Third baseman Mike Lowell has a unique bond with the suddenly disgraced Manny Ramirez -- the two are the only World Series MVPs in the history of the Boston Red Sox. And while several players offered their thoughts on the news that Ramirez had been suspended for 50 games, Lowell perhaps put it best:
Were you surprised when you heard the news?
"Absolutely. I'm surprised when I hear the news about anyone. He's another big-name guy and just another black eye for the game. Guys that are playing the game are trying to maximize the talents that they've been given naturally, but everyone's linked in that category. That's what's a shame. I understand that it's hard for Major League Baseball to glorify guys that they think are doing it right because we don't know. That's almost where it's gotten to. That's very unfortunate, but we keep finding these guys.
"The message is terrible, especially for young kids who might aspire to be major-league baseball players."
What's the protocol now as far as putting something in your body?
"I don't put (expletive) in my body. I don't understand why, now, anyone would come close to taking anything that could remotely result in a positive test. I don't know. In the past, if guys did it, they had the crutch that they weren't testing. But, nowadays, I don't really understand it. Maybe there was a secret society I wasn't invited to, but I don't get it. I don't. I wish I could, but I don't."
Do you think Manny was doing anything while he was here?
"I have no idea. I have no idea. He's a phenomenal hitter, and I never saw anything. I defer to asking Manny that question."
What would you say to people who now say '04 and '07 are tainted?
"Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I don't feel like our '07 season was tainted. This is still a 25-man team. It remains to be seen what happened in '07, but Manny's going to be questioned a lot. I prefer talking about today's game and our next series. Manny's on another team right now. It would be a lot more prevalent if he was on our team; it would have affected us. But it really doesn't."
Does it surprise you more or hurt more because he was on your team?
"No, it hurts me because he made a personal choice and I think it was the wrong one and I think it sends a terrible message. Each person's got to look in the mirror in the morning. If you can live with it, it's up to you."
Do you see a time when this has all gone away?
"I would love to see a time, but it doesn't seem like it's anywhere near because we've got guys that keep, you could say, trying to beat the system. But like I said, I just don't understand why it would be done now. I don't get it."
If you get caught now, it's just stupidity, right?
"I would lean towards that, yeah."