Indeed it was. Since bolting Boston last summer in a trade with the Dodgers, his trademark dreadlocks trailing him as he made a beeline for the laid-back world of Los Angeles, virtually all traces of Manny have vanished from the Red Sox and the place he once called home. At the Yawkey Way Store across the street from Fenway, the only Ramirez items are an autographed ball ($300) and a pair of framed autographed photos. His No. 24 jersey, which once seemed as ubiquitous at Fenway Park as green paint, was nowhere to be found among the early-arriving crowd before Thursday night's game with the Indians. His locker in the clubhouse has long since been turned over to someone else. Yet for one day at least, Ramirez was a Red Sox again, as surely as he was during any of his eight entertaining, controversial and ultimately combustible years with the team, and the players he left behind were once again caught up in a Manny-created maelstrom.
"Obivoulsy, it's a big news story and blah, blah blah ... but he's not a part of our team anymore," said closer
"With the rules in place it kind of takes [commenting] off your plate," said Francona. "I am aware of what has happened today, but I also know that when you walk by the TV about the first thing you hear from everybody is 'well, I really don't know the facts.' When I don't know the facts, I don't need to be stating opinions."
Bay said he was just tested the other day and that baseball's stringent testing policy and severe punishments are on his mind. "I worry about everything I take because of that," he said, adding that players have the chance to run any supplements or medications by MLB if they aren't sure whether they are allowable or nor. "Everybody in here, whether there's a 50 percent chance or a 1 percent chance [of testing positive] should look into it. If you're unsure, send it to MLB and they'll test it."
"They make a pamphlet in Spanish and English telling you what you can and can't take," said Papelbon. "It's not that hard."
What is hard, said Lowell, is "for major league baseball to glorify guys they think are doing it right because they don't know. It's another black eye for the game."
There was some concern that the news would be a black eye for the two World Series titles the Red Sox won with Ramirez, as well. Though it isn't known yet when Ramirez began taking the substance he tested positive for, or when or if he took other banned substances, the very notion that those titles would be tarnished seemed an especially bitter pill to swallow for the players who were there. "I have no idea," said Varitek when asked what impact this would have on those championships. Lowell dismissed the thought, saying "There were 25 guys on those teams."
The bigger concern now is the harm Ramirez has done to the game itself. There is no time machine, like the one in the movie
There was a lesser concern that Ramirez's positive test may have blown his Hall of Fame chances. Red Sox broadcaster
Ramirez had once been considered a certainty for Cooperstown. And for all the frustrations that often came with Manny Being Manny when his plaque was made surely it would come with that crooked smile, the flowing dreadlocks and, of course, a Red Sox hat. He would join a trio of Hall of Famers --
If The Wall could talk, what it would it say? Perhaps that it has seen much in its almost century of existence. That the game that survived the stain of the Black Sox scandal and the sin of the color barrier, can ultimately survive the shame of the Steroids Era, which has lasted far longer than anyone hoped it would.