Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez... and now Manny Ramirez. Sadly the list of legends now blacklisted from the Hall of Fame and the consciousness of baseball enthusiasts continues to grow.
Ramirez has never had a great reputation, he has often been criticized for being a bad teammate, for not being professional, for being goofy and childish, and for being greedy and selfish, but until now his shortcomings were forgivable. After hitting a low-point with his standoff in Boston last season Ramirez experienced a revival with his brilliant run with the Dodgers last season. The praise for him as a misunderstood hitting savant grew and his stature in the game appeared to finally be hitting the level that his numbers justified.
That has all changed now. The early excuses are being made but there really is no defense at this point, this far into steroid testing, and with the knowledge of how other players have been treated in similar situations.
After Alex Rodriguez was leaked earlier this year as one of the 100 or so MLB players that were caught in the trial testing period, Jose Canseco said he was 90 percent sure that Ramirez would also be in that group. As slimy and disreputable as Canseco is, he has been proven prophetic again and again in the steroid scandal revelation process. It's hard to blame players for lying and not coming clean about these issues when MLB did the same thing and when careers are at stake. Perhaps it is a greater punishment to live in guilt than to be exposed and eventually forgiven as these players probably will be down the line.