe), or did George Mitchell really just manage not to catch any of his Red Sox players (including one of their highest profile ones)?

/conspiracy theory
posted by inigo2 at 1:33 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The MLBPA would never go for it, but I would love to see an immediate, mandatory drug test for every active player. Suspend them all and continue the season with the dozen guys you have left. They can play wiffleball in the parking lot.

Honestly, though, if Manny was using this to recover from a cycle, I'm disappointed. He's a natural hitter; he makes it look easy. Steroids don't give you a better eye or a truer swing. As with a lot of suspected and confirmed users, you've got to wonder how they would have performed without the drugs.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:35 PM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Manny LaDouche.
posted by grubi at 1:36 PM on May 7, 2009


Frankly, and I'm saying this as a Sox fan who was glad to see Manny Ramirez leave and Jason Bay replace him, this is a pretty poor post. You missed a golden opportunity to highlight some of the weird and obnoxious stuff Manny's done over his career, such as assaulting Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick, allegedly dodging pitchers he didn't like by feigning hamstring flare-ups, or getting into fights with his own teammates.

The Globe put together a substantial slideshow of these kinds of moments of Just Manny being Manny.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:21 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


1) My feeling was that there was just WAY too much crazy Manny information and rather than highlight a few I just decided to stick with the interesting details of the story.

2) If i was picking favorite manny moments it would probably be that he was breast fed up to and including the age of 4.

3) As a red sox fan, really, you wanted to see him go? He's one of the greatest hitters ever. Yeah he was a problem child, but he definitely would have had a huge impact in the playoffs last year. Rather than trade him for admittedly a very good player I wish they suspended him, then kept him and picked up his option. I just don't get how you'd ever give up a player like Ramirez. I mean I understand that there were a myriad of factors involved, and their hand was truly forced, but to be glad I gave up a player like that??? It just doesn't make sense.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:39 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder how steroids impact your batting average. I mean, you figure a non-negligible number of deep fly balls turn into home runs, if you're a 50-homer steroid guy. Does that offset the fact that you're perhaps striking out more often because you're a steroid longball guy? Who knows.
posted by Mister_A at 1:39 PM on May 7, 2009


Jeter is the last bastion of any kind of claim the MLB could make for integrity at this point. If he falls, and I have no doubt he could (not saying he will, only that I don't think he's invincible) then the whole jig is up. If Jeter falls, then there is zero model to lean on and look to for how to clean things up.
posted by spicynuts at 1:42 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I (a Yankees fan) remember fondly a conversation I had with a hardcore Red Sox fan while Manny was with Boston. I complained about Manny's asshole antics, and the fan replied with the standard line about Manny Being Manny. I countered with "That's bullshit. If he did the exact same thing and played for the Yankees, you'd hate him with a passion hotter than the sun." And the fan admitted, "Yeah, that's likely true."

Y'see, he acknowledged Manny is an asshole, but at the time, he was their asshole.
posted by grubi at 1:45 PM on May 7, 2009


Baseball players on drugs?? I would never have suspected! Methinks this story could have legs!

Meaty, angry legs at that.
posted by not_on_display at 1:45 PM on May 7, 2009


he definitely would have had a huge impact in the playoffs last year.

Ramirez made it abundantly clear to his teammates, his manager, and to his few remaining fans in Red Sox nation that he would not be participating at all in the last two months of the season, let alone the playoffs, if he weren't traded away. The fact the Sox got ANYBODY for him, never mind a decent player who started contributing immediately, has to be considered a successful solution to the 2008 Manny problem.
posted by yhbc at 1:46 PM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


As a red sox fan, really, you wanted to see him go? He's one of the greatest hitters ever. Yeah he was a problem child, but he definitely would have had a huge impact in the playoffs last year. Rather than trade him for admittedly a very good player I wish they suspended him, then kept him and picked up his option. I mean I understand that there were a myriad of factors involved, and their hand was truly forced, but to be glad I gave up a player like that??? It just doesn't make sense.

To paraphrase the old joke about divorce: you know why the Red Sox paid off his contract last year while he played for the Dodgers? Because it was worth every penny. I don't care that he may well be one of the greatest hitters in baseball; what good is that if he doesn't want to play? The guy was a cancer in the locker room, bad for the team, and now it's likely he's just bad for the game.

Roger Clemens was one of the greatest pitchers of the game, and look where he is now.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:51 PM on May 7, 2009


So, did Manny just start using (hard to believe), or did George Mitchell really just manage not to catch any of his Red Sox players (including one of their highest profile ones)?

I know you're probably not serious, but the Report did hit a couple players who made their way through the Boston clubhouse (the only high-profile one mentioned who played there recently was Gagne, though). The Report was never expected to be all-encompassing, either. It grew out of a couple ongoing investigations (like BALCO), and to the extent it centered on a few particular teams it was because those players/trainers ratted on each other.
posted by aswego at 1:51 PM on May 7, 2009


Is this the thread where I can propose my idea to abolish all professional sports leagues and replace them a series of independently organized tournaments? Here's how it would work...

Tournament organizers would put out a call for a certain number of teams and then pick and choose among the teams that apply to participate. Teams could be one-off mercenary squads of high paid free agents, or long-standing barnstormers that stay together from tournament to tournament. Compensation is like pro golf--each tournament has a purse for the winners / runners-up and individuals are free to pursue their own endorsement deals.

Instead of league-specific players union, there will be an Athletes Guild that represents athletes across sports. I'm thinking it could act somewhat like SAG does in the movie industry. Not sure about the details yet. I'm thinking it would require tournament organizers to agree to accept teams with only Guild athletes. And the Guild would limit tournament length/size (no 80-game season disguised as tournaments) and prohibit teams from signing players to exclusive or multi-year contracts.

But the Athletes Guild would have strict drug-testing requirements, with the results publicly disclosed. However, the Guild wouldn't prohibit a drug-using athlete from competing. It would be up to tournament organizers and team owners to determine whether or not they want a drug-using athlete to participate.
posted by mullacc at 1:57 PM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wonder how steroids impact your batting average. I mean, you figure a non-negligible number of deep fly balls turn into home runs, if you're a 50-homer steroid guy. Does that offset the fact that you're perhaps striking out more often because you're a steroid longball guy? Who knows.
posted by Mister_A at 1:39 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


What steroids effect are your size (which effects first impact resistence, generally why big guys can check swing and at least hit the outfield) and more imortantly it gives you stregnth for a quicker bat speed. And that effects everything, included your average. Specifically your hands can catch up to a ball faster and you hit far more pitches, even though steroids technically don't effect your ability to "see" the ball.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:58 PM on May 7, 2009


So... being a very casual sports follower I may be completely off-base (ha) with this, but seems to me they should just close the entire league for a year, then start back up under rules that anyone caught juicing themselves (ewww) just gets kicked out. no more MLB for them period. It seems the current fines are not doing much for deterrence.
posted by edgeways at 2:03 PM on May 7, 2009


Ramirez made it abundantly clear to his teammates, his manager, and to his few remaining fans in Red Sox nation that he would not be participating at all in the last two months of the season, let alone the playoffs, if he weren't traded away. The fact the Sox got ANYBODY for him, never mind a decent player who started contributing immediately, has to be considered a successful solution to the 2008 Manny problem.
posted by yhbc at 1:46 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


The first part of your statement is completely, irrevocably false. The fact that you could believe implies that you understood nothing of the actual situation. He was making a play at a trade. So he did the usual nonsense and made it clear that's what he wanted. Why? He wanted a new contract. More importantly his agent Scott Boras wanted a new contract so he could get paid (he makes no money if the red sox pick up the option!!!) So say the sox sit him for his shenanigans and keep him through the trade deadline. Manny's not going anywhere and he wants to make a play for more $$$, either when his option gets picked up OR the sox release him at the end of the year. If the deadline pases and he does what you say? He gets NO good offers at the end of the season. He cheats himself out of money. It makes no sense whatsoever. What's more is that aside from his moments of acting out and faking injuries, manny played INCREDIBLE on the field just before he was traded. It was just offset by the fact that when he went to the dodgers he played out of the stratosphere.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:05 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


So... being a very casual sports follower I may be completely off-base (ha) with this, but seems to me they should just close the entire league for a year, then start back up under rules that anyone caught juicing themselves (ewww) just gets kicked out. no more MLB for them period. It seems the current fines are not doing much for deterrence.
posted by edgeways at 2:03 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


The MLB is a business. Which means they will only do what effects them financially. They are not "losing" fans to steroids, therefore, they will mostly just try to sweep this under the rug and make it seem like they're doing actual deterrence.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:07 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


mullacc: Professional sports leagues would actually be illegal under anti-trust laws but for some reason they have an exemption. I think we should get rid of the exemption, and organize teams like they are done in Europe for soccer, where teams are basically independent (I don't know all the details). The whole 'major league' system is ridiculous.

Then again I'm not even a sports fan, so I'm not sure why I should even have an opinion here.
posted by delmoi at 2:08 PM on May 7, 2009



So, did Manny just start using (hard to believe), or did George Mitchell really just manage not to catch any of his Red Sox players (including one of their highest profile ones)?

I know you're probably not serious, but the Report did hit a couple players who made their way through the Boston clubhouse (the only high-profile one mentioned who played there recently was Gagne, though). The Report was never expected to be all-encompassing, either. It grew out of a couple ongoing investigations (like BALCO), and to the extent it centered on a few particular teams it was because those players/trainers ratted on each other.
posted by aswego at 1:51 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Agreed. The Mitchell report only had two significant sources and one of them happened to be in the yankees clubhouse (mcnamy). So the Sox presumably went unscathed mostly because they didn't have a source reporting on any of their activities.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:09 PM on May 7, 2009


Another victory for Jose Canseco.
posted by grounded at 2:14 PM on May 7, 2009


How about mandatory steroid usage for all baseball players, umpires, organist, hot dog vendors, ticket rippers and fans? Juicing everyone involved would address several medical conditions afflicting the business of baseball, including curing the terminal boredom that it causes in anyone watching a game for more than three innings.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:18 PM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


So in essence Manny failed a pregnancy test.
posted by caddis at 2:23 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


How about mandatory steroid usage for all baseball players, umpires, organist, hot dog vendors, ticket rippers and fans? Juicing everyone involved would address several medical conditions afflicting the business of baseball, including curing the terminal boredom that it causes in anyone watching a game for more than three innings.

I know I've heard this idea before with regards to mandatory steroids for all athletes, and I still love it.

I can't say I share your boredom for baseball, though. For as non-jock as I am, I do love going to the park. Or listening to a game on a tinny little radio.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:24 PM on May 7, 2009


To paraphrase the old joke about divorce: you know why the Red Sox paid off his contract last year while he played for the Dodgers? Because it was worth every penny. I don't care that he may well be one of the greatest hitters in baseball; what good is that if he doesn't want to play? The guy was a cancer in the locker room, bad for the team, and now it's likely he's just bad for the game.

Roger Clemens was one of the greatest pitchers of the game, and look where he is now.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:51 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Once again, I just think you're tripping over your words with this one. My point is that it was NOT WORTH EVERY PENNY. Was it something that had to happen? Probably. The red sox hedged their bets and wanted to get something out of the mess. But the belief he was a cancer is just plain ridiculous. Have you actually read anything by Manny's teammates? He was a fine clubhouse guy. Funny, rambunctious, enjoyably asinine, etc. It's just he had to be happy. If you read (and Sean Casey told espn yesterday) the only moment when the teammates really weren't happy was when he faked the injury. They talked to him about it and that's when he started playing again. Seriously, a Cancer? The only people who considered him a Cancer were Tito (who admittedly had to deal with all the headaches) and the red sox front office, where an overly sensitive John Henry (in this case) was not happy about the problems being created. Boras was setting up a contract chess match. The Red Sox didn't even want to deal with it so they dumped him and good a very good, though not hall of fame quality, player. If he stayed, Manny would have went just nuts here in Boston and played out of his mind, hoping to opt out at the end of the year. And remember they were STILL winning with Manny there and all this going on. So tell me once again how that makes him a cancer???? I just can't believe how all of Boston took the Red Sox version of events hook line and sinker. It's just amazing to me. But back to your point, I understand someone saying "it needed to happen, however unfortunate", but to be happy with the outcome???? It makes no sense.

Roger Clemens on the other hand, was an arrogant son of a bitch who pretty much hated everyone but himself. He personified the 25 guys 25 cabs era of the red sox.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Steroids affect more than size and strength, and strength isn't specifically correlative with speed.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


This sucks. Manny is a big part of the reason I fell in love with baseball. Amazing hitter, better fielder than he's generally given credit for, and just crazy-fun to watch play. Nobody you watch seems to have as much fun as he does. I could write a book called 1,001 Defenses of Manny Ramirez's behavior and - as a Sox fan - I have probably believed every one of them at some point or another.

To put it another way, I'm going to choose to be naive on this one, and believe Manny's story until it becomes impossible for me to do otherwise.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


delmoi: My understanding is that the MLB's antitrust exemption allows it to prohibit teams from moving to another city without league approval. The Curt Flood Act removed the exemption as it related to labor matters. Anyway, I'd certainly advocate the removal of the antitrust exemption, but I think there would have to be more radical moves to force the situation I envision (or, in other words, it'd have to be voluntary rather than forced).
posted by mullacc at 2:28 PM on May 7, 2009


Btw, MegoSteve. I'm not trying to be singularly aggressive here. I'm more lumping onto your shoulders the entire non-chalance of the Boston in regards to the Boras chess match for a contract that was played at the Red Sox expense. I still think we had a better shot in the playoffs last year with Manny in the lineup.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:28 PM on May 7, 2009


Ah, Lacking Subtlety, you and I usually share such similar viewpoints! Here, I must agree with MegoSteve and Lipstick Thesbian: I loved Manny, and was happy to defend him for quite sometime, but was incredibly happy with the trade for Bay. Even though it made them burn through a bunch of money last year, it freed up a ton for this year (assuming they would have attempted to re-sign him.) While I understand your point about his antics being about forcing a trade, you can't assume that if August 1st had rolled around and he was still playing for Boston, he'd shrug his shoulders, suck it up, and churn out the kind of numbers he did for LA. (Which absolutely would have powered them past the Rays in the ALCS, if not to another WS title.) Also, Bora$ is a shit, and the fewer of his players that are on the team, the better. (Yes, I'm over watching him breakdown after Adenhart died.)

Manny's attitude was completely toxic. Regardless of his intentions, he would have continued to be a drain on that clubhouse. It wasn't quite as bad as, say, Nomar in 2004, but not that far off the mark, and way, way more high profile.

With regards to this news, it'll certainly be a downer if it turns out he ever was using 'roids, because he's such a goddamn good hitter. Best since Williams, in my estimation. More even than "tainting" the recent success for the Sox, (and don't get me wrong, the idea of giving Yankee fans any sort of "curse isn't broken! It was all lies!" ammo chills me to the bone) I hate the idea of such a prodigious player's reputation being tarnished.

And I'll stop this debate before it gets going. The #1 Manny being Manny moment (narrowly edging out pissing behind the monster and almost missing the start of an inning) was the time he made a diving cutoff catch on Damon's relay. Far and away the most athletic thing he's ever done, and 100% nonsensical.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:40 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jeter is the last bastion of any kind of claim the MLB could make for integrity at this point.

If he'd just wipe that fucking shit-eating, smug, self-satisfied smirk off his face, I might agree with you.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:40 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


And, on preview, I resent (even though you didn't direct it at me) the notion that if you're an anti-Manny Boston fan you bought what the brass were selling. I'm aware of the difference between reality and spin. Simmons laid it all out clear as day, and I still have no qualms stating that letting him go was the right move.

Hindsight is everything, but who would you rather have on your team right now? It's pretty excellent to root for a team that doesn't get caught up in this kind of ridiculousness, don't you think?
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:44 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


No worries. I don't think you're being aggressive. Just a Manny fan, I guess. You'll get no argument from me that he's a great player when he wants to play, but I think he's also unstable and doesn't always put the team's interests over his own. Jason Bay's a much better fit for the Red Sox.
posted by MegoSteve at 2:45 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]



If he'd just wipe that fucking shit-eating, smug, self-satisfied smirk off his face, I might agree with you.


If you were the only hugely successful yet clean player surrounded by what you knew were a bunch of needle obsessed freakazoids, you'd probably have a smug, self satisfied smirk too.
posted by spicynuts at 2:47 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


SIMMONS RESPONDS TO TODAYS MANNY FIASCO
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 2:51 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm just waiting for delmoi to fail a drug test. No way he is posting all those comments clean.
posted by srboisvert at 2:55 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Steroids don't give you a better eye or a truer swing.
I wonder how steroids impact your batting average.


A huge component of batting in general and batting average specifically is bat speed. With increased bat speed, you can take fractions of seconds longer to decide to swing, adjust angles in mid-swing and better turn on inside pitches (allowing you to get better wood on the ball).

While steroids won't help your eyesight, decision-making or the mechanics of your swing, raw muscle power can improve your bat speed. Moreover, steroids can increase your training ability -- you can bounce back quicker from workouts and from injuries, which makes you more consistent over time, which is the very essence of batting average to begin with.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:57 PM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


From the Simmons Response:


"You have to understand," I say. "EVERYONE cheated back then. You know how I drive 80 on the highway even though all the signs say to go 55? That's how everyone thought back then -- the signs said one thing, but everyone did the other. There were so many people cheating that, competitively, you almost had to cheat to keep up with everyone else."


This statement sums up the entire first decade of the 21st Century in pretty much every fuck up there has been - banks, ecomm bubble, steriods in baseball, waterboarding, etc etc etc.
posted by spicynuts at 2:58 PM on May 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


SIMMONS RESPONDS TO TODAYS MANNY FIASCO

Fantastic timing. Printed, and will read on the train home.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:58 PM on May 7, 2009


Boston fans are so jealous, I'm LOL.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:01 PM on May 7, 2009


Okay - my last comment here.

I have NEVER BEEN a Manny Ramirez fan, as long as I've been watching Red Sox baseball. To me, he's the epitome of everything that makes baseball unbearable - he's lazy in the field, he's barely there in terms of knowing how to behave as a professional, and just being a good hitter ain't enough.

I want to believe that baseball is a thing of team ethics, and community among the players and fans. I'm definitely down with the "these guys used to be Little Leaguers and now they're all grown up" sentimental quality that gets slopped by the broadcasters.

There's plenty of room in this world for loud, obnoxious, mono-talented people to do their thing. I'll proudly take a league of Mike Lowells who are down-to-earth, humble, and reliable.

Or your Jamie Moyers - in their 40's and pitching just fine, thanks.

Manny - what the hell ever. Take your fake dreads and stay in LA. Jason Bay is helping us just fine right now, thanks.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:03 PM on May 7, 2009


And, on preview, I resent (even though you didn't direct it at me) the notion that if you're an anti-Manny Boston fan you bought what the brass were selling. I'm aware of the difference between reality and spin. Simmons laid it all out clear as day, and I still have no qualms stating that letting him go was the right move.

Hindsight is everything, but who would you rather have on your team right now? It's pretty excellent to root for a team that doesn't get caught up in this kind of ridiculousness, don't you think?
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:44 PM on May 7 [1 favorite -] [!]


Yeah. I acknowledge that it probably did have to happen and maybe even was the "right" move, but I really don't think we got a "win" scenario out of it if you understand my meaning. Is it possible that the best possible result to a situation was still a "lose"???

Also, truth is, I'd rather have Manny Ramirez. I'm sorry, he's just too entertaining. I mean Bay is certainly a very good player, but watching Manny play was the most fun I've ever had a baseball spectator. Even with the absurd stuff. It was kind of part of it. The other part? He was the best pure hitter I've ever seen. His handwork cannot be taught. Literally, you cannot teach hand adjustments like he has. As far as we know, it's kind of impossible to track balls and adjust like that. It's why he can hit to any part of the park.What's more is I think team "harmony" is kind of overrated. It's a small part of things and makes it easier to just focus on baseball, but having a guy who just fits into the team doesn't do it for me. It just doesn't. It's like the difference between the asinine characters of the 2004 and the consummate professional approach of the 2007 team. I like absurdity almost as much as I like baseball itself. Then again, Jason Bay playing pretty much out of his mind is helping.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 3:09 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay - my last comment here.

I have NEVER BEEN a Manny Ramirez fan, as long as I've been watching Red Sox baseball. To me, he's the epitome of everything that makes baseball unbearable - he's lazy in the field, he's barely there in terms of knowing how to behave as a professional, and just being a good hitter ain't enough.

I want to believe that baseball is a thing of team ethics, and community among the players and fans. I'm definitely down with the "these guys used to be Little Leaguers and now they're all grown up" sentimental quality that gets slopped by the broadcasters.

There's plenty of room in this world for loud, obnoxious, mono-talented people to do their thing. I'll proudly take a league of Mike Lowells who are down-to-earth, humble, and reliable.

Or your Jamie Moyers - in their 40's and pitching just fine, thanks.

Manny - what the hell ever. Take your fake dreads and stay in LA. Jason Bay is helping us just fine right now, thanks.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:03 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Okay let's do this.

Tell me all about players who "do it the right way." What does that mean? Does it mean having a bunch of dirt dogs who are gritty but don't win? Should Trot Nixon still be starting in right? Should the entire team be constituted of generic hard nosed white guys with clean cut hair?

Seriously. This pervaisive attitude in baseball, about how it should be played, etc. is actually kind of insulting. There have been lazy players in baseball, ALWAYS.

How many baseball players have you been around? The idiom of "these guys used to be little leagers and now they're all grown up" is actually rather accurate. The majority of baseball players I have met and interacted with are: deeply homophobic, unaware of life outside of baseball, uninterested in life outside of baseball besides getting laid and cheating on their wives, not too bright, and partial to hive mentalities.

There's a legitimate reason Mike Mussina is regarded as a dick by other players. He was a brilliant guy with lots of life skills who didn't much like the way most players behaved. They made fun of him for doing the NY Times crossword puzzle every dady. He was occasionally confrontational about these things, then didn't bother. It made him a "bad club house guy"

Crap. Posting this, more comment to come.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 3:18 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


If he did the exact same thing and played for the Yankees, you'd hate him with a passion hotter than the sun." And the fan admitted, "Yeah, that's likely true."

Y'see, he acknowledged Manny is an asshole, but at the time, he was their asshole.
posted by grubi


Is this suppose to be a deep insight into red sox fans? Or fans in general, because if Pedroia played for the yankees, you'd love him. If Schilling won 20 for the yankees, you'd love him. If damon played for the yankees.

oh wait, you DO love him.
posted by justgary at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2009


Is this suppose to be a deep insight into red sox fans? Or fans in general, because if Pedroia played for the yankees, you'd love him. If Schilling won 20 for the yankees, you'd love him. If damon played for the yankees.

You know, I'll say this for Orioles fans - when Eddie Murray, one of their star players, was traded to either the Dodgers or the Mets (I don't remember what game this was off the top of my head), he had the misfortune one time of playing against the Orioles. However, when he hit a home run, scoring against the team that made him famous, the Orioles fans gave him a standing ovation.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:35 PM on May 7, 2009


1) Not especially surprised he was caught doing drugs.

2) Very surprised it wasn't pot.

just being a good hitter ain't enough

Make that an all-time great hitter. He's "a nine-time Silver Slugger, and one of twenty-five people to have hit over 500 career home runs...His 20 career grand slams are the most by any active player, and the second most all-time, behind Lou Gehrig's 23...He currently sits in 16th place among baseball's all-time home run leaders with 527." He also has the most postseason home runs and most postseason RBI of all time. (Not to excuse his drug use or behavior.)
posted by kirkaracha at 3:37 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just Manny being Barry.
posted by explosion at 3:42 PM on May 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Also just like to add myself to the list of Sox fans that didn't shed a tear when Manny left town. We just have a way with assholes, I guess. Ted Williams was an asshole—he never tipped his hat to the fans—Clemens? Asshole. "Great" and "asshole", that seems to be what Boston offers the baseball world. I'll take it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:45 PM on May 7, 2009


Jeter is the last bastion of any kind of claim the MLB could make for integrity at this point.

Jeter's a huge ass, a sub-average shortstop with a giant-sized ego who's treated with kid gloves by the New York press. There's nobody in baseball I'd rather see fall, though I doubt it'll happen. It's not like he was ever a serious home run hitter.

I have enjoyed many years of the Entertainment that is Manny, so this is sad, though not very surprising. There'll be more, and in the long term that is good.

Test them all, ban them all, get it over with already. 10 more years of this will hurt.
posted by rokusan at 4:22 PM on May 7, 2009


2) Very surprised it wasn't pot.

Made me laugh because it's so true. This is a guy who kept buckets of cash stuffed all over the inside of his car because banks were "too complicated."
posted by rokusan at 4:23 PM on May 7, 2009


If Schilling won 20 for the yankees, you'd love him....

Oh, and just to prove I'm not team-centric: Schilling is ANOTHER giant pompous ass who I now enjoy not seeing play. Now if only they could shut him up, too...
posted by rokusan at 4:24 PM on May 7, 2009


More on Lipstick Thespian comment.

What I'm about to say is a very dangerous thing to say, so I am going to try and say carefully so the meaning isn't taken out of context. The "playing the game the right way" comment is one that can have associations with racism. It might sound a little ridiculous but when people complain about what has happened to the game it's the same kind of sentiment that has fueled so much thickly veiled racism in sports.

Your "dreads" comment also clues into this. What the heck is so wrong with having long hair? Yet so many people find this to be a kind of dismissive, selfish act. I don't understand it. He likes it. If it makes him feel good, if feeling good helps him hit, who cares?

Also, if you're talking about consistency, Manny was most consistent hitter of the last generation. What because he had 10 of the most entertaining, bonehead fielding plays of the last decade, he's a liability? How about the fact he a surprisingly great release and threw out tons of players trying to stretch doubles? How about the fact that he did more cage and tape time than any player on the red sox besides Jason Varitek?

I don't get it. Base it on evidence, not your impression of his play and effort. I think I've watched 92% of Manny Ramirez's at bats in a red sox uniform. Really. I think that's probably accurate. I can assure you that the guy had strict discipline and all the qualities you say you admire.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:37 PM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll proudly take a league of Mike Lowells who are down-to-earth, humble, and reliable.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:03 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Also, pretty hilarious, but Mike Lowell was one of Manny's best friends and also one of his biggest defenders on the team.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:40 PM on May 7, 2009


Is this the thread where I can propose my idea to abolish all professional sports leagues and replace them a series of independently organized tournaments?

I'd go more for the idea of abolishing the pro sports leagues and replacing them with non-city/region-affiliated teams, disconnecting them entirely from government in terms of Congressional oversight and access to public funds/tax/bonds for stadiums and shit, and let them smoke and inject whatever the hell they want to.
posted by troybob at 4:47 PM on May 7, 2009


I'd go more for the idea of abolishing the pro sports leagues and replacing them with non-city/region-affiliated teams, disconnecting them entirely from government in terms of Congressional oversight and access to public funds/tax/bonds for stadiums and shit, and let them smoke and inject whatever the hell they want to.
posted by troybob at 4:47 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Why, because Sports is acknowledge-ably the new opiate of the masses?

And I LOVE sports.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:50 PM on May 7, 2009


spicynuts: Jeter is the last bastion of any kind of claim the MLB could make for integrity at this point. If he falls, and I have no doubt he could (not saying he will, only that I don't think he's invincible) then the whole jig is up. If Jeter falls, then there is zero model to lean on and look to for how to clean things up.
Actually, I think the last domino would be a guy like Ichiro. If *Ichiro* is juicing... ugh. That would be disappointing, because his atavistic slap-hitting speedster style is highly entertaining, but criticisms of his low-OPS would be more valid if he was chemically enhanced.

And I say that as a documented, avowed lover of steroid use. Let 'em juice! I don't care, and think it's an overrated tempest-in-a-teapot. I'm pissed that the media brouhaha forced perhaps the greatest player in history- Barry Bonds- to effectively retire before his time, just shy of a few extra milestones. All because dickless sportswriting assmunches can't distinguish between journalism and their own childish fantasy-worlds.
posted by hincandenza at 5:05 PM on May 7, 2009


spicynuts: Jeter is the last bastion of any kind of claim the MLB could make for integrity at this point. If he falls, and I have no doubt he could (not saying he will, only that I don't think he's invincible) then the whole jig is up. If Jeter falls, then there is zero model to lean on and look to for how to clean things up.

Actually, I think the last domino would be a guy like Ichiro. If *Ichiro* is juicing... ugh. That would be disappointing, because his atavistic slap-hitting speedster style is highly entertaining, but criticisms of his low-OPS would be more valid if he was chemically enhanced.

And I say that as a documented, avowed lover of steroid use. Let 'em juice! I don't care, and think it's an overrated tempest-in-a-teapot. I'm pissed that the media brouhaha forced perhaps the greatest player in history- Barry Bonds- to effectively retire before his time, just shy of a few extra milestones. All because dickless sportswriting assmunches can't distinguish between journalism and their own childish fantasy-worlds.
posted by hincandenza at 5:05 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Ahhhhh, the classic half-thought. That's all fine and good, you can enjoy what you can enjoy.

The problem: Steroids are dangerous.
The complication: kids play sports and want to become big leaguers.
The result: your kids will want to take dangerous steroids in order to be a big leaguer, cause, you know, they all do it...

That thud you hear is your logic hitting reality. I'm sorry, that's how it works. Steroids are illegal in the US for good reason. They aren't healthy. And ignorance is one thing, but outright fostering a culture that celebrates body altering drugs is another. I'm sorry. Baseball players are not some abstract idea that is here for your amusement. They are living breathing organisms who interact with other real living breathing organisms and inspire your own tiny living breathing organisms that you may or many not care a great deal about.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:19 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for picking up on the potential racial subtext, Subtlety. As a Boston fan, this figured in a lot with media coverage of Manny. Historically, the Red Sox have been a pretty lily-white team until Mo Vaughn, Carl Everett, Pedro Martinez, and, recently, Ramirez and David Ortiz. That trend seems to be reversing a little bit, coinciding with the infantilization of Manny as a lost child near the end of his Boston tenure.

Moreover, Mrs. Juggler reminds me that the 2004 World Series "Idiots" Red Sox team had its share of unconventional players like Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar (KFC commericals, and sideburns, and cowboys oh my), and to an extent Kevin Youkilis who didn't embody any old-fashioned "way the game should be played."
posted by themadjuggler at 5:32 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for picking up on the potential racial subtext, Subtlety. As a Boston fan, this figured in a lot with media coverage of Manny. Historically, the Red Sox have been a pretty lily-white team until Mo Vaughn, Carl Everett, Pedro Martinez, and, recently, Ramirez and David Ortiz. That trend seems to be reversing a little bit, coinciding with the infantilization of Manny as a lost child near the end of his Boston tenure.

Moreover, Mrs. Juggler reminds me that the 2004 World Series "Idiots" Red Sox team had its share of unconventional players like Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar (KFC commericals, and sideburns, and cowboys oh my), and to an extent Kevin Youkilis who didn't embody any old-fashioned "way the game should be played."
posted by themadjuggler at 5:32 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Completely. It's never been overt, but it's all this subtle weird bs. I feel like bob ryan and dan shaunessy(sp?) are guilty of perpetrating some of the sentiment. They're totally the kinds of journalists who overrate tough, hustle white guys like tyler hansborough (notice how these guys always do horribly in the pros?) and at least are more inquisitive toward players who they regard as having character issues.

And look at the boston team this year. coco crisp is gone. no one is in a rush to put lugo in. And people are already holding services for the career of david ortiz. Meanwhile we keep replacing them with young white workhorses. Is this racially motivated? Of course not.

And they will worship minority players who excel. That transcends everything of course. Ortiz and Pedro were basically gods. But I've definitely noticed two different sets of criteria going on for minority and white players. The boston media definitely has seemed to have a lot of "character" issues about the whaffling behaviors of their minority players.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:43 PM on May 7, 2009


Baseball players are not some abstract idea that is here for your amusement.

That's exactly what they are. The whole MLB package--the heroic player, the all-American sport, home-team allegiance--are nothing more than corporate branding that exploits tired sentimental mythology. They're no less vulgar about it than Hollywood, though Hollywood has the decency to admit what it is, which is why we're not clamoring for studios to ban plastic surgery and airbrushing.
posted by troybob at 5:47 PM on May 7, 2009


Yet another sad day for baseball. The sport has lost it's validity. It is about nothing more than money. The owners and union are both crooked. Everyone wants to get paid and will do anything to up their earnings.

I have thrown the baby out with the bath water, I know, but none of it matters anymore. Since the strike in the early 90's (I think it was 94) Baseball has gotten worse and worse. They fabricated homerun races for years. The records are all crap. The titles are all worthless. It is all built on cheating.

We can make light of it all or tell ourselves the oft repeated lines: "Steroids add muscle not hand eye coordination. Pitchers were on steroids too so it was even." We can lie to ourselves but at the end of the day it still stinks. It is rotten but, as fans, we are expected to politely swallow it down and believe that it will not make us sick. Well, it is not alright.

What a joke baseball has become. What a tragedy.

/sad, angry and rambling
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:00 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lacking Subtlety: That thud you hear is your logic hitting reality. I'm sorry, that's how it works. Steroids are illegal in the US for good reason. They aren't healthy. And ignorance is one thing, but outright fostering a culture that celebrates body altering drugs is another.
Eponysterical? Anyway, who cares about the kids- as troybob points out, at least other entertainment industries acknowledge the underbelly. The anti-steroids stance is driven purely by a desire to imagine baseball- or sports- in the view of a child. Why? Because sports writers, and couch-dwelling fans, want to believe in this mythic concept of sports, and pro athletes. Bullshit. Babe Ruth was basically a self-absorbed prick, Ted Williams an asshole, Joe DiMaggio a sociopath with strong mob ties and a garbage bag full of blood money he carried around, Hank Aaron was an amphetamine junkie, etc, etc, etc. I don't care if they do drugs, I don't think they are role models, I just like watching baseball.

Besides, "steroids" are not illegal, just some chemicals. And with doctor supervision, some drugs that might otherwise be unsafe if shot into your nads in sweaty basement gym could be safe and helpful. After all, Sandy Koufax pitched most of his career on steroids, to help his ailing elbow. By every possible interpretation, that was a performance enhancing drug.
zerobyproxy: It is rotten but, as fans, we are expected to politely swallow it down and believe that it will not make us sick. Well, it is not alright.

What a joke baseball has become. What a tragedy.
See, this is what I don't get. Why is it a *tragedy*? Why do you care if they did some drugs? It's not like they were Joe Peterson from Accounts Receivable who took a shot and became a millionaire superstar. They were already orders of magnitude better than you can imagine. They are just also better now- for a variety of reasons- than any players before.

Again, I think troybob offers a good comparison: Hollywood stars get airbrushed, they get professional makeup, the best lighting and camera work, and in many cases everything from a light touchup to a metric shit-ton of plastic surgery. No one cries out "Oh, the movies are such a TRAGEDY now! Oh, woe is me, however shall I cope?!" Fuck, they pay their $10, buy their popcorn, and enjoy the entertainment.
posted by hincandenza at 6:06 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


@hincandenza--The tragedy is that the best part about baseball was that there were all kinds of comparisons that you could make. You can't make the comparisons when people cheat. The rules are broken. The players who didn't cheat, were SCREWED. Their records do not and will not reflect that they were really and truly the best player on the field. The guys who cheated performed way better, got better contracts and endorsements, etc. The records of Ruth, Mays, Williams were thrown into a woodchipper because of these steroid fueled clowns. They had ZERO respect for the game. They thought that they were bigger than the game. What they did was make the game a sham.


So, my question to you is this: Should players be allowed to gain any kind of advantage that they can regardless of whether it is legal or not?
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:19 PM on May 7, 2009


The tragedy is that the best part about baseball was that there were all kinds of comparisons that you could make. You can't make the comparisons when people cheat. The rules are broken. The players who didn't cheat, were SCREWED. Their records do not and will not reflect that they were really and truly the best player on the field. The guys who cheated performed way better, got better contracts and endorsements, etc. The records of Ruth, Mays, Williams were thrown into a woodchipper because of these steroid fueled clowns. They had ZERO respect for the game. They thought that they were bigger than the game. What they did was make the game a sham.

This is practically a template for a classic Hollywood industry story.
posted by troybob at 6:30 PM on May 7, 2009


They had ZERO respect for the game. They thought that they were bigger than the game. What they did was make the game a sham.


About this respect for the game.

Babr Ruth's records are a sham without integration. Same with Williams and and all others from that "golden" era.

Still not sure exactly what this drug was used for. Some help here.
posted by pianomover at 6:52 PM on May 7, 2009


> Still not sure exactly what this drug was used for. Some help here.

Here. Basically taken to reduce some of the side effects of steroid use.
posted by markr at 7:27 PM on May 7, 2009


I was just reading on Jose Canscos Twitter that he was 90% sure Manny was using steroids. I guess he really was right about most of this steroid business. As a Red Sox fan I am so glad that we don't have Manny anymore. I also thought it was interesting that the chance of Dodgers making the playoffs dropped from 71% to 66% without Manny for 50 games.

And as my friend put it "Woman's hormone? No wonder he was a drama queen."
posted by lilkeith07 at 7:52 PM on May 7, 2009


I'll be honest, I haven't read the entirety of the thread since my last comment, and I don't know baseball as well as a lot of people here, but I know very well how my passions run in terms of it.

"The Idiots" are already kind of a sacred thing to me, as a Sox fan, and I doubt very much that I'm alone. I have love even for Nomar, but his trade seemed to be what finally broke the curse, and so I was happy to see him go. But I want him to go with the best of futures ahead of him. Nomar was never really an Idiot anyway.

Damon, after 2004, did the most unforgivable thing, though, and went to the Yankees. There's no excuse for that. For all I know, he had almost no choice of his own in the matter, but it doesn't matter. You don't go from the Idiots to the Yankees. Not at all. Especially after coining the term.

Ramirez, however, particularly because of the personal bond he always seemed to have with David Ortiz, was something special, something specifically of the Sox. He was our modern-day Babe Ruth. Yeah, he was slow. Yeah, he was unprofessional. He also got the job done and was more engaging than a thousand Kevin Youkilises. (And I like Kevin Youkilis.)

I'm not a stats man, so baseball, to me, is a lot about watching the drama play out over a Summer. Manny was always great as a comic hero in that regard, which is why I love and defend him even now.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:55 PM on May 7, 2009


What I'm about to say is a very dangerous thing to say, so I am going to try and say carefully so the meaning isn't taken out of context. The "playing the game the right way" comment is one that can have associations with racism.

A few years ago I heard one of the USS Mariner guys (I think Dave) say outright that if Willie Bloomquist, the seven position no power 25th man for the Mariners and Royals, were black, he'd have been out of baseball long ago. When black players play a bunch of positions passably but have a career OPS of .659, they wash out in a hurry (unless they have amazing gloves, and even then they're out the moment there's a kid in AAA who can play the infield and pop a dinger every week). When white players do it, though, they're "scrappy."

Think about it. When was the last time you heard someone call a black player "scrappy?"

Willie Bloomquist was held up around here for years as a guy "playing the game the right way." Meanwhile, Ichiro, about the only guy who could hit and field worth a damn, was "selfish" and "didn't get his uniform dirty."

You want 25 guys who "play the game the right way?" Then run out 25 Willie Bloomquists. And while all your Bloomquists are "moving runners over" and "doing the little things" the other team will do as Earl Weaver (peace be upon him) taught us was "playing the game the right way" -- play for the three-run homer. And those guys will have skin red, yellow, black and white, and those waist-high fastballs your pitchers will be throwing to "put the ball in play" because "it's the right way" will be precious in their sight... and in the sight of the fans as they are valet-parked in the upper deck.
posted by dw at 8:30 PM on May 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yet another sad day for baseball. The sport has lost it's validity.

Au contraire, this is proof that the drug testing system is working, and the fact that the Commissioner suspended him when he didn't even have to (it wasn't banned, after all, and Manny did have a scrip, even if he didn't properly report it) says they're taking this serious.

It's just like cycling. People say "oh it has no credibility" because they're rounding up and suspending the dopers, and yet no one says that about the NFL, whose drug testing policy is notoriously lax. Cycling probably has never been cleaner. And baseball has never been this clean, because it's never had a testing program, much less one that works.

It is about nothing more than money.

Uh... what were the last 140 years of PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL about? Green stamps??
posted by dw at 8:42 PM on May 7, 2009


The movies analogy is silly; they're not selling competition steeped in integrity, to the extent that anyone believes that.

As for steroids themselves, there's about a drugstore worth of substances out there that do various things, but a big aspect of steriods is that they speed recovery time from workouts, the body being physically taxed--to include the basic demands of a long season. My understanding is that one can't simply take them, sit on the couch and grow.

I've long thought the problem is that it is insidious, from the all-star wanting to stay at that level, to a guy in the minors hoping to make The Show. As someone said, for all concerned, there is a serious threat to not doing it when significant numbers of people are.

There is some sense that baseball is taking this seriously, that there is a system that is starting to work. It feels naive, though, to think that nobody is working on/has cracked the code for the next generation of performance-enhancing drugs. It will be interesting to see if a zero-tolerance policy takes effect. You're caught, you're out. Permanently.

More recently, it's become more personal. My nephew pitches for a good college program. (It happens to be a great school and his grades are high so it's not baseball or bust.) He's already heard what came across in a big way as hints that he should look into steroids, etc., seen things that reek of people at that level--and in high school--going down that road.

I wouldn't bet my lunch money that he's have a shot at playing professionally if baseball was impeccably clean, but yeah, I am less than enthused by the fact that the prospect of my nephew living his dream has almost certainly been diminished by steroids and other substances.
posted by ambient2 at 12:30 AM on May 8, 2009


Ya know what's awesome? Professional baseball in Korea (they call it yagu). The quality obviously isn't as great, but there are cheerleaders. And the beer guys walk around with mini-kegs on their back. And thundersticks. And you can buy any kind of food or booze and take it into the stadium with you.

LG FIGHTING!!!
posted by bardic at 3:38 AM on May 8, 2009


Historically, the Red Sox have been a pretty lily-white team.

The Sox have a bit of a murky past with race relations, but that's a pretty ridiculous blanket statement to make. Half of the 1986 AL Champs would like to have a word with you. Barry Bonds saying "Boston is racist" does not make it so.

And I wake this morning to find that Dom DiMaggio died. Jesus. I'm going to have to spend most of the day on the phone with my dad, I suspect.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:10 AM on May 8, 2009


because if Pedroia played for the yankees, you'd love him. If Schilling won 20 for the yankees, you'd love him.

No, not really. There have been plenty of players I didn't like on my favorite teams. Why do you assume that this applies to me? Or that I was being a hypocrite? Jesus.
posted by grubi at 5:13 AM on May 8, 2009


I want to believe that baseball is a thing of team ethics, and community among the players and fans. I'm definitely down with the "these guys used to be Little Leaguers and now they're all grown up" sentimental quality that gets slopped by the broadcasters.

There's plenty of room in this world for loud, obnoxious, mono-talented people to do their thing. I'll proudly take a league of Mike Lowells who are down-to-earth, humble, and reliable.


I'm tempted to say "Oh, horseshit," but hey, if what you like is scrappy losers, that's what you like. I'll tell you what I liked: the 1986 Mets. They were loud and obnoxious, they were sore losers and in-your-face winners, they partied hard and played harder, and they won the pennant and the Series in unforgettable fashion. I'd give anything to be able to watch that smug hotdog Gary Carter behind the plate again and that fool Darryl hitting towering homers and that cocky prince among fielders Keith Hernandez at first and Gooden on the mound, brought up too fast and soon to burn out but absolutely peerless for a couple of years there. What a team! And right after the Series the fucking management, who had your distaste for "obnoxious" players who didn't reflect well on the sport or whatever bullshit, got rid of Ray Knight (the Series MVP), and over the next few years they got rid of every player with a spark of individuality and wound up with a nice clean bunch of boys who went back to losing in time-honored Mets fashion.

And what Lacking Subtlety and dw said about racism. I became a baseball fan in the 1950s, when there were still all-white teams and blacks were considered incapable of doing anything but running and slugging ("natural athletes," you know). The first black players were like Robinson, determined to make a good impression and keep the door open for others. Then in the '60s, with the rise of Black Is Beautiful, they started being themselves and playing the way that felt right to them, making daring catches, playing with flair instead of "gritty determination," and in general (from the point of view of appalled white traditionalists) "showing off." Oh, the horror! The fact that the game got a lot more fun to watch and attracted new audiences was beside the point.

Fuck that shit. No, players shouldn't cheat (and one of the worst things I've heard about Manny is that he passed signals to friends on opposing teams so they'd know what the pitcher was going to throw them) and there should be a level playing field (no one should feel they have to take dangerous drugs to stay on the roster), but they should be themselves, and if that involves being a little nuts or egocentric or in some other way annoying the management and the sportswriters, so what? I want to see good baseball, not grown men pretending they're in Little League and trying to be Good Role Models.
posted by languagehat at 5:51 AM on May 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


one of the worst things I've heard about Manny is that he passed signals to friends on opposing teams so they'd know what the pitcher was going to throw them

From left field? Not likely. I think you're confusing Manny with A-Rod.
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 6:11 AM on May 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


And look at the boston team this year. coco crisp is gone. no one is in a rush to put lugo in. And people are already holding services for the career of david ortiz. Meanwhile we keep replacing them with young white workhorses. Is this racially motivated? Of course not.

You know, I'm not one to defend the Yawkey regime of the Red Sox or their treatment of players or biases. However, to insinuate that it continues now is absolutely ridiculous. Furthermore, there are plenty of minorities on the 40 man roster. It's stupid to even defend it.

...The boston media definitely has seemed to have a lot of "character" issues about the whaffling behaviors of their minority players.

Don't paint the media with the Shaughnessy brush. Shaughnessy has pretty much carved his niche out of being the contrary bad news dickhead about everything.
posted by jerseygirl at 6:18 AM on May 8, 2009


(and one of the worst things I've heard about Manny is that he passed signals to friends on opposing teams so they'd know what the pitcher was going to throw them)

Wait, you heard this about Manny? Are you sure you don't mean A-Rod on this one?

As for the steroid thing, I recently read Joe Torre's book. Now he can come out with some more "really? Steroids in baseball? I had no idea!" bullcrap.
posted by inigo2 at 6:25 AM on May 8, 2009


Steroids are illegal in the US for good reason. They aren't healthy. And ignorance is one thing, but outright fostering a culture that celebrates body altering drugs is another.

Steroids are illegal for a good reason? Really? What is it? Because the one you gave is wrong. Not to mention a three year old could point out that smoking is clearly unhealthy, and yet people puff away legally worry free.
Oh, and by the way, I was wondering if your okay with the thousands of surgical body alterations done yearly?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:56 AM on May 8, 2009


I think you're confusing Manny with A-Rod.

Ah, you're probably right. Sorry, this steroids stuff depresses me and I don't pay as close attention as I should, and it all kind of mooshes together into one big ball of bad behavior.
posted by languagehat at 7:06 AM on May 8, 2009


However, when he hit a home run, scoring against the team that made him famous, the Orioles fans gave him a standing ovation.

And the Boston fans did this for Carlton Fisk every time he did it during his long second career with Chicago.

If Manny had been sincere in his occasional assertions that he wanted to stay in Boston (without the more frequent expressions of desire to be traded), and had he been less eager to take days off (why were so many of those on Yankees game days?), Sox fans would remember him a lot more fondly. But then, if he'd done those things, he wouldn't have been traded anyway.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:14 AM on May 8, 2009


another career ruined by a dick.

rimshot.
posted by krautland at 7:15 AM on May 8, 2009


rimshot.
posted by inigo2 at 7:32 AM on May 8, 2009


(and one of the worst things I've heard about Manny is that he passed signals to friends on opposing teams so they'd know what the pitcher was going to throw them)


Manny ain't that bright or that aware of his surroundings. I had season tix in right-centerfield during the Indians' championship runs of the mid-90's. It was a tight game, and everyone except for Manny did their rally cap thing the half-inning prior.

My entire section yelled en-masse for Manny to get his rally cap going. Then and only then did Manny get with the program.
posted by xena at 7:53 AM on May 8, 2009


Youkilis reminds me of a Bugs Bunny character. Maybe Black Jacque Shellac.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:18 AM on May 8, 2009


My entire section yelled en-masse for Manny to get his rally cap going. Then and only then did Manny get with the program.

That must have been a hell of a cheer to organize, I'm counting 16 beats:

Hey/Manny/Put/Your
Rally/Cap/On/The
Rest/of the/Team/Has
You/Should/Too/Hey!
(repeat)
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:34 AM on May 8, 2009


Check this fascinating piece by AJ Daulerio at Deadspin. The upshot is that he was contacted many months ago by a woman who, along with her husband, are being prosecuted for selling steroids to gauge his interest in writing a book (or procuring an author to write one) about her husband's "encyclopedic" knowledge of things steroids related. She name dropped Manny to bait him:

"For months and months I emailed with Jennifer, spoke on the phone with her and her husband, text messaged with her, all with the hope of getting some verifiable proof that, while playing for the Boston Red Sox, Manny Ramirez, had purchased some sort of PEDs from them."

A good read, not only about the Manny situation, but about a blogger's attempt to break the story.
posted by kosem at 8:43 AM on May 8, 2009


Very, very cool. Great find kosem. (Would have seen it myself come lunchtime, but no matter.)

The way I see it, there are, at this time, four semi-probable scenarios that could have caused Manny to fail this test (I'm sure there are more, but these four are the most likely and most discussed, given what we know at this time.) They can be divided into two groups:

Horrible for his legacy, and incompatible with the story he's telling:
1. He tested positive for steroids.
2. He tested positive for Nolvaldex, or some other thing that, while not steroids, suggests steroid use.

Less damning for his legacy, and compatible with the story he's telling:
3. A legitimate doctor fucked up big time, and is going to get the pants sued off of him by MLB, the Dodgers, Boras, and anyone else who can point to damages over this. Career over.
4. A less-than-legitimate doctor who fucked up bigtime, but perhaps not as accidentally. Still the potential for lawsuits, the success of which would largely depend on if he's in this country or not. (Or maybe not. I would never doubt that all parties will do everything in their power to punish whoever is responsible.)

I suspect that most of the whispers we've heard about #2 stem from AJ's work, which doesn't rule it out entirely, but that definitely seems to have had its case weakened by the article.

And, hell, I guess there's always #5: Smokin' doobies, but that seems far and away the most unlikely. Baseball players really don't have as much leeway to f around with recreational drugs as, say, NBA guys. Given that he's yet to fail a test since they started the randoms (before this one) it seems like slipping up now would be strange.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:29 AM on May 8, 2009


Tons of great stuff in here since my last post but I dont have time to hash. Just thought I'd mention that Bob Ryan of the globe was on Mike and Mike today and brought up that most of the players in the minor leagues getting suspended are Dominican. He said he was trying to tread lightly here, but there were some weird twinges that hit some of my aforementioned boston media points.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:54 AM on May 8, 2009


And the Boston fans did this for Carlton Fisk every time he did it during his long second career with Chicago.

Well that warms my heart.

One of my cousins, fifteen years younger than I am, was a huge baseball freak when she was in her single digits. Only it was hard to tell what team she rooted for. She had memorablia of her home town, sure, but also of quite a few other teams. One day she announced to me that she was now an Orioles fan. I asked her what prompted the switch, and she told me she liked the new mascot. "I'm glad they went from having the cartoon bird on their hats to a real-looking bird," she said. Apparently her entire support for different teams hinged on the color scheme of their uniforms, their mascots, whether she liked anything else from their home towns, and very, very little about how they scored. All teams were interchangeable parts of one elaborate area of entertainment - guys in uniforms playing baseball. I have a hard time finding fault with that system.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:03 AM on May 8, 2009


Lacking -- You'd have to understand the culture of the DR and how baseball plays heavily into it. Dominican youngsters see Vlad, Manny, Ortiz, Pedro and a bevy of others making huge money playing baseball in America. Succeeding in baseball at any cost is an "out" or a means to an end out of the poverty they face daily.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:10 AM on May 8, 2009


The way I see it, there are, at this time, four semi-probable scenarios that could have caused Manny to fail this test

Before you start speculating, I advise you to review the Joint Drug Agreement.

1. He tested positive for steroids.

As it's come to me, Manny was suspended under 8.G.2, which is a discretionary clause the Commissioner can trigger if he feels like the test or conduct, while not meeting any other standards laid, is still detrimental enough that suspension is warranted. Given that Manny tested positive for hCG, which is NOT banned under the rules as laid out and is a legal prescription for a medical condition but has been linked to PED use, this seems to make perfect sense.

If he tested positive for steroids, mind you, they would have said "Winstrol" or "Deca" or some other PED, and no one would mention 8.G.2.

2. He tested positive for Nolvaldex, or some other thing that, while not steroids, suggests steroid use.

He tested positive for hCG, which suggests steroid use. So, yes.

Less damning for his legacy, and compatible with the story he's telling:
3. A legitimate doctor fucked up big time, and is going to get the pants sued off of him by MLB, the Dodgers, Boras, and anyone else who can point to damages over this. Career over.


Not exactly. Manny could have legally taken hCG under a doctor's care IF he had approval from MLB. Apparently, that approval apparently was never sought or granted. The onus of getting that approval lies with the player, NOT the doctor.

Now we all know Manny is just a bit of a flake. Is it at all possible that he totally thought that MLB would just "approve" this? Or that he didn't understand the procedure, or spaced on telling his agent? I think it could be. And the Commissioner's Office at that point would have no choice but to suspend him. They can't just wave off a legal scrip to hCG, especially when that player is Manny. It would smack of preferential treatment (especially in light of JC Romero's suspension, where the circumstances are somewhat similar).

4. A less-than-legitimate doctor who fucked up bigtime, but perhaps not as accidentally.

It is possible this is some sort of quack handing out PEDs like candy. If so, the FDA, AMA, FBI, and DEA will be by sometime this afternoon to give him a beatdown.

I do tend to favor the "legal scrip without the right paperwork" line of thinking. It falls in line with "Manny being Manny" and is a case where the MLB drug policy is working more effectively than I would have expected. Was Manny on 'roids the last 10+ years? Maybe. Who knows? This positive points that direction, but I don't think the evidence here is as strong as, say, the evidence that Clemens was doping in his Toronto and New York days.

And, hell, I guess there's always #5: Smokin' doobies

Under the JDA, you can't be suspended for positive weed test, only fined (as much as $25K). Now, if he were caught with bricks of BC Bud in his car and were convicted for it, he could be suspended under the rules, and if the Commish really felt his weed habit were completely over the top he could trigger 8.G.2 (and risk the MLBPA jumping all over him).
posted by dw at 11:15 AM on May 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


And just for a bit more, it's not Bob Ryan, or Edes, or even the Curly Haired Boyfriend, Dan Shaughnessy, making up stuff about Dominican players and the steroid problem.

By and by, Lacking, the ESPN story was the first Google hit for "Dominican baseball steroids" If you thought Ryan was being racist, there are outlets to research it for yourself.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:22 AM on May 8, 2009


ESPN reports:
Ramirez's case was set off when a test in spring training revealed he had elevated levels of testosterone in his body. MLB followed up with a more comprehensive test that confirmed the testosterone had to come from an artificial source, the sources said.

While investigating, MLB obtained documents that indicated Ramirez's use of hCG, and it was those documents that formally were used to hand down the 50-game suspension. Baseball decided to suspend Ramirez for only hCG because, in the end, he would have been suspended for just the 50 games either way. There was a chance Ramirez could have proved that the testosterone did not come from a banned substance, the MLB source said.
That to me is the big part of the story... the guy was caught with elevated levels of artificial testosterone in his system.
posted by MegoSteve at 11:35 AM on May 8, 2009


Well done, dw. I feel awesomely schooled.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:53 AM on May 8, 2009


That to me is the big part of the story... the guy was caught with elevated levels of artificial testosterone in his system.

And regardless of the explanation -- legal but unapproved scrip or 'roid user -- he deserves to be suspended.
posted by dw at 12:10 PM on May 8, 2009


He does deserve to be suspended either way, but I don't know if it should be fifty games either way. Using steroids seems to be much, much more deserving of punishment than failure to file the proper paperwork. Don't get me wrong, I think it's important for players to do the requisite follow-through, but if this turns about to be a situation where it can be proven after the fact that it wouldn't have been against the rules *if* he'd taken the proper steps, I feel like making him sit out as long as he would have to for committing baseball's second biggest sin is a bit excessive.

By the way, how poetic was it that Pierre grounded out with the bases loaded to end the eighth last night? Frank McCourt must have been banging his head against a wall.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:27 PM on May 8, 2009


My favorite thing about Manny Ramirez on the Red Sox was that he always seemed to be wearing somebody else's pants. Some days, they were too tight and I suspect that they probably belonged to Johnny Damon. Other days, they were DEFINITELY David Ortiz's pants. I wonder if he ever knew the combination to his own locker.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:49 PM on May 8, 2009


Ramirez, you're up!
posted by prodigalsun at 3:21 PM on May 8, 2009


However, testing by Major League Baseball showed that Ramirez had testosterone in his body that was not natural...

Big deal, it's just Manny being 'mone-y.
posted by jamjam at 5:38 PM on May 8, 2009


So does that make the Dodgers current record legitimate? I'd say no, but let's not think about that.

Manny Ramirez
Seasonal Averages (per 162 games played)
YEARS G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG
13.15 162 586 111 184 39 1 41 133 94 128 3 2 .315

OBP SLG OPS
.412 .594 1.006


...and.
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:03 PM on May 8, 2009


So does that make the Dodgers current record legitimate?

I recommend not even going there. You can argue that every World Series winning team since the '94 strike had at least one player on PEDs given the 5-7% positives in the 2003 tests.

And once you've untangled which teams won it all, then you can try and untangle whose records are legit or not. Feel sorry for someone like Edgar Martinez, who was apparently clean but who will be overlooked because he didn't hit for enough power in an era of 50+ HR seasons.

And, of course, you have parse apart the problem that these drugs were legal to take until the JDA came into effect, except some of them weren't since they were banned by the government, and others were acquired without a prescription, and still others were completely legal and purchased at your local GNC. And then you have to figure out how to handle all the guys on greenies in the 50s and 60s and all the guys on horse tonic before that and whether having Gaylord Perry in the Hall while keeping Roger Clemens out is really fair....

And by the way, should laser eye surgery also count as a performance enhancer?

Just don't go there. Give your brain a break. Just accept that going forward MLB is cleaner than it's ever been.
posted by dw at 9:35 PM on May 8, 2009


At this point, finding out that a baseball player uses steriods is like finding out that a supermodel snorts coke. I think we can just go ahead and assume they all do it.

That being said, I'm bummed about this news about Manny. As touched on by a few commmeters above, I hate the whole "he doesn't play the game the way it should be played" mindset- it's tinged with racism and leaves no room for individuality and personality. Manny has his flaws, but he is the greatest hitter of our lifetime, a much better outfielder than he gets credit for, and just so much fun to watch. I think he got a harsh treatment from the Boston media, and I think a lot of that is due to the fact that he's shy in press situations and still not all that comfortable speaking in English. I watched a post-game press conference with him once, and at the very end one of the broadcasters for a Spanish AM radio asked Manny if he'd to say anything to his Spanish-speaking fans, and his demeanor immediately changed- relaxed, open, talking for several minutes with a smile on his face about the fans and the team and how much he appreciated baseball in his life.
posted by emd3737 at 5:31 AM on May 9, 2009


From The Onion: Manny Ramirez: "Am I in Trouble?"
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2009


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