Way back when ...
How far? Back when Red Sox fans used to complain about every little break that would go against them and the theory of an 86-year-old curse seemed the most logical reason why. That’s how way back when.
Anyway, way back when a certain faction of Red Sox fans reveled in making accusations of their rivals, there was the emerging thought that the Yankees had cheated their way to a Game 7 ALCS win over Boston, thanks to the home run contributions of one Jason Giambi. Earlier in the year, the slugging first baseman had apologized with a fill-in-the blank press conference. Nobody thought he had disobeyed any city water laws.
But way back when, we were still living in a naïve world of baseball in Boston. We were the lovable losers. The Yankees were the needle-pushing cheats. Way back when it was easier to believe that, yet not with the power-drunk bravado of some fans, who went so far as to demand Game 7 stricken from the books.
The rest of us grimaced, knowing the glass house was due for a crack sooner or later.
There are suspects, of course, but we all refuse to say the names out of libel and slander. Today, though, the bombshell dropped when it was announced that Manny Ramirez -- that’s former Red Sox World Series MVP Manny Ramirez -- has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games for using performance-enhancing drugs.
That doesn’t say he used them in ’04. Or in ’07.
But now, we have little reason to believe he didn’t.
You want any of those games taken away?
Back when, not so way back when, we just assumed the good guys were the only ones not juicing, a belief not exactly disputed by the Mitchell Report, which delivered us such tasty revelations as ... Eric Gagne, who was here all of three months. Meanwhile, Roger Clemens watched as his Hall of Fame career got taken down into a sewer of events, and once again, Red Sox fans enjoyed a nice bout with karma.
They’re doing it again today, swinging the final bullet into a “good riddance” parade now almost a year old. Jason Bay makes doing so a lot easier.
But much like all of New England grins over the tainted legacy of Alex Rodriguez, so too beginning today, is the resume of Manny Ramirez. And yes, if you think Giambi’s presence in 2003 was a dirty avenue to the World Series, then you have to think the same about Ramirez in ’04 and ’07.
Coincidentally, nobody thinks that anymore, I’ll bet.
Frankly, these admissions rarely surprise me anymore. I’m more intrigued these days to see how the public reaction develops. It ruined Clemens’ life. It sent Barry Bonds into exile. But we were more than quick to forgive Rodney Harrison.
Harrison had helped deliver a pair of titles. Amnesty, and all, you know. So, too, did Manny, which is why there will be dueling views in the Boston fan base, those who don’t want to forget and those who don’t want to believe.
For the most part, Red Sox fans will revel in the news of another enemy of the state getting busted. But, as Peter Abraham of the Journal News writes, “If Manny was using in 2009 when baseball was testing, what do you figure he was doing when baseball wasn’t testing?”
Way back when, we didn’t know any better. These days, we should, but something tells me that some of us are going to conveniently forget about Giambi and ’03. When that sort of thing hits close to home, you normally do.
They don't take away MVPs. Only the perception of them.
They don't take away World Series titles either. That perception is open for debate.