off for Manny Ramirez, who has tested positive for HCG, AKA human chorionic gonadotropin. The drug is often used by people using human growth hormone (HGH) or testosterone, because when the body recognizes that it has excess testosterone, it shuts down its own natural production of the hormone.
HGH and testosterone, of course, often are used by athletes looking to artifically improve their performance because they enhance strength and muscle growth.
Like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, this is another case of a probable Hall of Famer who now might not get in. But I don't suppose many of these players think that far ahead. For them, it's often about the next huge contract, which is ironic because why would someone who is already rich jeapordize their health and legacy for just more money? Would Bonds have had to take a job bagging grocieries if he had retired in 1997? Of course, given the way that baseball, the media and fans treated Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, there was little reason for Bonds to think he would be tarnishing his image by using. The health effects he presumably knew about and disregarded.
Bonds has never tested positive (which, given the way the cheaters are always ahead of the testers and the weak-ass program baseball had previously, means nothing) and never admitted "knowingly" using, not even to the BALCO grand jury. Yet he has become the poster boy for baseball's steroid era (I'm not saying that's undeserved), and many Hall of Fame voters will refuse to vote to induct him. How then could these voters elect Clemens, McGwire, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez and now Manny?
What Manny's suspension tells us, along with the fact that MLB is finally, reluctantly serious about getting performance-enhancing drugs out of the game, is that the so-called "steroid era" is not over. What might help would be to get someone in the commissioner's office who is not an employee of the owners and free to act in the best interest of the game instead of his employers.