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Manny Ramirez: Has the Former Star Reformed Since His Positive Drug Test?

Since Manny Ramirez got called up to the Cleveland Indians in 1993, we have seen him become one of the greatest batters in MLB history.

Ramirez’s career has generated over 500 career home runs, two World Series titles and a dynamic personality that has brought an extra layer of color to baseball.

Yet all of these highlights have been overshadowed with the news that Ramirez tested positive for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a women’s fertility drug that is used by steroid users to restart their body’s natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle. It was also reported that Ramirez also had artificial testosterone in his body at the time of the drug test.

Manny was suspended 50 games after the drug test, and has not been the same player since then. Ramirez found himself on the disabled list three times in 2010, and hit only nine homers with the Dodgers and White Sox.

Last winter, Ramirez signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, but only played five games before getting hit with another positive drug test. Facing a 100-game suspension, Ramirez decided to retire.

This offseason, Manny decided that they wanted to come out of retirement and negotiated a deal that would see the outfielder get reinstated and serve a 50-game suspension, assuming that an MLB team would pick him up.

Ramirez got his chance from the Oakland Athletics in the form of a $500,000 contract if he makes the club.

Yesterday, Ramirez reported to spring training in Arizona, appearing to be a changed person.

Manny looked promising in batting practice and presented a much more mature presence than he ever showed us before.

Throughout his brief time with the media, Ramirez continued to reference his new-found connection to God. One of the most telling quotes Ramirez said was, “Sometimes when you don’t got God in your heart, you do stupid things without thinking about it…If you don’t have God in your heart, it doesn’t mean anything.”

Throughout the press conference, Manny was with his wife and child, who continued to give the slugger encouragement.

Ramirez also sounded humble to the press by claiming only God knows if he could still play, along with saying that he was nervous en route to the ballpark.

Obviously Ramirez has a long way to go before he can even play in the majors again. Manny’s suspension lasts until at least May 30th (which is Manny’s 40th birthday), and we have to see what Ramirez’s performance is like in spring training.

But Ramirez’s reformed faith can be a major benefit in helping him once again become an effective MLB player.

Ramirez is a special ballplayer and one of the greatest hitters we have ever watched. This season will be hard for Manny, considering he hasn’t faced MLB pitching in a competitive game in over a year, and his offensive production was already slowing down before his second drug suspension.

Right now, we don’t know how Manny will do in spring training or in the big leagues (assuming that he can earn a call-up once his suspension ends).

If Manny is the reformed individual he has expressed that he has become, Oakland will be a stronger baseball club.

But if Manny gets in trouble again and moves away from the religious message that he has expressed so far this spring, it can be a sad end to a great career.

Manny Ramirez doesn’t need to be the superstar he was with the Cleveland Indians or with the Boston Red Sox. Instead, he now needs to be a role model for an A’s team that is in the middle of a rebuild.

That is an important feature for veterans to express, and it would be fantastic if Manny can convey a strong message that would help these players develop into better ballplayers.


Follow me on Twitter @Andrew_Jordan

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Derek Jeter’s Acting Has Been Blown Way Out of Proportion

Last night, Derek Jeter created one of the most controversial moments of this entire baseball season by pretending to get hit by a pitch from Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chad Qualls and was awarded first base.

With a national TV audience and with this game being in the middle of a heated pennant race, Rays manager Joe Maddon found himself ejected before Yankee center fielder Curtis Granderson hit a two-run home run to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

However, the Rays did not allow this incident to deter them, as Rays Designated Hitter Dan Johnson hit a two-run homer of his own against Yankee pitcher Phil Hughes to give the Rays a 4-3 lead and eventually a win by the same score.

This win gave the Rays first place in the American League East by half a game over the Yankees.

But following the game, there has been some major criticism toward Jeter over faking getting hit on his hand by the pitch.

But there is too big of an outrage over this little incident.

First off, I understand Jeter is a role model for American children for what he has done in his career and he is one of the greatest baseball players of all-time.

But, one must remember that the Yankees are in the middle of a huge pennant race, as they were facing their biggest competitor and down by one in the top of the seventh inning.

And when Jeter got hit, he made sure that he milked his “injury” enough to get onto first base and help his team.

Considering how great of a teammate he is, Jeter wasn’t going to tell umpire Lance Barksdale that he wasn’t hit; he was going to take his base.

Add that in with the fact that the Yankees did not win the game from this incident, one must really wonder why we are making such a big deal out of it.

At least Jeter did not do as bad as some other athletes from the last couple of years in terms of cheating.

At least he wasn’t like Thierry Henry, who “handed” France a spot in the World Cup after his handball against Ireland in a World Cup qualification playoff last year, causing a worldwide outrage that called for Henry to be suspended for part of the World Cup.

Or, Jeter was not like Gaylord Perry, who doctored his way into the Hall of Fame with illegal pitches throughout his career.

And, Jeter was not like the Pakistani Bowlers who face a potential death penalty after accepting bribes to make inaccurate pitches during cricket games.

Instead, Derek Jeter has suffered enough with the Yankees losing this game, and at the end of the day, we should not make a big deal out of nothing.

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Remembering September 11, 2001 and Its Impact on American Sports

Nine years ago, the entire world changed as 19 terrorists boarded four commercial jets and committed one of the works acts of violence in the world’s history.

On tragic day, those terrorists flew two planes into the Twin Tower in New York City, another plane into the Pentagon and the final plane in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania that was believed to be targeted at hitting the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

As a result of the attacks, 2,977 innocent lives were lost on this day, and the entire world went into mourning.

Americans became more united than ever by going to massive candle light vigils, massive memorials were held and ordinary Americans contributed anyway they could to help out at the sights where the terrorist attacks took place.

The attacks brought Americans together as America became a more unified nation with these acts of kindness as the word’s “We Will Never Forget” as a common theme.

With everyone being impacted from the attacks, the personal that helped to rescue the people during the attacks became everyone’s heroes.

And as a result, professional athletes became all but forgotten due to the terrorist attacks and tried to contribute any way that they could.

From the New York Mets making Shea Stadium into a rescue area to hold supplies that would be transported to Ground Zero to members of the New York Yankees visiting New York City firehouses to assist anyway that they could, professional athletes did what was right in order to help raise morale’s after the terrorist attacks.

Five days after the terrorist attacks, baseball returned as America’s Pastime became a vital part of the nation trying to re-adapt to normal life.

Ten days after September 11 (Friday, September 21), the New York Mets became the first sports team to play in New York since the terrorist attacks as they faced the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium.

Before the game, both teams decided to dedicate their entire game salaries to the families that lost their lives in this game and there was an overwhelming patriotic attitude for that game.

In what was the biggest baseball game of these players lives, the Mets were able to win 3-2 after catcher Mike Piazza hit a moonshot off of New York resident Steve Karsay that hit the camera tower in center field in the eighth inning to give the Mets the lead.

And in the World Series that year, the Mets nearby neighbor, the Yankees, faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in one of the greatest World Series of all-time.

Even though the Yankees failed to win, they provided dramatics that were greater than a Hollywood thriller, as Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius hit two out home runs in the ninth inning off of Arizona reliever Byung-Hyun Kim to tie and eventually win both games for the Yankees.

Even though the Yankees did not win, the World Series helped to end a great postseason and gave many Americans hope as we moved forward as a nation.

Also, the NFL helped to help America heal during the winter, as after canceling Week Two due to 9-11, they were able to help Americans feel united as NFL games helped to unite the largest groups of people after 9-11 for a non-memorial service.

And ironically enough, the New England Patriots were able to prove themselves to be a true American story that year, as they overcame all the odds with a rookie quarterback in Tom Brady to win their first Super Bowl over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams.

The Patriots were also able to win the Super Bowl with a lack of big name players and were able to get the winning points on a late drive with a game-winning field goal of 48 yards as time expired to give the Patriots the title.

But now, nine years later, these moments of sporting greatness will always be linked to the aftermath of September 11 and how they helped to reestablish normal life to American lives.

However, an event such as September 11, 2001 should stand as a reminder to us that sport’s are not that important, but it is life, friends and family that are the most important things that should be the most important things in our lives.

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