Thursday, May 7, 2009

A-Rod Has Got to be Psyched

Alex Rodriguez suddenly isn't the story in baseball anymore. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and will serve the mandatory 50 game suspension.

"The test result and suspension is expected to be announced later today. The Dodgers informed triple-A outfielder Xavier Paul this morning that he was being promoted to Los Angeles."

This is going to be talked about and dissected every which way from Sunday. Which was more damaging to baseball, A-Rod or Manny being caught? Will baseball survive? Can fans be comfortable with any player putting up great numbers without suspicion?

My question is why the Dodgers are allowed to promote someone from the minors to replace Manny. The Cubs won't be able to bring up anyone to take Bradley's spot when he has to serve his suspension. Players aren't replaced on rosters when booted for charging the mound or beaning batters. Why can the Dodgers replace Manny with someone from their farm system?

Sure, the punishment to the Dodgers is fair in this case because the Dodgers lineup will take about as big a step backwards as it possibly can:

"Juan Pierre, the likely replacement for Ramirez in left field, has batted ninth in two of his five starts this season."

Of course, the presence of Xavier Paul on the roster could possibly make the drop not quite as precipitous if he ends up with more playing time. Joe Torre liked him at the end of Spring Training, and he has decent minor league numbers at each level.

So the question remains, why is that even an option for the Dodgers? Manny misbehaved as an employee of their organization, so how are they able to use it as an opportunity to call up a minor leaguer they'd like to try out?

I just don't understand how the league thinks they are going to be able to "clean up" Major League Baseball when the teams have no incentive at all to police their own players.

All that is going to happen is that Bud Selig is going to sacrifice a couple of big name stars and later stand up in front of a large group of cameras and indignantly tell the world that he is determined to rid baseball of PEDs. He will point at Manny and claim that no superstar is safe from scrutiny or punishment.

Then, when the heat dies down he can go back to not caring in the least what the players are doing as long as revenues keep going up.


Things get worse in the world of Manny as it is now being reported by Yahoo! Sports (and brought to my (and almost 40,000 other Twitter followers') attention via Alyssa Milano, actress, Dodger fan, and baseball blogger:

The substance he was allegedly taking was not designed to boost performance in baseball, though, in a sense it would help him "score."

"It is not Viagra, but a substance that treats the cause rather providing a temporary boost in sexual performance, the source said.

Ramirez tested positive for the substance during spring training, then was administered a second test more recently, and it also was positive."

Manny reportedly has admitted taking the substance, is not appealing the suspension, and will begin losing almost $8 million in salary starting immediately. Though Manny may be pursuing some litigation in which to claim back some of that lost salary, according to the Yahoo! story:

"Ramirez, the source said, acquired the substance through a prescription from a doctor in Miami for his medical condition. The source intimated that Ramirez might bring legal action against the physician.

Ramirez released the following statement Thursday morning: “Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons."

Alex Rodriguez could do naked cartwheels down the middle of the street now and nobody would notice.


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