Manny’s done being Manny



Michael Moses

Michael Moses

Michael Moses is a sports columnist. Contact him at [email protected].

When I got the text alert from ESPN breaking the news of Manny Ramirez’s 100-game suspension, I laughed out loud, said, “What an idiot” and thought nothing of it. It was just Manny being Manny.

Then came the second alert: “Manny Ramirez retires after finding out of his 100-game suspension.” Now this was not cool. I didn’t laugh. I was pissed. This meant that the world would never see Manny being Manny ever again.

In 2005, baseball commissioner Bud Selig implemented a “three strikes and your out” policy to disciplining players who repetitively test positive for steroid use. The player would get a 50-game suspension for their first offense, 100 games for the second and third-time offenders to be banned permanently.

In 2009, Ramirez received his first strike, a 50-game suspension when he tested positive for a female fertility drug. The substance is a common thing for people coming off a steroid cycle to restore testosterone levels. It was banned by the MLB, yet Ramirez said he used it for “personal health reasons.” Why? Who knows. Just another “Manny being Manny” moment.

Last Friday, Ramirez, 38, tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. This would have meant that he would be facing his second strike, a 100-game suspension. Instead, he opted to retire. He didn’t even care to tell his team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Yes, he cheated. Yes, he’s an idiot. He took steroids like a majority of other big league players. But Manny was an entertainer. People loved him, from the dreads to the baggy pants. Manny Ramirez was a goof first, entertainer second and baseball player third. And honestly, he was one of the bright spots in a gloomy, boring sport.

We’re talking about a guy who, in the middle of a pitching change, disappeared from his left field position. The saying is, “If you gotta go, you gotta go.” Manny had to go. And he did so in Fenway Park’s famous Green Monster.

This is the player who would speak pretty solid English one day, yet have an interpreter the next. The guy who once fell asleep in the dugout, the player who used the “my grandmother passed away” excuse multiple times to skip spring training and the player who cut-off a cut-off.

If it comes out that Ramirez was on steroids his whole entire career, I wouldn’t even care. Steroids don’t teach technique. They don’t automatically put the swing together. Ramirez had one of the most beautiful swings in all of baseball. He was viewed as one of the most feared hitters not only of his generation, but all-time. With the Cleveland Indians in 1999, he hit .333, with 44 home runs and an outrageous 165 RBI. It was the highest single-season RBI total since Jimmie Foxx drove in 175 runs in 1938.

Ramirez was a 12-time All-Star, 2-time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox, and a 9-time Silver Slugger Award winner. His 555 career home runs rank 14th on the all-time list, and 1,841 RBIs rank 18th on the all-time list. Ramirez is also MLB’s all-time leader in post-season home runs, with 29. Steroids or not, those numbers should remain respected.

He may not have been the most dedicated of players, may not have been all “upstairs,” but he was one thing, for sure: unpredictable. You never knew what you were going to get out of Manny. He was baseball’s Chad Ochocinco and baseball’s Shaq. Now, the sport is not only left without an entertainer, but it is further tainted with steroid talk.

As the steroid investigations go on, and more names are being mentioned with an asterisk-now you can add “Ramirez” to that list. I can officially say that I don’t care. Everyone did it to some extent and the game was a hell of a lot more entertaining. Baseball is boring without it.

I’d rather go back to seeing home runs every other pitch than seeing a no-hitter every other game. And damn, I already miss Manny being Manny.

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].