Philip George / Roundup
Barry Bonds? We knew it.
Roger Clemens? Not particularly surprising.
Palmeiro and A-Rod? Disappointing.
But Manny Ramirez? Earth-shattering.
Manny Ramirez — baseball’s favorite one-man circus. Manny Ramirez — the man who singlehandedly revitalized a struggling Dodgers franchise. Manny Ramirez — the greatest “pure hitter” of his era. Not just in the sense of his ability to conserve power on two strikes. Not just in his ability to use all fields. And not just in his ability to improve the hitting prowess of eight other players simply with his presence alone.
In a time when baseball needed a face, a man on a white horse to lead the game out of the dark abyss that is the steroid era, Manny Ramirez was that savior.
Now, right or wrong, fair or not, he will be seen as just another one of “those.” A user, a cheater, a traitor, and the most devastating hit baseball has ever taken.
The millions of children nationwide who once idolized him will be left stunned, tears in their eyes, asking, simply, “Why?”
Current and former teammates who were once able to say they played with and learned from arguably baseball’s most prolific hitter will wonder: “Was this real?”
But the same thing stirs in the back of everybody’s mind: “Who’s next?”
The worst is yet to come.
Manny’s positive test serves as a stark reminder that we cannot trust anyone. After Bonds, Alex Rodriguez was baseball’s savior. Steroids.
After A-Rod, it was Manny. Human chorionic gonadotropin (a female fertility drug that is sometimes used in conjunction with steroids).
And after Manny? Albert Pujols? But the steroid cloud has surrounded him as well. What happens when his name turns up on the list? Who will we turn to then? And what happens when they are found tainted as well?
Where have you gone, Willie Mays? Ted Williams? Babe Ruth? Baseball is in trouble and we need someone like you to save it.