How did Manny Ramirez fool the baseball world so long? How did he make us believe at times that he actually cared about the team he was playing on? There were times when it seemed Manny genuinely gave a damn about winning, when in fact all he really cared about was himself.
It always seemed like Manny Being Manny was a fun distraction from the long haul of a 162-game season. Who wouldn't enjoy the morning highlights being broken up by footage of Manny making a phone call from inside the Green Monster or seeing Manny give a fan a high five mid-play?
While these bloopers seemed funny at the time, in the light of Ramirez's retirement with allegations of a second positive PED test looming over his head, they show Manny for what he really was. He was not simply a goofy baseball player; he was one of the most selfish players who ever played the game.
All Manny cared about was his own hitting. He couldn't be bothered with running out ground balls or playing the outfield. One year, he couldn't even be bothered with playing in the All-Star game.
Now, with the one part of his game that he cared about in decline, does it seem that shocking that Manny would take the risk of testing positive for PEDs? It is easy to understand his reasoning. If all you care about is hitting a baseball, you will look for every edge possible.
Maybe Ramirez didn't deem the contract he signed with the Rays worthy of being honored. For a player used to making over $20 million per season, a one-year, $2 million contract probably seemed like a slap in the face. However, this does not excuse Manny's actions. He clearly violated the terms of the contract, and the Rays should seek repayment of whatever Manny received so far this season.
Manny Ramirez's last action as a Major League player, retiring with a black cloud of PEDs over his head, will leave a black cloud over his legacy. Until this, Manny seemed destined for the Hall of Fame. Even with his first positive test, everyone still loved Manny. His actions this week allowed Hall of Fame voters to see his true colors.
No doubt, they will now take a closer look at Ramirez and discover just how selfish he really was. They will remember Ramirez assaulting a Red Sox secretary in a ticket dispute and how Ramirez gave up on multiple teams, the Red Sox and the Dodgers.
In his final at bat with the Sox, Ramirez watched three straight strikes, and in his final at bat with the Dodgers, he couldn't be bothered to finish the at bat, arguing the first strike, getting the heave-ho from the umpire, and then giving Dodger Stadium a one-finger salute.
Manny Ramirez was undoubtedly one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game of baseball. Not surprising, considering it was all he cared about during his 19-year career. After fooling baseball fans everywhere for so long, with his retirement, Ramirez showed everyone all he ever cared about was himself.