Drugs are bad business for baseball. Manny Ramirez announced his retirement from the game last week because he didn’t want to serve a 100-game suspension as a second time offender of Major League Baseball‘s drug policy.
Had Ramirez accepted his suspension, he would have become the first player to be suspended twice for a performance-enhancing drug violation since the program went into effect in 2005. The only previous player to be punished twice for any type of drug-related violation was infielder Neifi Perez, who served two suspensions in 2007 for positive amphetamine tests.
In 2009, sources told ESPN.com, after Ramirez was informed of his first violation of the PED act, he initiated an appeal but then dropped it and accepted his suspension. After he was informed of this violation, he notified the commissioner’s office that rather than appeal or serve another suspension, he was simply announcing his retirement.
By retiring, he avoided having MLB formally announce that he’d violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Instead, MLB issued a release stating only that it had informed Ramirez of “an issue” under that program, and he had chosen to retire.
Manny now joins the tainted ranks of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds as the darlings of the disgraceful “Steroid Stretch” of Major League Baseball that the rest of us would prefer to forget ever happened. Erase those players from the game in every way.
Unfortunately, we now have an indelible generation of baseball players who will be touched and doubted by the Hall of Fame because of these drug scandals, and we all wonder if their accomplishments were real or faked with drugs.
Manny’s downfall makes one question his real talent. Was he better at smashing home runs, or was he more facile at fooling his body, and us, with illicit drugs aimed to enhance his performance on the ball field?
Were we wrong to believe more in the immortal myth than in the moral man? That question is answered now, and Manny will suffer the condemnation of his nation of peers — and he really has no defense against the disdain because he retired in shame, and not glory, and his legacy is now one of permanently striking out.