Friday, May 8, 2009

Manny don't matter

Lately, I've been my slackest and least productive in the blog-effort department. Ten days since the last post, and I had been keeping to some regularity. If I were into making excuses, I could dream up a number of them. My greatest scholarly talent during those scholaring years was the manufacture of bizarre and outrageous untruths regarding the absence of any assigned product. In a spastic seizure of honesty, I'll try to spare you that.

It's fair to say, though, that sometimes the potential subject matter is so poisonously, or explosively, or disastrously volatile, that the prospect of dealing with the consequences later stunts any real effort. On the other hand, it could just be that I couldn't think of anything. Let your imagination soar freely with the possibilities!

Sometimes, it's actually much easier to write about things that don't really matter. Like Manny Ramirez. Manny doesn't matter. Perhaps it doesn't even matter anymore the effect his actions, and the actions of those like him, have fostered. The ManRam tested positive for a banned substance. It was first reported that the substance was not, nor had anything to do with, anything "performance enhancing." It turns out, that wasn't so. From what I've read, what ManRam got caught with in his system was for those who have been on steroids and want to mask or reduce the effects of weaning oneself off those steroids.

And his statement suggests that his taking of this stuff was accidental in nature. What I've also read is that the stuff is introduced into a person's body via injection. How "accidentally" do people you know get themselves injected? Not very often in my neck of the woods. And there are very few A) rocket scientists and B) world-class (supposedly) athletes in my neck of the woods. What I mean to say is, how stupid do you have to be to get accidentally injected, for one? And the other, if you're on the pinnacle of your sport, how much gray area is there regarding what substance you would consider being introduced into your bloodstream?

Let's say, for the sake of argument, instead of simply being a very good athlete when I was at the University of Cullowhee Left of Asheville...after I made the school's baseball team as a walk-on and later got cut because there was an abundance of players at my position...could I have accidentally or otherwise allowed myself to be injected with anything other than penicillin? The answer is "not no, but Hell no. That would be cheating." And don't even suggest that we didn't have the access then, because we knew a guy who added 40lbs of muscle-mass between freshman and sophmore years in high school football. Plus, I carpooled that same college year with the former Mr. NC bodybuilder who admitted to using 'roids.

So, the point is it's not a matter of circumstance that I did not take steroids and ManRam did (or Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, A-Rod, Bonds, Giambi, Palmeiro, ad infinitum). It is a matter of choice...It was for me, then, and was, and is, for all of those guys. And it would be a mistake to pretend my choice was made easier by a matter of circumstance. When I left school, I went to work in a furniture factory...loading trucks.

Professional baseball should be populated by those players who are naturally better than I was, not by those who will do anything (including getting shots of juice) to leapfrog those players with real talent.

The organization of Major League Baseball is as culpable as those individuals who cheated, if not more so. And this certainly includes the players' union, and the broadcasting media who pushed the selling points of bigger offensive output. Shame on all you scum-sucking sons of bitches. It is those players who were great without cheating who you deface with casual phrases like, "Manny's Hall-Of-Fame-like numbers" and those others, just below those greatest, real Hall Of Fame players who didn't get to be in the Hall because they weren't (naturally) quite as great as those that were, and those players, like me, who could have been considered "great" by their numbers if they (I) would've cheated, that are cheated by the cheaters.

This is why I can't be a fan of baseball, at the Major League level, anymore. The product is not for me. It is for someone else who has no sense of value, and I do not like those folks. I wish I could be a baseball fan, 'cause the Reds have an interesting gang on the field, as well as in the pitching ranks. But, I read something this morning that just churns up the bile for me: Hal McCoy quoted Reds' Manager Dusty Baker as saying,

“Fifty days is a long time and that’s really going to hurt the Dodgers and it is
going to hurt his reputation. I just hate it that another star goes down. We
sure can’t afford to have any more heroes go down.”

For me, if they're unwilling to distance themselves from that which is wrong any better than this, then they're just not worth my time or attention. Manny Ramirez used the juice to get ahead, to get the fame and fortune. If he's a star or fallen hero in Dusty Baker's book, or in the Commissioner's or the players' union, or Torre's and the Dodgers', then those folks are part of the problem, and not part of the solution. And so long as that is the case, the problem shall persist, and I shall withhold my love.

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