Poor Bud Selig. The commissioner of baseball is trying his best to clean up the game amidst criticism that he himself caused it to get this far. The guy can’t win. As he implemented stricter testing and longer suspensions he has watched some of the game’s biggest stars have their names smeared.
The list reads like an All-Star squad for the era. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Raphael Palmiero, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and the latest, Manny Ramirez.
The Dodger leftfielder had a 50-game suspension handed down on Thursday, perfect timing for the subject of performance-enhancing drugs to be drummed up again with A-Rod making his regular season debut the next day.
It’s not as if Rodriguez was going to fly under the radar, anyway, but the topic will reach new heights over the weekend. He can deflect all the questions that he wants and say that he is only going to talk about baseball, but the media frenzy that is sure to follow him around for the rest of the season and possibly longer is not going to let up.
Some may feel that with Ramirez being suspended some of the negative attention surely awaiting Rodriguez tonight at Camden Yards in Baltimore will be offset and directed towards the Washington Heights native. While that may be somewhat true, A-Rod should not get too cozy.
It is true that Rodriguez has not been penalized and his steroid admissions, no matter how inaccurate they may seem, should be viewed as an attempt to gain some sort of compassion and forgiveness. In Ramirez’s case, the only information we have to go by is what has been the short statement he released and what was reported by Major League Baseball.
“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue,” Ramirez said in the statement. “He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK 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.”
What Ramirez was actually suspended for was human chorionic gonatropin, more commonly known as hCG. Without further information or the ingredients of the prescription Ramirez’s doctor gave him, we can only speculate why he would be ingesting it. Known as one of the more potent concoctions used as Post Cycle therapy. hCG is popular amongst steroid users following a period, or cycle, to help maintain the effects of the substances and kick-start the natural production of testosterone after ingesting the synthetic version.
What triggered all of this was Ramirez having one of his Spring Training tests come back with a high testosterone level. All of that would seem to add up and point to Ramirez using performance-enhancing drugs to the point of including PCT, something a beginner does not normally have the knowledge of doing.
It will be hard for Ramirez to lean on the “amateur hour” excuse that Rodriguez used during his admission press conference while explaining how he and his then-unnamed cousin were taking steroids.