Manny Ramirez: The End of a Nightmare
MLB reports: As a fan, analyst and writer of baseball, I rarely take pleasure in the misery of others. Some of my readers would point to Vernon Wells and my “Vernon Watch” in what I commonly refer to as a showcase of blundery. But Vernon is the exception to the rule. For the most part, players are athletes that train hard, play with heart and hustle and give it their all on the playing field. With the career of Manny Ramirez unceremoniously coming to a halt yesterday, there is an overwhelming sense of relief and enjoyment around baseball circles today. For a man who could hit baseballs like flew other, one of the greatest hitters in MLB history will go down in the baseball archives as a laughingstock and side-show act. A shame when one looks at the statistics and career of Manny Ramirez. But for a man who got one too many chances, the punishment fits the crime. Today we say goodbye to a distraction and one less black eye for the glorious game of baseball.
The first questions most MLB fans asked me yesterday was whether Manny deserves to go into the hall of fame? My answer is simple. In my opinion, if I had a vote, a definite yes. Regardless of what Manny took or didn’t take, his statistics speak for themselves. There have been many drug cheats and cheaters of all kind in baseball over the years. The bottom line is that not many match to Manny’s outstanding numbers. But alas I do not have a vote to-date and from what the baseball writers have shown in recent voting history with McGwire and Palmeiro, Ramirez won’t so much as get as much a sniff of the hall. I can see the arguments for keeping Ramirez out of the hall. Based on his second failed drug test and choice to retire and run over facing the music cements a legacy of being a quitter and a coward. Manny gave up on the Red Sox and the Dodgers and got run out-of-town in each instance. A first failed drug test blamed on some sort of hormone substances. With a second failed test, Manny decided to take his glove and go home, rather than face the music. I cannot see fans, let alone baseball writers forgiving him for this decision. But again fitting for a man who has made a career of bad decisions and turning his back on the game one too many times.
Where does the future now lie for Manny Ramirez? Many ex-players have the option of going into scouting, managing, broadcasting, writing….the field is wide open. Mark McGwire, got a job as the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, but as part of the requirement McGwire had to go on national television and give his apology. Sort of. But McGwire always had the eye of the public for his strong image and was somewhat cut some slack by the public. Manny, with his quirky and aloof personality has a better chance of becoming President of the United States than a baseball coach, manager or broadcaster. Seen as a liability, Manny is now headed into a self-imposed baseball exile, joining the likes of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds as the baseball steroids/ped’s outcasts. I could envision a day where Manny will write a tell-all book, explaining his side of “the story” while outing ex-friends and teammates in the process. Manny just seems to be one of those guys, concerned more about himself and the almighty dollar than anything else.
When we all think to Manny Ramirez in ten years time, we will think of an idiot. That will be the image in our minds. Not the young rookie sensation on the Indians, World Series champ for the Red Sox, dreadlocks #99 igniter on the Dodgers or a two-bit player on the White Sox and Rays. The man who chose to instantly retire rather than face his due punishment. When faced with his first suspension last year, Manny did not speak to the media the entire balance of the season. He is that kind of guy. I did not imagine for the life of me in the offseason that any team would take a chance on him. In my estimation, Manny was best served going away gracefully at the end of 2010 rather than being one last thorn in the side of an undeserving team. When the Rays signed Manny, I said publicly that this could only end bad and that he would not last the season. Rather than being dumped in August, Manny barely survived a week into 2011. A 1-17 start at the plate will be the final blemish on an otherwise exceptional statistical career. But as hall of fame voters are now showing, votes go beyond the numbers. Manny Ramirez in the twilight of his career has been essentially a nightmare for all those involved with him. Staring today, the nightmare is over. Baseball does not need or want the Manny Ramirez’s of this world and my hope is that after this latest horror show, baseball will not see another Manny for a long time. Baseball is built on hustle, teamwork, determination and heart. Four words that were not in Manny’s vocabulary and for that transgression, we finally say goodbye to Manny for the last time.
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Posted on April 9, 2011, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged baseball, bonds, cardinals, dodgers, indians, manny, mcgwire, mlb, openingday, palmeiro, peds, ramirez, rays, redsox, sosa, steroids, whitesox. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.