Welcome to St. Louis, Manny
I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the reception of one Manfred Ramirez. (I wish his name really were Manfred. That would be awesome.) Manny was, of course, quite roundly booed every time up in last night's game between the Cardinals and Dodgers, and really, I don't think anyone expected anything less.
Personally, I didn't have a problem with booing Manny, but then again, I don't have a problem with booing any opposing player. (Or players on your own team, really, but that's a separate issue entirely.) Let's face it: Manny Ramirez is not a particularly popular player in quite a few places, and with good reason. He quit on his team in Boston, got into fight with an old man, takes bathroom breaks in historic landmarks, has just godawful hair, and he's probably going to beat your team with a clutch hit at least once before any given series is over. Plenty of reasons not to like Manny.
But, of course, we all know that isn't the reason Manny was being booed. Manny was being booed because he is a Steroid User. Me, I hate that steroids have become such a huge part of the game. When people try to compare 'roids to what Pete Rose did, I always argue steroids are just as bad as gambling. In neither case can you trust the results of the contest on the field, and that's really the issue with the gambling, isn't it? That you have to wonder if what you just saw was legitimate? Well, I feel the same way about PED's. Was the contest I just witnessed legitimate, or was it a case of unequal footing, because some players are cheating and others aren't?
Nonetheless, I did find it a bit curious to hear how vehemently Manny was booed, yet no one really ever mentions Ryan Franklin tested positive and was suspended for steroids. Plenty of people in this town hate Mark McGwire, but I would hazard to say most would love to have him more visible as a face of the Cardinal franchise. I know I would; the guy obviously knows his way around a batting cage, bull shark testosterone injections or no, and I think he would be leaps and bounds better as a hitting coach than Hal McRae. Does it hurt me to know the magic summer of '98 wasn't what I thought it was? Yeah, it does. But it was still amazing, and I can't judge one man so harshly for the sins of an era.
Or what about the Golden Boy himself, the man they call Swingin' Dick? Remember how he was found to have illegally purchased human growth hormone? But hey, we still love that guy! Somehow, Rick Ankiel can do no wrong in this town, but we're perfectly willing to boo the shit out of some other team's pharmaceutical rep.