- The Washington Times - Monday, May 11, 2009

Maybe Manny Ramirez just wanted to get pregnant.

Maybe that is why he was taking a female fertility drug.

Or maybe Ramirez consumed “two beers and at least four shots of whiskey” the night before he took the test that came back positive.

That was the defense of Floyd Landis, the disgraced cyclist who was stripped of his Tour de France crown.

Our celebrated sports performers have a million the-dog-ate-my-homework excuses.

They blame a teammate, a relative or a trainer. They blame everyone but themselves.

Sprinter Justin Gatlin said a vengeful-minded masseuse rubbed what he believed was a harmless cream onto his legs, only to find out the hard way that it was a steroid balm.

Sprinter Ben Johnson claimed an energy drink he drank before his race was spiked before eventually coming clean.

Tennis player Petr Korda and bobsledder Lenny Paul employed the steroid-enhanced-meat defense.

Cyclist Tyler Hamilton deserves a special citation because of his highly creative “vanishing twin” defense. After it was found that he had someone else’s oxygen-rich blood in his body, Hamilton suggested he was just that way because of a twin sibling that had died in his mother’s womb. And he said it could have been his mother’s blood that mixed with his while in her womb.

Mark McGwire’s decision to leave the past in the past on Capitol Hill is looking better all the time. At least he did not insult everyone’s intelligence. At least he did not act all righteous in the manner of Rafael Palmeiro and declare under oath: “I have never used steroids. Period.”

Palmeiro later amended the declaration to “I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period.”

It seems someone is always out to get a sports star. Who knew so many Americans carry around vials of steroids with the explicit purpose to compromise an athlete? And who knew so many athletes could be so easily duped?

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were undermined by devious trainers. Worse, they did not leave the past in the past. Bonds has a legal situation to deal with, while Clemens could have one.

Marion Jones certainly did not know she was taking steroids. She took whatever was provided to her, with no questions asked, and went merrily on her way to superstardom before the inevitable fall.

Ramirez, of course, did not know what he was ingesting either. He went to a doctor because of a highly personal medical issue, and the darn doctor messed him over big-time.

Ramirez, like all athletes, has access to the best medical care around. Yet crazily enough, Ramirez and so many others end up with a quack in a dark alley.

So many apparently grab the yellow pages, flip to the physicians section and go, “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”

An athlete thinks he is having aloe vera applied to his body when it actually is a substance that helps him build impossibly big muscles, which aid in dispatching a baseball over the fence with greater frequency.

It is just too bad Ramirez never received the memo on how athletes are being targeted by doctors, trainers, friends and family.

I don’t know about you, but given how many athletes have come forward with their tales of innocence over the years and how many times a positive test result has been the fault of someone else, I just might keep a chemist on retainer to test everything I might eat, drink or put on my body.

And I definitely would run if I ever saw a trainer pull a syringe out of his black bag.

I mean, that whole trainer/syringe/athlete imagery is just too much anyway.

It won’t end with Ramirez. Others are destined to fall.

To the next drug cheat, here is a suggestion. Just say: “They caught me. Fair and square.”

The drug cheat just might be hailed for his candor.

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