April 8, 2011

Manny Ramirez, Facing Positive Drug Test, Announces Retirement After 19 Seasons

Manny Ramirez announced his retirement today after 19 major league seasons, amid reports that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug during spring training and was facing a 100-game suspension.

Ramirez, 38, who played for the Red Sox for nearly eight years and was the MVP of the 2004 World Series: "I'm at ease. 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."

Tampa Bay Rays vice president Andrew Friedman:
It was very, very refreshing in terms of how he went about his business. The way he prepared. I think it rubbed off on a lot of our young players. And we were very bullish on what he'd be able to do this year ... We were extremely optimistic that he would be a significant part of our offense. ... [I]t was important for us to sit down with him before we signed him, and we understood that it was a risk ... but we were cautiously optimistic that he would be a force for us in our lineup.
MLB's statement:
Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program. Rather than continue with the process under the program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the drug program will be completed.
Manny played in five games for the Rays this season, with only one hit in 17 at-bats.

David Ortiz:
"It's crazy, man. That was the last thing I was expecting, for him to retire and go through this situation. I don't really know the details and how everything went down. I'm just waiting how the rest of the stuff is going to come out. It's sad, man, to see a player with that much talent, and an unbelievable career, to get him out of the game with negativity. ...

If you see Manny from the outside, your thoughts will be totally different. But if you play with Manny Ramirez, I guarantee you you're going to look at a hard-working guy, the guy who tried to get better every single day. ... When I saw him [when we played the Rays this spring], seriously, I saw him in the best shape I have ever seen him in. When you watch him hit, you were like, "Wow. He's back." He played a few games against us, and the talk in our dugout was the way he [was] dealing with hitting and his approach. That was the Manny Ramirez that everybody knows.
Bobby Jenks played with Ramirez in Chicago and was very surprised by the news:
I got a chance to play with him and I really thought he was an outstanding guy. He's a great guy, a good teammate and down to earth for being such a superstar, which I thought was pretty cool because I didn't know what to expect.
Omar Vizquel, Manny's teammate in Cleveland:
Different people have different thoughts about Manny. It just depends on how you see it. A lot of people don't take it really seriously when they talk about Manny Ramirez. But the guys who have been in the lineup with him and know how he works, his work ethic, he shows up at 2 o'clock every day, he takes extra batting practice every day and it doesn't matter if he went 5-for-5 the day before. ... There are actions that he does on the field that really don't reflect what type of player he was. But he was just an amazing guy.
Yankees catcher Russell Martin played with Manny in Los Angeles:
He's a good guy; I think he's just misunderstood a little bit. From what I've seen of Manny, his work ethic's incredible, he comes to play every day and he has fun playing the game. And sometimes, on defense, when he makes a mistake, he overdoes it sometimes, but he has a passion for the game and I learned a lot from him, especially hitting-wise.


The Pita said...

The first photo, labeled manny2004.jpg, is actually from 07.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Years from now, the truth will come out about how these drug tests are manipulated by spiteful forces that know nothing about baseball.

Manny was one of the most entertaining and talented athletes of his generation. He didn't let the negativity of the media change him. He played with passion and a style all his own.

It's too bad he was forced out like this, but that doesn't changed the fact that he is a legend. In a game where smiling is frowned upon by the status quo: Manny's joy will always be remembered. Thanks, Man.

Philip said...

Gonna miss that crazy bastard. Baseball's a little less fun without him in it.

Amy said...

Very sad indeed.

The first photo IS from 2004. Notice that there is a sign for Millar. He was not on the team in 2007.

laura k said...

I will miss Manny. He's always been one of my favourite players, and only more so because he is maligned and misunderstood.

However, I don't find this sad. I was shocked when I heard it, of course. But he had a great career, he's leaving on his own terms - controlling the situation as much as he can - and he'll probably have a great life after baseball.

Like many people, he works for a stupid, mismanaged organization (MLB), and now he's rich, young, and free of them. Not bad!

(PS: how can any Sox fan NOT know that the first photo - Manny holding the sign re Jeter - is from 2004?? It's kind of famous!)

Amy said...

I don't think it's necessarily sad for Manny. I think it's sad that now we will have to hear more media and other bashing of Manny. I have already heard it from a friend of mine who immediately sent me a message asking if I was STILL a fan of Manny after this latest disclosure. I replied that I am a fan of what Manny did on the field, not off the field. She just kept hammering away til I shrugged a "whatever." It's that kind of thing that makes me sad. People will compare him to Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, etc., besmirching his whole career, not just the end of it. Maybe that is merited, maybe not, but it still makes me sad.

Amy said...

And yes---how can any fan not remember that first parade and all those signs? It's one of my baseball favorite memories of all time!

Joe Gravellese said...

I wonder how many players are still trying to use PEDs to prop themselves up at the end of their careers. I'm sure there are ways around the tests.

Thanks for the memories Manny, and thanks JoS for helping me appreciate him more while he was here! In Boston itself there was always this crowd of negativity surrounding the guy, which is a real shame - his career here was something to be cherished.

laura k said...

Oh I certainly agree. That is sad, awful, inevitable.

He'll also always have many, many diehard fans. But ignorant people fed by an ignorant media will always get it wrong.

Jim said...

I always liked Manny, and always will. The type of reactive bullshit coming out from the likes of Cafardo this morning is frustratingly stupid. Why do I waste my time reading these hacks, who, when it is all said and done, simply don't have the required skills to do a decent job?
Unlike Manny--who from all accounts worked endlessly to improve upon his natural hitting talents. I doubt we'll ever know "the truth", but out of curiousity I'd certainly like to. Won't change my opinion of him though. Thanks for the memories, amigo.

laura k said...

A banned commenter would like to comment, but as far as I know, banned is banned is banned. Plus he's pimping his own website - two strikes. But of course the final call is Allan's (and he can delete this as well if he chooses).

allan said...

The comment has been rejected. I find it amusing that he criticizes Manny for leaving the game "without the decency to apologize" and "without accepting responsibility", since it was his unwillingness to address the insults he cast at many JoS commenters (and me) that resulted in his banning.

Pokerwolf said...

I will happily wear my Manny jersey when I go to Sox games this year. It's the least I can do.

laura k said...

Re banned commenter, I thought the exact same thing.

But of course I would, since you are a cult leader and control what we JoS readers think.