A passage from ESPN's Jayson Stark's column today may have been meant as a sarcastic shot at Manny Ramirez for his abrupt retirement from baseball after being tested for performance enhancing drugs. But I've detected a frustration among the elite baseball writers that the steroids story continues to intrude on the game, a general feeling that they just wish the issue would fade away -- rather than a desire to force baseball to make a genuine effort at cleaning up the game.
Here is what he wrote:
Not just one, but two unfortunate infringements of the PED law of the land -- both of them coming at a point in his career when his Hall of Fame ticket had already been punched, had he just been savvy enough to avoid apprehension.
But nope. Couldn't do that. Couldn't dodge the testing strike force. Couldn't even muster up one last flimsy alibi to try to make it look good.
The suggestion is that if Manny had been smart enough, we wouldn't have to deal with the messiness of tainted baseball. That, as long as the Alex Rodriguezes and Miguel Tejadas and Magglio Ordonezes could continue to mask their drug use with non-detectable PEDs, the game is in good shape. Cheat, if you must, but please spare us the work of having to open our eyes to the unseemly side of the game.
Sorry, Jayson, if part of your job is to keep a wary eye on ballplayers, who are finding more sophisticated means to avoid the testing "strike force" every day. Sorry, Jayson, if the Manny story doesn't comport with the narrative that the Steroids Era is over.