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.

Selig doesn’t want suspended players to play in minors

Bud Selig wants a rule changed that allows suspended MLB players to sharpen up in the minor leagues before their suspensions are over. The latest example of this rule came this year when outfielder Manny Ramirez was able to play in the Dodgers’ minor league system before his 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance was up.

“I believe that should be changed,” Selig said Tuesday during a one-hour question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. “Their logic was OK — look, guys get hurt, they can go out on rehab, and so on and so forth. But I think that’s something we need to really change in the next labor negotiation.”

The current rules are in place through December 2011. Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations, said management will not ask for a rules change before then.
“I’ll let them work that out. I don’t want to do our negotiating here,” Selig said. “But it’s 50 games and then go do what you got to do to get back into [shape].”

For one of the first times in the history of my existence, I actually agree with Bud the Slug.

If a player is suspended, he should have to serve the full length of that suspension before he’s allowed to partake in baseball on the major or minor league level. I was vilified by a couple of readers in this article for criticizing this rule, but it’s amazing how people don’t find a player being allowed to sharpen up in the minors (while they’re suspended mind you) a ridiculous concept. I understand that it’s baseball’s rule, but it’s a dumb freaking rule.

It’s like sending a kid to time out in the corner for 15 minutes, but for the last five minutes, he gets to play with Legos so that he’s ready to get back to building a Lego house with the other kids after his 15 minutes have been served.

Manny activated, will be in starting lineup

Manny Ramirez has officially severed his 50 game suspension for testing positive for a PED-related substance and is expected to be in the Dodgers’ starting lineup tonight when L.A. takes on the Padres in San Diego.

Besides seeing how he does at the plate, what’ll be interesting to watch unfold over the next week or two is what kind of an effect Manny will have on the Dodgers. During his suspension, L.A. didn’t miss a beat, racing out to a 7.5-game lead over the Giants in the NL West and amassing the best record in all of baseball.

One would think that Manny would only contribute to the Dodgers’ success and they’ll continue to run away with their division. But don’t forget the media circus that Manny is about to bring with him as he returns to action. His teammates surely will love having him back in the lineup, but they’re going to be put in a tough position over the next couple weeks as they field constant Ramirez-related questions.

Will Manny’s return mean more dominance for the Dodgers like everyone assumes, or will his presence have a surprising negative affect on the club?

I thought Manny Ramirez was suspended?

I must have missed the memo that stated Manny Ramirez’s suspension was lifted from 50 games to 40.

In case you haven’t heard, Ramirez is getting a fair share of work these days for the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliates. He was suspended 50 games by MLB for testing positive for performance-chancing drugs, yet apparently it’s fine if he plays in some minor league games in order to get his swing back for when he’s ready to join the big league club again.

Since when is it okay for someone to work during a suspension? Granted, sports will never be confused for everyday jobs, but isn’t this a little ridiculous that Manny (who broke a rule) is allowed to play? If he’s suspended 50 games, he shouldn’t be allowed to play in any league (major, minor or little) until that suspension is completed.

This is a benefit to Ramirez; why is the league helping him out? Oh, you broke a rule, Manny? No problem – we’ll still make sure that you get enough hacks in so that when you come back to the show, you’ll be ready to rake again in no time. Let us know if you need anything else because we’re here to serve you.

Maybe this isn’t that big of a deal and I’m making too much of the situation. But come on, this isn’t like a player coming off the DL who needs a quick rehab (unless they’re counting this as a drug rehab, err, women’s fertility drug rehab) assignment before he sees major league pitching again. This coconut got busted for a positive PED test and as suspended 50 games. So make him serve 50 games.

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