21-8. 13 in a row at home to begin the season. The Dodgers seemed to be having another impressive start. However, what has become most impressive is the lack of awareness or self-control (whichever may be the truth) exhibited by the Dodgers’ premier player.

“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me.”

Manny Ramirez has tested positive for a banned substance. I’d rather sit here and write about his 533 home runs, or his high career batting average. Instead, it’s this.

Although sorrowful, Manny now knows what overlooking or not being aware of MLB regulations will cost him: 50 games and one-third of the season’s salary. That means Manny just gave up $7.7 million dollars. He won’t be eligible to return until July 3 in San Diego. And most importantly, I can no longer partake in the Mannywood promotion the Dodgers organization recently introduced. Okay, that’s not the most important thing, but I wanted to partake in the promotion.

The MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program came to the decision late Wednesday evening.  According to initial reports, Manny had visited a Florida doctor who supplied Manny with some “cure-all” drugs. The supposed aim of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, the drug in question) is to prevent aging. Mr. Ramirez, you are not that old, sir.

Besides, should you really be taking beauty tips from Jose Canseco?

Last year, immigration agents detained Jose Canseco when Canseco tried to smuggle the drug into San Diego from Mexico. hCG is actually a hormone which is produced naturally by women during pregnancy.  It is considered a steroid precursor and is often used by steroid users to ensure proper testosterone production when a user is coming off a steroid cycle. Medical experts speculate that Manny consumed the drug to cloak steroid use. The drug was added to the MLB’s banned substance list last year.

In hindsight, Manny claims that the, “mistake is now (his) responsibility.” Unfortunately, Manny should have been responsible earlier. He could have avoided the use, or spoken with the league for therapeutic use exemption. Nobody bought Manny’s story and his mistake is now affecting others. Fans are disappointed and saddened. Media is alarmed and ready to pounce. Dodgers are… who knows, really?

The organization has already made some damage control efforts. The website was altered this morning to appeal to the circumstances. The Mannywood offer of which I am so fond is no longer available. Manny headlines have been removed. But the team is now a different team and must therefore come up with a different game plan.

Manager Joe Torre claims this will not discount the belief Torre has in each of his players. He remains loyal to Manny and understands that a team’s success is based on trust.

“I want to believe in every player… I’d rather that I’m disappointed every once in a while than never have that trust and belief,” he announced in a press conference Thursday evening.

Manny will be able to be around his teammates. He is even permitted to workout. He just needs to be out of uniform when the gates open to the general public. This might bring the team a little morale in all of this.

Still, emotions aside, Torre’s main concern is how the team will operate. Clearly the attention could affect the team mentally. But, Torre will have to make alterations in offense and the Dodgers will be playing with a different style. He will also look to other Dodgers to step up and fill the void.

For instance, Juan Pierre, Manny’s back-up is getting ready to go back to work. Too bad his hair isn’t as noteworthy. Wait, that’s not right. Too bad his bat is not as commanding.

Good luck, Dodgers.


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