Alex Rodriguez hasn't been the beneficiary of much good news in 2009, but he got a little bit on Thursday from Manny Ramirez. Ramirez's 50-game suspension for a positive drug test gives baseball's steroid era a new poster boy, which should alleviate some of the pressure that A-Rod will face when he makes his expected return in Baltimore this weekend.
That pressure was expected to be sizable, what with the release of Selena Roberts' book this week and the need to hear A-Rod's replies to all of the allegations she makes against him. There are only so many national baseball writers, though, and they can't be in Los Angeles and Baltimore at the same time.
He'll still have to deal with plenty of questions, to be sure, but now he'll get a little more of a chance to re-acclimate himself to the big leagues first. Ramirez's story bumps him off the front page, something that isn't easy to do, and Rodriguez should be very happy about the fact.
He should also be feeling happy about the fact that there's yet another superstar joining him on the wrong side of the performance-enhancing line. It's not good for baseball, but it's good for Rodriguez's place in the game to get another reminder that he wasn't some rogue agent trying to get ahead by doing something wildly out of bounds.
Roberts' book has painted Rodriguez as the poster child for everything that's wrong with baseball, but Thursday's news makes it clear that he's just one of many who tried to achieve heights with the thanks of dubious means.
And all just in time for him to start playing baseball again. Sounds like Ramirez should expect a delivery from FTD sometime soon.