Friday, May 8, 2009

Just Manny Being Manny... Not This Time

I have always heard and always thought that Manny was too dumb to keep up with a steroid cycle. Apparently, he is also too dumb to NOT take women's fertility drugs that are on the banned substances list. The drug Manny took, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), is used to generate normal testosterone for steroid users once they stop. Before we label Manny a steroid user it must be noted that people can be prescribed this for medical reasons. Hitting home runs and misplaying fly balls in right field probably aren't considered medical reasons to take HCG. So taking HCG doesn't necessarily mean that Manny took steroids, even though he probably did. The hilarious thing about Manny is that he didn't get caught using steroids or actually even test positive for anything. Rather he had heightened testosterone so officials began to snoop and found that he had taken HCG.

To many, this suspension is a smoking gun to cheating and steroid use over the course of Manny's career. Everyone, myself included, has become overly skeptical and cynical about steroids, relating any minor statistical abnormality to steroid use. Any player that had a career year or a statistical anomaly had to have been on steroids if they didn't repeat the success. Now that there is a smoking gun, naturally the steroid implication and connection has to be made for Manny too. While most will argue that this cements Manny's legacy as a cheater and everything he has previously done is void, I think this only heightens the legend of Manny being Manny.* Who else in the league cuts off his center fielder... while playing right field, makes routine plays seem anything but, doesn't hustle out ground balls, and presumably takes steroids, gets away with it but later gets exposed as a cheater for taking woman's fertility pills... This is just another case of Manny being Manny.

When I woke up yesterday and saw the story, my first thought wasn't “wow, Manny is getting suspended that ruins his legacy and career,” but rather, “I wonder who gave Manny some stupid GNC pill or how did Manny screw this one up without actually taking steroids.” It's not that I believe Manny's story, it's just that he is probably too stupid to lie about it or to even care enough to lie about it. I haven't the slightest idea what motivates Manny, nobody does. This is a guy that stuffs million dollar paychecks in his locker. I don't even think I remotely understand him. But I do know that he is not motivated like other players. He is a pro hitter, he hits baseballs because that's what he was born to do. So I was shocked to see that he cheated. I just never thought he was smart enough to or cared enough to do it. But hey, maybe that was just the era or steroids and maybe we shouldn't be asking “who did it,” but rather “who didn't.”

*When athletes talk and they say someone is being themselves, for example “that is just Arod being Arod”, it means that the person is an A-hole.

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