Reactions are dropping like rain...
"If you love baseball, Manny MUST GO. Until they make a big public example of a destroyed career, steroids are here to stay. As long as you know you get a mulligan for a first offense, it is still worth the risk."-a rather shrill and self-righteous Brian Ross, acting as though this were the first he'd heard about it.
"Will Ramirez, now busted, act more like his baseball age? Or will he continue to be a hitting savant bucking the trend of baseball skewing younger? We just don't know, in part because even with a failed test, we don't know the extent of Ramirez's PED use. On Friday night, and for the foreseeable future, most people didn't care, either."-Tom Verducci
"Because Ramirez* is more cuddly than Barry Bonds*, or more goofy than Roger Clemens*, or less intimidating than Mark McGwire*, it's as if he's being graded on the curve. And that is disgraceful"-Scott Miller, who is also apparently on the verge of a breakdown
"Manny Ramirez is yesterday's boos. He's a sure sign of society's steroid fatigue and baggy-pants proof of Karl Marx's postulate that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce."-Tim Sullivan
If Manny's return to cheers and well-wishes drives you stark staring insane, then all I have to say is...find another hobby, dudes. I've been watching this saga unfold for nearly a dozen years now, and the fact of the matter is, the average fan doesn't care. No more than they ever cared about Bill and Monica despite the shrill moralizing and name-calling from others who should've known better. As long as they are being taken care of and their team is winning, they don't care. Sure, it's fun to be able to look at a hated rival and say their team is "tainted" when a big name is caught using, all the while knowing your team is just as bad and maybe worse. And, yeah, it's really fun to watch the house of cards come crashing down around some of the biggest pricks on the planet, guys digging their own graves with their intransigence who just don't get that all would have been forgiven had they just said, ala Andy Pettitte, "ooops, whoopsie, my bad," and moved on. Or cultivated an image of sainthood like Lance Armstrong. It's the arrogance and the insults to our intelligence after you've been caught that pisses us off, not the fact that you've been using.
You know why that is? Because the average fan has a job he is insecure about, two kids that drive him crazy, a boss he hates, a wife who nags and probably twenty years to retirement. He knows the deck is way stacked against him and that many others are playing by unfair rules in games which affect him far more directly than does some juicer's, like the guy who sold him the ARM or drained his pension account. Baseball is an escape; it's secondary. Yes, he'd prefer a clean game, but it's just not that important in the grand scheme of things. He respects Andy Pettitte and even enjoys watching that goofy Manny Ramirez. He thinks, hey, Manny's right-he didn't rape or murder anybody, and for $25 mil, our average fan might just shoot up, too.
I found this telling statement from a brutally honest blogger that absolutely nails that average fan"s feeling...
All this talk about the sanctity of the game, of the history of the baseball, of the stats - total garbage to me. I care about watching the game, and seeing amazing things being done that I've never seen done before. I care about the most incredible season I'll probably ever see, a .370 with 46 HR season in which a man was walked 198 times. Most on purpose. This after a 73 home run season. Two years after that, a 232 BBs season, with a .362 BA and 45 HRs in 373 official ABs. 4 straight MVPs, and only teammate Jeff Kent's MVP in 2000 preventing Bonds from 5 straight.
He'll never win another award in all likelihood, but his career will go down as the greatest career we've seen since Babe Ruth. And they might try to add an asterisk to it like they did to Roger Maris, but someday that asterick and those haters will be gone, just like the Maris haters all disappeared, and all that will be left is the amazing numbers. That's the beauty of the baseball - it's numbers.
And I'm glad I'll be able to say that I saw it all, instead of say how great he would have been if he didn't get injured.
So, folks, baseball police and purists-if you're waiting for us to turn our backs and force the game into submission through our indignation and wounded sense of fairness, well, it appears you've got a long wait coming. It may not be fair, it may not be right...but it is what it is. In the overall scheme of life, fans just dig the long ball.