Manny’s Career Ended When He Forced His Way Out of Boston

The Manny Ramirez experiment in Los Angeles has been a failure.  When Manny became a cancer in the Red Sox clubhouse and completely forced his way out of town, it looked like the Dodgers were grabbing a legitimate slugger that could anchor the middle of their lineup and help propel them to the next level.  Had he not been busted for steroid use, that could very well have happened.

When I say Manny’s career ended when he was dealt to the Dodgers, I’m not implying the tank was empty.  He’s certainly had his fair share of exciting moments while playing in L.A.  The phrase “Mannywood” became an instant hit and a sign was plastered in his honor on the left field wall at Dodger Stadium.  As a result of the circumstances that have surrounded Ramirez with suspension and injury, the “Mannywood” sign is now being removed.  Factor in the struggles the Dodgers have faced as a team this season, and it appears the removal of the sign signals the end of a short era that turned out to be a disappointment in the end.

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Manny Gets Mixed Reception in Return to Fenway Park

No one knew what to expect from the Fenway faithful when Manny Ramirez returned to his old stomping grounds on Friday night for the first time since forcing his way out of town.  Personally, I thought there would be many more cheers than boos when Manny strolled to the plate.  From my experience, fans usually prefer to be a part of that special, heart-warming moment over being someone who boos a player when he returns to face his old team.  Regardless of the category you’d put yourself in, that seems to be the case.  Johnny Damon left the Boston Red Sox to sign with the Yankees because of a few million dollars, and even he got a mixed response when he returned to Fenway as a member of their most hated rival. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, here’s the video of the reception Boston fans gave Manny Ramirez in his return to Fenway Park, courtesy of Twitter user Jose3030:

Manny’s reception was a bit more mixed than I thought it would be.  Although there were a lot of people who expected the fans to let him know how they felt about the terms he left on or his involvement with PEDs, I thought they’d put all that behind them and applaud Ramirez for the seven-and-a-half years and two championships he gave them — years in which he was one of the top sluggers in the AL. Meanwhile, I wonder if Manny even realized he’s played for the Red Sox before and that’s what all the fuss was about.

Video Credit: Twitter user Jose3030

Video: Manny Ramirez Hits Bobblehead Grand Slam without Warming Up

The dichotomy of Manny Ramirez is so difficult to break down. He has the ability to light up a stadium like nobody else and provide some of the most electric moments in all of baseball. Here are a bunch of fans who booed Barry Bonds for being on roids but now they’re cheering a cheat themselves. Thing is, it’s tough not to write this as a Hollywood story. The guy gets hit on the hand the night before and is not expected to play. Late in the game with the bases loaded, the score tied 2-2, and all the fans chanting for him on his own bobblehead night, he emerges from the dugout to pinch hit. No practice swings, no batting practice before the game as he later said in his post game interview, and he crushed the first pitch he sees straight into the Mannywood section in left field.

When you see a guy with the ability to do all that, you have to wonder why he needed to cheat. This was the exact reason why he was going down as one of the most clutch players of all-time. Too bad he has to be such an arrogant jerk and ruin all the magic with his laziness, disrespect, and fertility drugs. Otherwise that was one heck of a moment.

The bobblehead was pretty spot on too:

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Manny Gets What He Had Coming

There are so many angles to this story it’s hard to know where to begin. It would be naive, and stupid, to believe that Manny Ramirez is the only guy in the bigs still using something. Only difference right now is that Manny was dumb enough to get caught. This is probably karma for Manny loafing his way in Boston and hatching the scheme to get traded away; the biggest sin in baseball is disrespecting the game and now he has to pay. Speaking of paying, does anyone luck out for this more than Frank McCourt? The cheap muther not only will still get to the playoffs with a division title, but he gets to dodge paying Manny almost $8 million. And all the ticket sales have already been made. Perfect scenario for Franky? I’d say so. OK, let’s take this a few steps further.

Joe Torre says this doesn’t diminish any of Manny’s accomplishments. I say it does. How are we supposed to know how long Manny’s been using? For all we know it could have been his entire career — the numbers have always been there, right? If not, his ’07 year with Boston might be a good jumping off point. By then he was 35 and not hitting the way he always had. As a result, did he start juicing last year as part of a tag-team effort with Boras to get the new contract and score one last big pay day? I think it’s entirely possible.

Now it appears as if pushing the traveling secretary in Boston last year could have been a roid-raging moment. What about showing up to spring training so late even though the Dodgers were willing to strike a similar deal weeks before Manny signed? Was it so he could avoid extra drug testing rather than extra workouts? Me thinks this is definitely the case. And how about the extra baggy uniform he just started wearing recently? This also became a trend in MLB the past few years. Something tells me one sharp player decided to do it so that all the new muscles added by roids would be obscured and it became a trend — for juicers. I think it definitely worked. When was the last time you heard someone say Manny had the body type of a roider? Never.

Lastly, about the possible mistake here and blaming things on a physician, there’s no doubt that Manny knew exactly what he was doing. If he really needed the hCG for fertility or health purposes, he would have received a medical exemption ahead of time. And needless to say, he would have fought the suspension kicking and screaming if he were innocent. And the argument that he’s passed around 15 drug tests in the past means nothing. Except to say that this is the first time his “physician” didn’t properly mask it. Nice going, Manny. Don’t worry, all of LA will still love you. Sadly.

The Manny Bird Already Chirping to Leave LA for Cleveland

For those of you who had the first week of the season as the date Manny Ramirez would have his first “Manny Being Manny” moment, congratulations and please step forward to claim your prize. Even though the city jumped for joy when Manny arrived at camp, I cautioned that it was only a one-year deal with a player’s option for a second year, meaning Ramirez could be gone after the season. Looks like he already has his eye set on new (but old) scenery:

“I would like to play for Cleveland one more time, to go back where I started,” said Ramirez, with the Dodgers playing their home opener Monday against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. “I have so many good memories there, why not? I think to go back where you started is everyone’s dream.”

So much for the honeymoon in Los Angeles. Wasn’t this the same Manny who proclaimed how much he loved LA and how it was the best spot for him? I’m not even sure why this guy would mention his interest in the Indians considering Cleveland’s budget constraints compared to his salary demands. Now if Manny takes a pay cut and is willing to DH in the future, I could see him going back. Just one question though: Why make this announcement now? Is he just intentionally trying to piss people off and get the McCourts nervous all over again? I guess so. He won’t even let fans enjoy the one year they might have left with comments like this one.

Jose Canseco 100% Sure There’s 90% Chance Manny Ramirez Used Steroids

Hey, laugh off what Jose Canseco says and odds are you will end up being the one laughed at in the end. Canseco proved that he’s probably the most credible figure in the messed up world of baseball; everything the guy wrote in his books turned out to be true. Rafael Palmeiro tried to tell us that the book was wrong. We all saw how that one turned out. So when Mr. Juiced appeared at USC to speak over the weekend, listeners were wise to heed his words. Even when he’s asked whether or not Manny Ramirez used roids:

Canseco laughs and offers his theory. A-Rod was exposed only when his name was leaked from a list of 104 major leaguers who in a 2003 test showed up positive for steroids. Because the test was anonymous, those names were not supposed to be made public. But in Canseco’s mind, baseball’s power brokers know who is on it: players he is sure will be seen as toxic if the truth comes out.

To Canseco, the drawn-out negotiation, the lack of a long-term deal, the lack of interest all raise red flags, and so he tells the Bovard crowd that Ramirez’s “name is most likely, 90%,” on the list.

I thought the bad economy and the Mets’ owners losing money in the Madoff scandal is the reason he wasn’t signed. Oh yeah, that whole quitting in Boston thing doesn’t help either. But if that’s what Jose thinks, then I’ll say there’s a 75% chance his 90% feeling is 100% credible. By the way, USC must have paid sweet bucks to get him to come and talk; last time I saw him at the gym he wanted $100k for an interview.

Jonathan Papelbon Says Manny Ramirez Was a Cancer with the Red Sox

This is probably something a lot of people thought, and something the press and fans said, but it’s another thing when a player says it. Then again, if any Boston player were to speak up about an issue, odds are it would be Jonathan Papelbon. Check out his description of Manny Ramirez and how Man-Ram single-handedly brought the Red Sox down:

Papelbon described Ramirez as a “cancer.”

“It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that’s exactly what was happening,” Papelbon told Esquire. “Once we saw that, we weren’t afraid to get rid of him. It’s like cancer. That’s what he was. Cancer. He had to go. It (stunk), but that was the only scenario that was going to work. That was it for us.”

The high-energy Sox closer said that he has no issue with anyone on the team being called out once they’ve crossed the line.

If there are any wonders as to why Manny was lingering on the free agent market for so long, I think Papelbon just answered the question. I hope Papelbon doesn’t catch any flack for this comment considering it seems more than fair and appropriate. I also appreciate that Papelbon is unafraid to open his mouth and act like a fool sometimes, even if it makes him look bad. That is something that needed to be said.