Manny is uncharacteristically talking to the media.
He's even eating a slice of proverbial humble pie. Choking on it, is more like it, because Manny messed up, big time. Like the thief who's not the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly sorry he got caught, Manny has successfully destroyed his status as "the greatest right-handed hitter in baseball".
He didn't burn that bridge, he blew the sucker up.
Manny being Manny just ain't what it used to be and it will never be again. It can't. He will be forever marked with the Scarlett Letter of major league baseball; the asterisk. Greater men have been here before him and now he must take his place in line behind them. Clemens, Bonds and McGwire have all been warming up a spot in the un-esteemed Cheaters Club, and Manny just passed his initiation.
And it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
There can be no doubt that Manny has been cheating. None. He got caught using HCG, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a female fertility drug that is commonly used by "dopers" to re-start the body's testosterone production and mask anabolic steroid use and MLB suspended him for 50 games. Now, why would a doctor be prescribing Manny a fertility drug??
We know exactly why. And so does he.
The usually smug Ramirez issued an official statement yesterday, apologizing to the LA Dodgers owners, coach and fans. saying, "I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I'm sorry about the whole situation." He also said a lot more.
"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," Ramirez said in his statement.
We are sure what you meant to say, Manny, is that you figured out how to beat the system for all those years and all those seasons, including the ones you spent in Boston. Sports journalist and life-long Red Sox fan, Bill Simmons sums it up best in his Page 2 column on ESPN.com. In his May 7th, 2009 piece titled, "Confronting my Worst Nightmare", Simmons talks to his 6 1/2 year-old son about the prospect of the "taint" which now looms over the 2004 Boston Red Sox Championship team.
"But Manny was your favorite hitter on that team. And he tested positive later. Is he still your favorite hitter?"
"Yes and no," I say. "No, because he cheated. Yes, because whether he was cheating or not, I can't forget watching him hit baseballs on a daily basis. I just can't. You should have seen him. Perfect swing, perfect balance, perfect everything. He was a hitting savant. That's the funny thing -- he didn't NEED to cheat. The guy was put on the earth to hit."
Eventually the mighty fall hard and Manny has been nothing but self-serving and arrogant throughout his entire career. He had a swagger that went unmatched, BECAUSE he was Manny, and he thought he was above everything and everyone; including the game itself.
No more than two months ago, Manny was asked in a TV interview by a female reporter if "too much was being made of the steroid story in the major leagues.
"I don't think about that," Ramirez said. "I just play the game, go home and move on."
Manny needs to think about the fact that Manny can no longer just be Manny. He will be back in July, no doubt, and will continue to produce for the Dodgers. The question is what will happen to his swing now? Every move he makes will be scrutinized, criticized and analyzed. His career and his integrity gone, like that deep, driving shot to left field over the monster.
All because Manny decided to get high with a little help from his friends.