After hearing the devastating news that Manny Ramirez tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) this morning, I once again found myself disappointed in the lengths that pro athletes will go to continue their previous successes. What makes me sad is that I LOVED Manny. I loved watching him play, I loved his enthusiasm for the game (and sometimes, his lack thereof), and the joy he brought to the field. Now, being confronted by this, I have to reconsider my feelings around sports. How many other athletes are using steroids? Who can we trust anymore?
When Rafael Palmeiro and Roger Clemens vehemently denied their steroid use and then were caught later in life, I figured it was a coincidence. Barry Bonds was proof of the fraud present in the era. And Alex Rodriguez's confession wasn't even really a confession. Manny makes it sold for me- the last 10 years of Major League Baseball are completely contaminated by cheating- and it did it to itself. Without a rigorous testing process and stiffer bans- like a year suspension without pay for the first positive test or a ban for life- then athletes will always find away around those drug tests.
I'm fairly certain that without change, there can't be any change! Unless there's a move either way- either allow steroids totally or institute tougher penalties- then baseball will become a joke. The history of baseball is really the most important part, and when records are broken by athletes who use PEDs, baseball loses fans and purists. It's up to them to save their game.
What's the MOST interesting thing about this are the athletes who get caught. On occasion, you'll see a minor leaguer trying to get a little better with the use of steroids. With players like Bonds, Clemens and Ramirez, this seems more like a last grasp for greatness. Taking a huge gamble on suspensions, ruining their legacy, and turning fans against them, they STILL chose the risk in hopes of achieving their previous greatness. It's sad that we've allowed this to happen- the fans, the media and Major League Baseball. Now our only hope for something different is true CHANGE.
Using PEDs is no different than using other drugs- ingesting a substance with the hope of achieving a different state of mind and body. So when will we start to see athletes entering rehab and treatment for their steroid addictions? What I can only hope is that the help is available- and we're their to receive it without judgement. When athletes start to slip and are considering PEDs, we need sports teams to intervene- or they risk ruining the sport for everyone. Constant vigilance is the only solution. Here's hoping it gets better and the black eye on Major League Baseball starts to heal.
Make sure to check out Bill Simmons' article on this.
Buster Olney wrote a great piece as well.
And one more from Bill Plaschke.
Here's video on teen steroid abuse:
And here's something funny.
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