Where do I start? Manny Ramirez is a New York City native who started his career for the lowly Cleveland Indians. He then went on to play for the Boston Red Sox, as one half of the dynamic power-hitting duo with another known steroid user (David Ortiz). The Red Sox went on to win World Series championships in 2004 and 2007, one in which Ramirez won the World Series MVP (2004). Manny Ramirez has now been caught again as a user of performance enhancing drugs, and, rather than face a 100-game suspension, has opted to retire.
Manny Ramirez announced his retirement from Major League Baseball effective Friday, April 8, 2011, after refusal to continue with the process of Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Major League Baseball released the following:
“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. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.”
The Rays responded with the statement below:
“The Tampa Bay Rays were informed today by the Commissioner’s Office that Manny Ramirez has decided to retire after being informed of an issue under the Drug Program. We are obviously surprised and disappointed by this news. We will have no further comment on this matter, and our fans and organization will carry on.”
As a native New Yorker myself and a diehard Yankee fan, I am completely crushed by his decision. After the Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens fiasco, what does this say about the players that play or are bred in our beloved city? It says that we are a city that spawns cheaters that are willing to forgo their natural abilities and enhance them with illegal substances in order to garner the money that the city is so known to make and bestow on the best players in any professional sport to play in New York.
In 2009, Ramirez was suspended for 50 games while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers for failing a drug test for using a female hormone called HCG. This drug is known for being used to cover up the use of steroids. It is a fertility hormone known to restart the body’s natural testosterone output after a controlled steroid regimen has been used.
If caught a second time by Major League Baseball, a player is to be suspended for a total of 100 games. After his decision to retire it is not hard to read between the lines. He failed a second time and he was looking at his contract being voided with his new team (Tampa Rays). So rather than go through the scrutiny, bad publicity, and further damage to his already tainted image, Ramirez has chosen to retire a la Rafael Palmeiro.
José Canseco identified his former Texas Rangers teammate Palmeiro as a fellow steroid user in his 2005 book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, and claimed he personally injected Palmeiro with steroids. On March 17, 2005, Palmeiro appeared at a Congressional hearing about steroids in baseball and, while under oath, denied ever using steroids and stated, “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
On August 1, 2005, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days after testing positive for a steroid. The Washington Post reported that the steroid detected in Palmeiro’s system was a “serious” one. According to The New York Times, Palmeiro tested positive for the potent anabolic steroid stanozolol. In a public statement, Palmeiro disclosed that an appeal of the suspension had already been denied. He released a statement saying, “I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period. Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program.” According to Palmeiro, all of his previous tests over the two years including the 2003 sealed test were negative, and a test he took just three weeks after his positive test was also negative.
Manny Ramirez has chosen to deny his usage, just as Palmeiro did, but without trying to stay in the game and being forced out. It is a sad day in baseball as the sport is trying to continue to put the steroid era behind it. And when one of its premier players of the last decade is caught again, the nightmare continues.