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“Ask your mother.”

In case you’ve forgotten, the real reason Ramirez was gone from baseball was that while making an average of $22.5 million a year from/for the Dodgers, he tested positive for a banned female fertility drug used to mask steroid use. He came back from that only to test positive for a performance enhancing drug while playing for the Rays _ prompting him to retire rather than serve the suspension. According to a New York Times report, he also was one of the players who tested positive for steroids during MLB’s anonymous survey testing in 2003.

Now that he’s unretiring, his suspension was cut in half to 50 games because he sat out most of last year.

It’s all been one big con game. For all we know, Ramirez has been juicing his entire career.

Of course, this is a new Manny Ramirez. He was contrite in spring training, the wife he was arrested for slapping last year standing dutifully by his side. He claimed he never realized how much he appreciated his family and the game until he was banned from it.

Interestingly enough, he didn’t say anything about using steroids.

The new Manny is being brought to you by Billy Beane, the A’s general manager recently celebrated on the big screen as the savior of all small market franchises. It seems to be nothing more than a promotional stunt, though when I called Beane to ask him, he didn’t come to the phone. No big deal, he was probably busy with his agent discussing plans for “Mannyball: How Manny Ramirez and I saved the Oakland A’s.”

Maybe it will work out and Ramirez will hit 30 home runs and carry the A’s to the World Series. Maybe he’ll be the attraction that helps the A’s finally get out of the Coliseum and into a proper home in San Jose.

Maybe they have someone who will take his drug tests for him.

Right now the taxpayers of Rhode Island can’t help but feel they’ve been snookered in the Schilling deal. They bought into celebrity, and could end up getting burned.

So has anyone who has ever spent a dollar to watch Manny Ramirez play.

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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg