The baseball world received shocking news on Friday afternoon, as midway through the Red Sox’ home opener, news broke that Manny Ramirez was retiring from Major League Baseball.
Leave it to Manny to make bigger news than the Red Sox en route to their first win of the regular season — over the Yankees no less — after an 0-6 start.
It was announced that the 18-year-veteran was retiring after an “issue” sprung up under the MLB’s drug policy. According to The New York Times, the slugger tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug during spring training, and was facing a 100-game suspension if he went through the league process.
So, in true Manny-like fashion, the slugger decided it was time to retire rather than face the music.
A season that was viewed as a comeback year for Manny has now turned into yet another charade from the player who spent the last three seasons struggling with injuries and another suspension in Los Angeles and Chicago.
“I love the game. I like to compete,” Ramirez said in a news conference after signing with the Rays in January. “I just want to show that I still can play. That’s my mind-set.”
Manny was showing all the signs of a changed player in Tampa Bay. Alongside former teammate and fellow “idiot” Johnny Damon, Ramirez was looking like his carefree old self, and had many believing that this was the year that he would turn things around.
Unfortunately, the old PED issue reared its ugly head, and instead of facing the league process, Manny ducked away under the shield of retirement.
Granted, the process would have likely tarnished his legacy either way. A frustrating end to what could have been a bounce-back year for the former Red Sox slugger, who was beloved in Boston even after his departure. It will also take a toll on Ramirez’s Hall of Fame destiny, as this would have been his second lengthy suspension due to an “issue” with the MLB’s drug policy.
Despite the disappointing end to his career, Manny still leaves a positive legacy in Boston. The slugger helped lead the Red Sox to both World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, earning the World Series MVP award after the unbelievable run in 2004. Boston fans were lucky to experience some of Manny’s best years in the game.
But that legacy will remain imperfect because of the abrupt conclusion to Manny’s 18-year career, stunting what could have been the ultimate comeback season.
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