Manny Ramirez’s Perfect Exit

The most unethical baseball player since the Black Sox

From  Major League Baseball:

“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.”

Perfect. Perfect.

Manny Ramirez was an impressively talented baseball player with discipline of an untrained Irish Setter, and the selfishness of a six-year-old. Throughout his career, he was a textbook example of the management fallacy known as the star principle, in which an extremely talented individual is allowed to break the rules and defy an organization’s culture in direct proportion to his perceived value.

As often is the case with such individuals, he became a monster, trying only when he felt like it, sulking when he was admonished, even to the extent of faking injuries, getting himself thrown out of games when he didn’t want to play, and losing games on purpose, just out of spite. Those who stood up for him or trusted him were inevitably disappointed and betrayed–friends, team mates, managers, owners, and, of course, his fans. It didn’t surprise anyone, really, when he was caught using a banned performance-enhancing drug two years ago, getting him suspended. It did surprise some that he would violate baseball’s drug rules again, particularly since he had a new team and a chance to prove he could still justify multi-million dollar contracts.

Not me. I saw this end, or an end like it, coming years ago. Manny doesn’t believe in rules, and he doesn’t understand responsibility, as well as many other ethical principles. Why should he? Everyone let him do whatever he wanted for so long. In 2008, when he quit on the Boston Red Sox in the middle of a pennant race because he wanted to be released from a contract that would only pay him 20 million dollars the following year, I argued in various forums that as great a hitter as he was, Manny Ramirez did not belong in the Hall of Fame. My reasoning: he is the most unethical baseball player since the 1919 Chicago Black Sox. Say what you will about Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and the other players tainted with steroid cheating, they always played the game hard, and never tried to hurt the teams that depended on them, or embarrass the great game that made then a wealthy celebrities.

Manny Ramirez did. I made the argument that baseball should never honor a player like Ramirez before he was suspended from baseball for drug use, before he quit on the Dodgers last year, before he was caught again this year, and, like the coward he is, retired rather than accept his punishment. No matter how badly Ramirez behaved, someone could always be counted upon to note that he was one of the greatest right-handed hitters who ever lived. Sure he was. He was also one of the most unsportsmanlike, unethical ballplayers who ever played the game.

In the end, that matters more.

2 thoughts on “Manny Ramirez’s Perfect Exit

  1. A-men. This Dodger fan loved having him on the team–we all thought that the Red Sox must have been at fault. The sainted Vin Scully gave the left field stands the name, “Mannywood,” and it stuck. The Dodgers picked up on it and used the name in their promotions. He had an amazing year, .396 BA, OPS of 1.232. Bonds-like stats.

    Cheating. And quitting. Ugh.

  2. Manny’s first couple of years on the Red Sox were kind of fun. But it got old really fast.

    I’m glad he’s out. He was an embarrassment to the game. AND, I might add, to the moronic team owners who hired him for millions and millions after his behavior when he was with the Red Sox.

    I’m sure Manny himself doesn’t care. He didn’t care about the game anyway, and can now retire on his hundreds of millions of dollars made over the years… unless, of course — and I hope this is true — he’s blown it all.

    Good riddance.

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