In a rather shocking development, Major League Baseball announced on Friday that Rays’ outfielder Manny Ramirez has decided to retire.
As has always been the case with Manny, there’s more to the story. Michael Schmidt of the New York Times reports that Ramirez tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in spring training and he would have faced a 100-game suspension had he not retired. After he served a 50 game suspension in 2009, it would have been Manny’s second suspension for PEDs in the last three years.
“Rather than continue with the process under the program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player,” a statement from MLB said. “If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.”
Wow. Manny finishes with a .312 career batting average, 555 home runs and 1,831 runs batted in. As previously mentioned, he was a 12-time All-Star, a nine-time Silver Slugger Award winner, a two-time World Series champion and he also led the AL in RBI (1999), batting average (2002) and home runs (2004).
But even given his outstanding numbers, his career has definitely been marred by these two positive PED tests. Manny has always kind of been given a free pass because he’s goofy and entertaining. But Roger Clemens is vilified for his (supposed) use of PEDs. Barry Bonds is a monster. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are cheaters. What about Manny? This is a guy that was suspended for 50 games in 2009 for a positive PED test and then two years later he tests positive again? Did he think he wasn’t going to get caught the second time? Did he think baseball would leave him alone after the first positive test?
“Should we test Manny again?”
“Nah, dude isn’t stupid enough to try it again. Let’s just go on the honesty policy…”
And now Ramirez just ups and retires instead of serving the 100 games. What a slap in the face to the Rays. They made a financial commitment to him, he made a commit to them that he would play and then he turns around and retires a week into the season after an 0-6 start and a positive PED test. What a joke.
But hey, that’s just Manny, I guess. The term “Manny being Manny” has always allowed him to come and go as he pleases. He’s going to leave the game just as strangely as he came into it.