Manny Ramirez’s 50-game suspension for using
performance-enhancing drugs came as a shock to many in the baseball world.
Manny was widely regarded as one of the best pure hitters in the game, and his
recent positive test for a substance that can be used to recover from a steroid
cycle was another dark cloud hanging over the national pastime.
With that being said, there comes a time when the sport, and
the Los Angeles Dodgers, need to move forward. In order to do that, Manny needs
to man-up and apologize to his teammates, his coaches, and the owner.
He has already talked to Dodger owner Frank McCourt, and the
meeting was generally positive. McCourt said he had no interest in voiding the
rest of Manny’s contract (or a taste for the legal fight that would certainly
ensue if he did that), and he also said that Manny’s conduct won’t hurt the
franchise long term, especially if he acted in a classy manner.
My concern with this statement by McCourt is simple: can we
really count on Manny Ramirez to take the classy route? Do we remember how he
left Boston? How he quit on his teammates? How he basically went by the whims
of his agent Scott Boras in an attempt to get a bigger contract by picking up
his play somewhere other than Boston?
Manny is by no means a terrible human being. Using a PED is
far from killing or maiming another human being, but let’s be real to
ourselves: can we really trust Ramirez to do the right thing, toe the line, and
let his play do all the talking? As one Dodger is quoted on Keith Olbermann’s
blog on mlblogs.com as saying, “he got his money”.
This is a crying shame, that we have guys in baseball who
care more about getting their paychecks than being good teammates. I’m not
going to waste a bunch of time here denouncing Manny, but I do want to make a
suggestion to the corn-rowed slugger. The rest of you can sit in the dugout for
this one. This is between me and Manny.
You need to follow your owner’s advice, and you need to
address your teammates. It’s going to be tough, and they probably won’t exactly
be thrilled with your presence in the clubhouse, but that’s not the point here.
The point for you, Manny, is to man up, apologize to your team, and tell them
that you want to be part of the future of this team.
You guys have a great chance to get far in the postseason,
and if you can come back with even half of your production that you had down
the stretch last year, you will be in the center of a storm in La La Wood.
I’m going to do you a favor, Manny. I’m going to write you
an apology, a guide for dummies if you will. You can add or subtract words if
you want, but you absolutely need to capture the essence of what I am trying to
say on your behalf.
“Guys, I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for letting you
all down. While this substance that I took was prescribed to me by a physician,
I am responsible for what I put into my own body, and I accept that. I accept
MLB’s punishment of me, and I am going to make sure that I come back better
I’m not going to say that you shouldn’t be upset with me.
Hell, I wouldn’t be true to myself or to you guys if I did that. What I will
ask for, however, is to keep your heads up, play your ***** off, and make sure
that you keep playing hard. When I come back in July, I’m going to light up the
league like I did last year.
That contract I got may have made me less hungry in the eyes
of skeptics, but I will tell you that I want another ring more than anything. I
want to prove that I don’t need those guys in Boston to do this. All I need are
the 24 of you, and if you count on me, I guarantee you that things will turn
out great for this team.
Now, I’m gonna go and hit a couple clubs on South Beach.
Enjoy Dolphin Stadium guys!”
It is highly unlikely that Manny will heed my advice,
but if he does, I’m betting that his teammates will listen. It’s time for Manny
to be a man.