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Manny tests positive...Anyone surprised?

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I remember the shock I felt when Jason Giambi's grand jury testimony in the BALCO case started to leak out. I had always suspected that he, along with Barry Bonds and some others, had done some sort of performance- enhancing drugs, but actually hearing them admit to it for the first time was incredible.

I remember just staring at the television wondering what this was going to do to the game. I wanted to find every single bit of news on it and hear every expert chime in. I couldn't get enough.

Since then, though, we have had congressional hearings, Rafael Palmeiro, the Mitchell Report, Miguel Tejada, a Barry Bonds indictment, the whole Roger Clemens fiasco, and most recently the Alex Rodriguez episode.

My shock level has grown a little less with every scandal. Basically, I have become numb to it all.

So when I saw the breaking news this morning that Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez was going to be suspended 50 games for testing positive for some sort of PED, I barely even gave it a second thought.

I had already come to terms with the fact that everyone was doing it. No name is going to surprise me anymore. Manny, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, whoever.

What I cannot believe, though, is that anyone, especially someone of Ramirez's stature, could test positive today. This is not 1998. Steroid testing has been around for almost five years now.

It is amazing to me that Ramirez could put himself into this position. I have always stated that Bonds should get into the Hall of Fame because if it is ever proven as fact that he did take some sort of steroids, it was done before there was testing. And whether we like it or not, we have learned that that was the culture at that time.

You can't say that in this case. Ramirez knew full well that he could be tested at any time, and so his legacy will forever be tarnished. More so than Bonds and even more so than Rodriguez, for the moment at least.

I have read Manny's excuse...I mean statement. It is the same spin that everyone else has. He took something from a doctor and did not know it was illegal. I am sorry but that excuse has been used, and it is as played out as it was the first time someone trotted it out. Ignorance is not the reason Manny tested positive, arrogance is.

MLB and the Players' Association have a toll-free hotline available so that players can call to have these types of questions answered. There is a DVD presentation in spring training that clearly explains that. If you really cared, you would pick up the phone.

I know I have said this before, but MLB has become Shawshank Prison - not a guilty guy in there. How many times are we going to go to the "I didn't know it was banned" well?

Will there ever be a player who just comes out and says, "Yeah, you got me. I knew it was wrong, but I was trying to get an edge and got caught."

Now let's look at this from a baseball standpoint, as the Dodgers currently hold the best record in baseball and are in the midst of the longest home winning streak to ever start a season.

The Dodgers should be able to tread water in the West for the next 50 games without Ramirez, as the lineup is pretty solid even without him. Anytime you replace a Manny Ramirez with a Juan Pierre, though, there is going to be a drop-off. If anything, it will make things interesting out there because the Dodgers were on pace to clinch that division in about the middle of June.

Speaking of the Dodgers, I wonder what will become of "Mannywood," the field level seats, fair of the foul pole in left field that were dedicated to their slugger just this past weekend?

Sadly, if history has taught us anything, it is that Ramirez won't be the last big name busted.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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