As we all know Manny Ramirez has tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) and will serve a 50 game suspension under the drug policy instituted by Major League Baseball. To be clear Manny did not use a steroid. The drug found in his system Human Chorionic Gonadatropin (HCG). Wikipedia identifies the intended use for the drug as:
a glycoprotein hormone produced in pregnancy that is made by the developing embryo soon after conception and later by the syncytiotrophoblast (part of the placenta). Its role is to prevent the disintegration of the corpus luteum of the ovary and thereby maintain progesterone production that is critical for a pregnancy in humans.
Now I’m not one to look into a players personal life but I don’t think Manny was using the drug for it’s intended use. From the research I have done HCG is used primarily by steroid users when they come off of a cycle to get the production of testosterone started in their bodies again.
Manny is now the 2nd most high profile player to test positive for PED’s. The first being New York Yankees 3rd Basemen Alex Rodriguez. I’ll admit here and now that I wanted very much for the Mets to sign Manny Ramirez in the off-season. I’ve been saying through this short season so far that the Mets should have signed Manny Ramirez to a contract. It looks like the Mets did dodge a bullet here. With everything else that is going on with this team, this was the last thing the Mets needed to happen to them. Unfortunately while the Mets have dodged a bullet the Dodgers and more importantly Major League Baseball have not.
Some of the sports best players in recent years have tested or are highly suspected in using steroids or some other form of PED’s. Manny Ramirez up until today I believe was a lock for the Hall-Of-Fame. Players such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa at one time were also locks for Cooperstown but most likely won’t get voted into the hall now. While these athletes are at fault for using roids and PED’s the blame also has to fall on Major League Baseball.
For years the home-run totals were getting higher, guys were getting bigger in their final years of playing than they were in their prime, pitchers were throwing harder than ever but Bed Selig ignored the problem until Congress got involved. The Mitchell Report was conducted and a new drug policy was implemented to the approval of the Players Union.
The testing that major league baseball does is not enough. They do not test for human growth hormone (HGH). There is a blood test that could test for the use of HGH but MLB doesn’t use it. MLB also does not test for masking agents that hide the use of steroids and PED’s. Once again it’s a simple test but it’s not implemented. The 50 game suspension in my opinion is not enough. Manny will lose approximately 7.7 million dollars due to his suspension. I believe that if players are still trying to get away with steroid use in this day and age when they are being tested then the penalty needs to be higher. The penalty should be a suspension for one season. I know the Players Union will never approve of this but this is the only way to ensure that these players will stop using. You take away their salary for a year that will make them think twice before injecting PED’s into their bodies. If it’s a players walk year they’ll be afraid of getting caught using PED’s.
Fans, writers, broadcasters, bloggers and everyone else who cares about the game will be talking about this for days on end. In the end though the fact that Manny Ramirez, one of the best right handed hitters in the game tested positive for a PED will change nothing. Until the drug policy is tougher these guys will continue to use PED’s. They will use it to get higher numbers that will ensure more money. They will use PED’s to heal from injuries and get their spots back. They will use PED’s to cheat the game and the fans who watch and love this game. They will break the records of guys who got those records using their ability, not PED’s. If MLB wants new records set by younger athletes to mean something they must make the changes to the drug policy. If MLB wants fans to continue to show up to games and to watch their TV network something needs to change and that change must happen soon.