Saturday, July 4, 2009

Manny's sham suspension

By Rick Morris

When does a 50-game suspension not equal a 50-game suspension? When it applies to everyone's favorite clown, Manny Ramirez.

He returned to major league action yesterday, the operative phrase being "major league," for he was allowed to play minor league ball recently in preparation for his return. Why? So that he would be fully ready to return at the end of the "suspension." To do otherwise, it has been opined, would be unfair to the team that is already missing his services for lo these past 50 games.

Correct me if I am wrong, but this team turned a blind eye to the fact that they were signing a steroid abuser. Oh, sure, they didn't have any proof that he was ("shocked, shocked that there is gambling going on here!"), just like San Francisco had no idea about Bonds, the Yanks were clueless about Clemens and the Cubs were in the dark about Sosa. Riiiiiiiiight.

For years now, teams have been turning a willing blind eye to the issue of roids and HGH because "everyone does it." As sick as it is, there is a certain rough logic to it because it seems quite likely that the vast majority of players over the past two decades were shoveling all forms of poison into their bodies in a Faustian bargain for better performance.

But don't try to have it both ways.

Go ahead and sign likely 'roiders if you must and justify it however you need to. But when they get caught and you're going to lose them for a period of time, try not to go all emo teenage girl with your "OMG so unfairz to not have Manny like 100% from his first day back, so PO'd!!!!!" take. Sack up, take it like a man, and dispatch Manny to the minors at the end of his suspension for whatever "getting back in game shape" reps he needs.

Manny should not have been swinging a bat in a competitive game until yesterday. The fact that he was delivers further shame to baseball and proves that they still haven't come to grips with rolling back the 'roid era in the game.

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