After Thursday’s revelations Manny Ramirez is charged with taking the banned substance Human chorionic gonadotrop (HCG) —- carefully described by Tim Marchman as “some kind of lady hormone that juiceheads use when they’re coming off a cycle”, the Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti angrily demands the left-fielder “owes us all an explanation, and he owes us a heck of a lot more than a note effectively signed by Juan Epstein’s mother.”
Entering the 2007 season, Ramirez was a .314 career hitter with a .600 career slugging percentage. In 2007, he batted .296 and slugged a mere .493. Those numbers continued along the same path of decline through much of last season; at the time the Red Sox sent him to the Dodgers, Ramirez was batting .299 with a slugging percentage of .529.
What has happened since, of course, has been a resurgence of Ruthian proportion. In one-third of a season with the Dodgers, Ramirez slugged .743 and hit nearly as many home runs (17) as he did in his last four months with the Red Sox (20). His slugging percentage since joining the Dodgers today stands at a robust .710, precisely .202 greater than the .508 he posted for the Red Sox from Opening Day 2007 up to last year™s trading deadline.
Along the way, Manny just happened top be playing for a new contract.
Is it so outrageous to think he simply cycled up when he most needed it?
Now Ramirez is banned from baseball for the next 50 games, a particularly amusing development given the damage he might do to his team. The Dodgers currently possess the best record in baseball. Ramirez is more important than any hitter in their lineup. Ramirez™s statement effectively proclaimed his innocence as it pertained to the knowing, deliberate and malicious use of performance-enhancers, and yet the same statement was sufficiently vague to only fuel the questions about Ramirez and the role of performance enhancers on his career, in the short term or the long.
While I’d never call Massarotti a shill for the Olde Towne Team, there’s one glaring point he conveniently fails to make — perhaps he thought it too obvious. If Ramirez’ contract drive is tainted, how long before a report surfaces that challenges the integrity of Boston’s 2004 and 2007 titles? Just a short time ago, Alex Rodriguez insisted he’d not tried a PED before or after an immature stab at living up to his Texas Rangers contract. Where’s Manny’s Peter Gammons?
Speaking of integrity, Fenway Park must be the most ethical workplace in all of baseball. How else you can explain that with the exception of Manny Being Manny Alexander, no prominent member of the Red Sox has been charged with shaming the organization. Not until they’ve left town, anyway.