Manny and the absence of shock

New item: Manny Ramirez tests positive for a banned substance and receives a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball.

Reaction: a curious shrug.


It is hard to get worked up about this stuff anymore. You get numb to it. Ramirez' disappearance from the lineup will affect the Dodgers, clearly, but it does not have the ability to ignite anything approaching outrage. Ramirez has adopted the familiar defense, that he didn't know what it was that he was putting in his body. It is the same defense employed (and swatted down by MLB) by the Phillies' J.C. Romero. I believe Romero. I believe Ramirez, too. It doesn't matter, though. You cannot have a drug policy that is meaningful if a valid excuse for violating it is, "I didn't know." That's just the way it is.

There is prurient interest here, for sure. Ramirez said he was taking something on the advice of a doctor to treat some unstated personal medical condition. Well, you're damn right that everybody is dying to know what the medical condition is and what the substance was that he ingested. Again, though, that's just human nature -- to want to know other peoples' private business. And we will know pretty soon because that's the way the world works anymore. Privacy ain't possible, not anymore.

So we will be titillated, and we will gossip about this a little bit, and high horses will be mounted, and stern lectures will be delivered, and then we will all  go about the business of really not caring what any professional athlete ingests as long as they don't get caught.

Nobody, though, is shocked. We're way past that.