One of two things has happened with Manny Ramirez: Either he took steroids, or he is telling the truth and a doctor gave him a medication for a personal issue, one that contained a non-steroid banned substance.
So, either Manny is lying or he is just careless bordering on stupid.
Either way, he has hurt the Dodgers. Not fatally, but hurt them.
Dodger fans are not stupid — they knew that eventually Manny was going to be Manny. He was going to piss off Torre (not that easy to do) or a teammate (harder to do with Jeff Kent out of the locker room) or some out outrageous and unwise thing that was going to raise a media firestorm and likely hurt the team.
But nobody really was expecting this. Particularly since he was supposed to be on his best behavior this year so he could opt out of his contract.
Now the Dodger lineup has a big hole in it — Manny was hitting a team best .348, has a crazy on base percentage of .492 because everybody walks him, is tied for the team lead in home runs and is third in RBIs with 20. Sure, Andre Either, Matt Kemp, James Loney and the other core of young players have matured, but they were getting pitches to see in part because of Manny.
Now, they won’t have him until July 3.
The Dodgers are in a good place to weather the storm on the field — they have built up a comfortable lead and even if they return to being a .500 team nobody in the West is going to close much ground. Also, manager Joe Torre has been through the storms of the New York Yankees, he knows how to weather these things.
The Dodgers may well rally around Manny, closing ranks around their superstar. Dodger fans will welcome him back with open arms.
But what he did — taking a medication or supplement without having it completely and exhaustively checked out — is not just Manny being Manny, It’s Manny being stupid.