Manny: “I’m at ease” with decision

Tampa Bay Rays’ Manny Ramirez reacts to a pitch during the seventh inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in St. Petersburg, Florida, April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

If you thought Manny Ramirez might have some regret about the way he abruptly retired instead of serving a 100-game suspension for his second positive test for performance-enhancing drugs in the last three years, well then you just don’t know Manny.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“I’m at ease,” Ramirez told by phone Saturday from his home in Miami. “God knows what’s best (for me). I’m now an officially retired baseball player. I’ll be going away on a trip to Spain with my old man.”

I’ve never met God but from what I’ve read about him, I don’t think he would have approved of Manny’s actions over the past three years. This is a man who tested positive twice for performance-enhancing drugs and instead of serving his second suspension and remaining committed to a team he signed a deal with this offseason, he just up and walked away.

Hey, if he wants to go to Spain with his old man, good for him. But we’re not talking about someone who tried to play and in the end couldn’t physically endure another season so he retired. We’re not talking about someone whose heart just wasn’t in it anymore a la Ken Griffey Jr. in his final year. We’re talking about someone who quit just so he didn’t have to face punishment after he broke a rule.

If he can rest his head on his pillow at night and not have any regrets, then so be it. But if it were me, I wouldn’t have gone out like that and I’m sure many other fans feel the same way.

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Manny Ramirez tests positive for PEDs again, abruptly retires

Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Manny Ramirez watches a MLB spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles from the dugout at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida, March 1, 2011. REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

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.

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