So I’m back home in San Diego this weekend, celebrating the Fourth of July holiday with my family. It was great, awesome time, glad I did it. It was also the weekend of Manny Ramirez’s return from a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. Manny’s restoration to the Dodgers roster just happened to come on the road, against my San Diego Padres.
This has been an awful year for the Friars, but we had a chance to do something right, we had the chance to greet Manny with the chorus of boos he so richly deserved. Here’s the thing about living in San Diego though: It’s nice. So fans of other teams leave their Godforsaken hometowns, move to America’s Finest City and pack PetCo Park when their favorite teams come to town.
With the Padres enduring a terrible run this year, there were plenty of good seats available on Friday night. And what do you know, they ended up being packed with L.A. fans. See Dodgers fans are a funny bunch, they won’t go to their own park consistently, but they’ll mercilessly annoy the shit out of us in San Diego. Since we have a better park and a nicer town. Apparently they enjoy coming down south and trying to make things as shitty here as they are up in their home town.
So what happened when Manny strolled to the plate for his first at bat since he tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended by Major League Baseball? Virtually to a man, Dodgers fans gave him a standing ovation and attempted to down out the boos raining down from the hometown fans. They called out for their hero loudly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
They had the gall to cheer a guy who has cheated the game that’s given so much to him. They gave a standing ovation to a person who willfully broke the rules of his sport and then tried to cover up for himself instead of admitting the truth and apologizing. That makes him no better than Barry Bonds.
Actually, to be fair, Bonds never tested positive for steroids.
I hate Barry Bonds, always have. Not just because he’s a jerk, but because of what he did to the game of baseball. Trust me when I say that Dodgers fans were squarely in my camp on that one. They hated Bonds for being a cheater and showered him with boos whenever his San Francisco Giants played in Los Angeles.
They were also the first ones to ridicule Giants fans for sticking by Bonds and trying to defend him. What does that make the large majority of Dodgers fans? Hypocrites. Big time, gigantic hypocrites.
Suddenly this behavior is fine because their guy was doing it. Not a big deal, he was just trying to get some testosterone pumping through his testicles again, since, ya know, they stopped producing it naturally. What? Like we all haven’t been there before?
I’ve heard a lot of lame excuses for steroid use. Among the most ridiculous are:
1. Steroids weren’t illegal in baseball until 2003. FALSE.
-Performance enhancing drugs were implicitly banned in baseball in 1971 when commissioner Bowie Kuhn introduced the first baseball drug policy. They were then explicitly banned in 1991 by then-commissioner Fay Vincent. The only reason baseball didn’t have steroid testing for so long is because the players’ union argued that testing was an invasion of privacy. That doesn’t mean using performance enhancing drugs was legal at any time.
2. If everyone was doing them, it’s not a big of a deal. FALSE.
-Illegal is illegal, period. People often forget that the drugs these guys were/are using are actually banned, not just in baseball, but within the United States as well, thanks to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Sometimes there are exceptions major medical problems, but those are very rare.
3. This one is the worst, and it’s one Dodgers fans I’ve talked to have spouted most often in regards to Manny: Well it’s not like he tested positive for a steroid, just a random drug that baseball has banned. FALSE.
-Only someone with an IQ below 65 (i.e. most Dodgers fans) truly believes that Manny wasn’t taking steroids. The drug he tested positive for helps to restart testosterone production that is most often caused by massive steroid abuse.
He’s a cheater, and those people welcomed him back with open arms and are now cheering for him. He cheated all of us, his colleagues and our national pastime and they are cheering for him.
Enjoy the rest of the season Dodgers fans, I hope it feels as dirty to you as it will to all of us.