For those who don't remember, MLB used to feature one of the most vibrant, audacious and hard-hitting athletes in sport. Thankfully, Manny Ramirez hasn't given up on his dream to once again star in the majors, this time as Super Manny.
We warned that you would only encourage him, Chinese Professional Baseball League.
ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas (h/t NESN) reports the 41-year-old former big leaguer who played 19 seasons with teams such as the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers wants back in the bigs.
According to Rojas, Ramirez was featured on Grandes en los Deportes, a show on ESPN Radio 104.5 FM, which airs in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
That's where he dropped the following:
My qualities are still there, and I just need an opportunity to continue showing that the 'Super Manny' can help a team. For now, I have no team interested, but I'm still working. Maybe I don't have anything this week, but who knows? Maybe next week I could get a call.
We can only hope there is a cape involved for this Super Manny iteration of the player who was many times more character than athlete.
Three weeks ago, I received a call from Taiwan to check if I wanted to return there, but I feel I can still help in MLB, in a role similar to Jason Giambi in Cleveland, for example. If it is God's will, I could play in MLB this season. I just need a team to open the doors. I can help in the field and in the clubhouse for the younger guys.
Ah, so ManRam has come to the delusional portion of retirement, usually set aside for the later years when babbling relentlessly along the golf course takes place.
It may seem harsh, but the declining skills of an older player aren't the only worry of a potential organization looking at Ramirez.
In 2009, while with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ramirez was suspended 50 games. As the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez reported at the time, the test showed Ramirez's system contained, "a female fertility drug that is used by steroid users to restore testosterone production to normal levels."
In 2011, his time with the Tampa Bay Rays came to an end when the slugger decided to retire rather than face a second suspension under baseball's drug policy.
The itch to play and the ability to not only produce on the field but entertain remained, so Ramirez left for other ventures.
As Rojas reminds, Ramirez recently ended his campaign with the EDA Rhinos of Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League, wherein he not only hit ".352 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 49 games" but also procured some memorable highlight videos:
And really, that remains the legacy of a player whose mere mention sparks thoughts of the classic meme before there were memes: Manny being Manny:
Ramirez was an unbelievable talent who hit 555 home runs, garnered a .996 OPS and drove in over 1,800 runs during his prolific career. But the numbers sometimes take a backseat to the positive tests and outrageous antics for one of baseball's more enduring characters.
And so the will remains.
However, the larger question is if there is any need left among the 30 teams Ramirez might target.
Rojas does note Ramirez last enjoyed a stint with the Texas Rangers's Triple-A affiliate, hitting a mere .259 before being released. He also attempted a comeback with the A's in 2012, hitting .302 for the organization's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento.
The former slugger spoke about his time with the Rangers on ESPN Radio 104.5 FM, via ESPN: "I can't complain about Texas. They gave me the opportunity. After my arrival from Taiwan, everybody was in game shape and I felt I was in spring training."
Judging by those on Twitter, a Ramirez comeback is unlikely:
Manny Ramirez still wants to play in MLB. He never, ever will, but lord do I want him to: http://t.co/ghOAMbOFlA— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) March 7, 2014
Ha. Manny thinks he could help in the field and a clubhouse with Young guys! On what drugs to take maybe! http://t.co/PXfjE34Ucc— Stephen Ciaccio (@SChach17) March 7, 2014
NBC HardballTalk's Craig Calcaterra believes MLB has seen the last of the outfielder:
He’s had multiple chances to show that “his qualities are still there,” and he’s shown nothing. The A’s and Rangers gave him looks in Triple-A. He had a .697 OPS in 69 plate appearances in Sacramento in 2012 and a .698 OPS in 119 plate appearances for Round Rock in 2013.
The only thing we may see again is another report that Ramirez is in shape and ready to play in the bigs, because he seems adamant that his journey is not yet over.
Much like throughout his career, Ramirez is going to deal with retirement in his own way, even if that means consistently pleading for a shot.
With multiple opportunities squandered, there doesn't seem to be anybody willing to listen. Super Manny sounds like a great character—one baseball fans would pay to watch and tune in to witness, but there isn't one general manager out there who seems ready to believe this player actually exists.
It's just Manny Ramirez now, a man who had an unbelievable career, filled with amazing highs, unfortunate lows and hilarious highlights to fill out every last sentiment in between.
Super Manny would be nice if he were real, but all that remains is a man wanting into a game that already moved on. It's best if he does the same.
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