So, Manny Ramirez has decided to retire rather than face another suspension for failing a drug test. Not surprising in the least, either the failed test or the walking away. Once again, a lack of character taints an entire career and for Ramirez this is just the latest example.
Ramirez is one of those sports figures that gets a lot of press. Not necessarily because of his on the field performance, though over some of the 19 years of his career they were quite good (but most likely PED enhanced), but for his demeanor and look. Ramirez is one of those guys that the sports media eats up with a spoon. They get down on their knees and pray that he does something they can spin into stories for a couple of weeks. And more often than not, he was more than willing to give it to them.
He has always had a lack of character in my opinion. He is one of those 'ME' athletes that wants the attention on him for whatever reason, good or bad. He wasn't about team. If the team was winning and he had a part in it, his part was of course the most important and the most worthy of coverage. If the team was losing and he was doing his part to help, dogging balls, batting poorly, acting like a jerk, then he got the coverage as well. So it was a win/win for him in the press. Remember, there's no such thing as bad press and in this day and age, bad press is even better.
Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for violation of the drug policy. When he returned, he was never the same. On the field or as a celebrity of the moment. A downtrodden, poorly performing Manny on losing teams is just not interesting to the media. He joined the Rays in the off season and has performed abysmally. His batting verage was hovering near .060. The Rays hadn't won a game, until he announced he was retiring. He also took a couple of days off this past week to deal with a "personal matter." We now know what that was.
Ramirez tested positive in Spring Training for a banned substance, what exactly we do not know as yet. Instead of going through the drug program process, which would have included a 100-game suspension this time, Ramirez walked away. Abandoning the Rays and almost surely abandoning his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame. Yes, he has the numbers. He also has two failed drug tests, one suspension and another pending suspension if he had not retired OR if he returns to the game. He will still have to serve the suspension if he should return to the game at some point. It doesn't just go away.
His lack of character will not go away either. His poor choices will not go away. And the taint of PEDs use that this newest failed test perpetuates will never leave the game of baseball, which Ramirez and others like him have ruined for all time. Thanks Manny, hit the road.