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Manny under the microscope

Mar 16, 2010, 11:17 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for manny ramirez option.jpgA summary of Bob Klapisch’s take on Manny Ramirez:  He was totally awesome until he tested positive for PEDs, and then we all realized that he was a fraud and now he needs to prove he can still produce without the drugs. But if he does produce this season we’ll have no idea if he’s doing it legitimately or not because he has every incentive to cheat.

I may not agree with Klapsich’s particular take on PED testing, but if negative PED test results are not treated as even prima facie evidence that a guy is playing clean, I’ll agree that there’s something wrong with the system.  Or something wrong with the guys who like to throw stones at everyone. Can’t decide which.

But maybe the most astonishing thing about the column is this passage:

If only Manny hadn’t succumbed to steroids, history would’ve eventually
glossed over his other transgressions, including his abandonment of the
Red Sox in 2008. The faked knee injury could’ve been written off to the
desperate act of a player who could no longer co-exist with his
teammates. But the positive test changed everything.

I personally think that the lowest point of Manny’s career — the blackest mark against him — was his behavior in his final days in Boston. He quite obviously faked his injures, quit on his teammates and when he did play didn’t even try.  That behavior, in my mind at least, was far more damaging to baseball competition than any drug he ever took.  That Klapisch can say that such behavior pales compared to his PED use suggests to me that we have either greatly overreacted to PEDs as an evil in the game or are far too dismissive of mid-2008 Manny Ramirez-style jackassery.

  1. IdahoMariner - Mar 16, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    I am not a fan of steroid use because it smacks of un-fair play. But I am offended by the total lack of even-handedness with which we respond to the various players who have tested positive or been outed, and more offended by the idea that the managers and the owners and Selig are clearly culpable but have taken no hits from the media and still feel free to do their self-righteous act whenever a mic is pointed at them.
    So, steroids suck….but..
    “mid-2008 Manny Ramirez-style jackassery” is worse. Play the f-ing game, you overpaid brat.
    captcha: to overuse

  2. (Not That) Tom - Mar 16, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    If a .314/.432/.560 (his line over the final two months in a Sox uni) is not even trying, man, I’d fear to see what he put up if here were.
    Of course, you could probably say that about his entire career but, then again, that doesn’t jibe with this piece of revisionist history.

  3. Jonny5 - Mar 16, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Amen!

  4. BC - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    He hit like .390 with 60 RBIs in 50 games with the Dodgers. THAT was trying.

  5. BC - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Says a lot about Manny that he’s laughing and joking in the dugout with Mike Lowell and David Ortiz in June when he fived the fan making a catch… and then two months later he quits on the team and Lowell and Ortiz go to management and endorse dumping him. I don’t think we’re dealing with one of the great minds in Western Civilization here.

  6. Irish - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    #2 an example of the classic apologist. Joe Sheehan wrote one of his worst columns ever about the topic, defending Manny by pointing to what he did his final month. Just garbage. Is it revisionist history when the players who were in the clubhouse say the same thing? The guy faked injuries to miss time, and didn’t play hard. That’s not to say he threw away every at-bat, but he certainly made his point clear to the people he wanted to. Remember that pinch-hit at-bat against Rivera? Three strikes looking, never took the bat off his shoulder.

  7. Pat Gray, Cavendish, Vermont - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Manny was the best Boston player ever and that includes Williams, Yaz,and Fisk. What we gotta do is get rid of Youkilis and Franconia. We need Manny back in Beantown baby!

  8. YANKEES1996 - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Manny Ramirez’s behaviour when trying to leave Boston in 2008 can be seen at will at my brothers house and is performed by his 8 year old daughter. That display was his answer to a problem he created and put on display for the entire baseball community to view. Welcome to the world of the spoiled, child like athlete, ain’t it grand!

  9. gumbercules - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Your comment is a classic example of believing what you want to believe, facts be damned. June 2008, Manny plays 24 of 26 Red Sox games. July 2008, 22 of 24. So…he missed 4 games in 2 months and pounded the living crap out of the baseball. If only they would all quit like that. Was he a prima donna and a jerk? Yes. Did he quit? No.

  10. Jay - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    On his worst day, Ramirez wasn’t half the jerk Ted Williams was on TW’s best day. But sportswriters are, by and large, white racist losers, so they continually rewrite history.

  11. Rays Fan - Mar 16, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    I remember that AB against Rivera and I’m not even a Sox fan. I agree that quiting on his team and making a mockery of the whole situation (holding up the trade me for Favre sign in the dugout) was far worse for baseball than any PED offense.

  12. InnocentBystander - Mar 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    I don’t believe he quit on the Red Sox. As previous commenters noted the numbers (both hitting and games played) indicate that. Manny unfairly gets tagged as “quitter” or “lazy”…probably because of his outfield play and his race and his other antics. And maybe he’s just simply a bad outfielder. That’s OK…butchering a fly ball, or getting a bad jump, or not knowing whether it’s slicing away or not shouldn’t label the guy as a quitter. The genius of Manny is that as bad as he is in the OF, I can’t say he’s ever brought it into the batters box with him. He may be the greatest hitter of his generation.
    Regarding the “revisionist history” comments, I would bet that it is the other way – meaning I would bet that the issue is on the organization and/or media and/or fans side, not the player. We have seen this from Boston too many times in the past – Williams, Boggs, Clemens, Nomar – to rule it out. Player is either never accepted, or upon departure is completely trashed.
    Even at this point in his career, I would take Manny on my team without a second thought.

  13. Mike - Mar 16, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Too many short memories here.
    Back in 08 Manny had a list of issues with management, and it all stemmed from Manny and his agent from Hell wanting the Red Sox to throw out his current contract (IE not exercise their option to keep him another year for $20 million) and renegotiate a new, longer contract. Since the Red Sox were under no obligation to make that decision before November they stalled. Manny didn’t like that so he went out of his way to cause problems. He absolutely did quit on the team. The at bat against Rivera was just one example, he refused to play a game, said it was his knee. They took MRI’s of both, no problems. The next night he says it’s now his other knee. Those are just a couple examples, but the point remains: he wanted more money and was willing to screw over his team to try to force their hands, instead he got traded and the Red Sox dodged a bullet in more ways than one.

  14. Rays fan - Mar 16, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    1) This was not posted by me, the person who’s used this handle for months now.
    2) “That Klapisch can say that such behavior pales compared to his PED use suggests to me that we have either greatly overreacted to PEDs as an evil in the game or are far too dismissive of mid-2008 Manny Ramirez-style jackassery.”
    Why is this an either/or question? The terms are not mutually exclusive, and I think both are true.

  15. Yank Fan Dave - Mar 16, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    1. How about throwing the press secretary down to the ground? Remember that little bit of teammating? I think the fact that Lowell and Ortiz were on board with shipping Manny out of Boston tells us more about the situation than any info readily available to the public.
    2. At least PED use can be attributed to trying. Quitting or otherwise causing problems on your team because they are ONLY paying you $20MM is despicable.

  16. Smit - Mar 16, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    I have to disagree with you on this one. Manny’s lil exit out of Boston is between him, his teamates, the Sox and their fans. No one really cares but Boston and 20 years from now Boston won’t care that much (see 2 world series’). His PED use cheated everyone. Opposing pitchers, competing players and teams and their fans. That is why PED users should never be in the hall unless they come clean and it can be determined (which it never fully can) that the player was putting up HOF #’s before his PED use.

  17. JT - Mar 16, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    “quite obviously faked his injures, quit on his teammates and when he did play didn’t even try.”
    I expected better then this from you Craig. You’re always getting on people for saying certain guys used steroids even when there isn’t any proof, and you;re doing the same thing here.
    How do you know he wasn’t hurt? I would guess that almost every baseball player hurts every day during the season even if there is nothing wrong. How do you know Manny just didn’t have a particularly bad day?
    And saying that when he did play he didn’t try is just patently false. He had one bad month in 08, and that was before the accusations started.

  18. JoeT - Mar 16, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Manny is one of those guys that took PEDs that the sportswriters like to beat up on, even if they say that it’s not about the PED use. A-Rod and most of the other users get treated with kid gloves. If Manny could speak better English he would be treated much better.

  19. DENNIS PALONE - Mar 16, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Boy, did you ever hit the nail on the head. Manny is a moron,and his buddy Ortiz isn’t much better. As far as I’m concerned they both eat out of the same trough.

  20. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 16, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    The Red Sox drafted a formal letter of suspension of Manny in July 2008 just before he was traded. The grounds: he refused to play in two games against the Yankees, claiming he had a sore knee. The Red Sox ordered him to have an MRI done on his knee, except when he got to the facility with the MRI, he claimed he couldn’t remember which knee it was. They did MRIs on both knees and no damage was found in either. He was miraculously healthy enough to play within an hour of the suspension letter being delivered to him.
    He had no more issues with his knee after that and, of course, put up otherworldy performance after he was traded to the Dodgers. Between this and other incidents Manny had with teammates and team personnel that year, it was quite obvious that he was creating a serious disruption on the team.
    I’ve long defended Manny Ramirez and believe that you take the good with the bad when it comes to his performance and behavior. But you simply can’t pretend that he wasn’t a poor teammate in 2008 simply because he hit the ball hard when he chose to play.

  21. IdahoMariner - Mar 16, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    arggh! I totally forgot about his battering the travel secretary. that was a classless bit of trash.

  22. JT - Mar 16, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    I don’t doubt that is true, and I think he probably did fake his injuries, but even that he couldn’t remember which knee was (alegadly) bothering him, that doesn’t mean it was definitly faked. Just like even though it’s obvious that a lot of the guys that got bigger in the 90s were on roids, it doesn’t automatically make them all guilty.
    Again, I do think he was a bad teammate, and I don’t doubt that he was faking it, but the suspension notice is no smoking gun. There have been plenty of times that organizations have railroaded players they wanted to get rid of (see the Cubs). Not every ache and pain shows up on an MRI.
    Also, it is pretty obvious that when he was playing he was trying.

  23. jackie boy - Mar 16, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    I can’t wait until this guy just goes away. I believe he’s “The Original Village Idiot”

  24. lanny - Mar 16, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    That my friend would be a complement to Manny ,and an insult to the Village Idiot.prate two

  25. Charlie - Mar 16, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    As a Cleveland fan, I’ve always found it strange that Manny’s truly bad behavious started AFTER he left the Tribe. He was definitely goofball while he was here but was also one of the key driving forces of the Indians offense.
    He didn’t start doing these obnoxious things until he made the mistake of leaving the fairly easy going town of Cleveland for the more soap opera like town of Boston. I think he caught up in the craziness there and became the Franken-Manny we see today.
    Too bad he didn’t end up staying here instead. Cleveland will probably always get stamped with the whole “mistake on the lake” thing but I’d much rather live here in the blue bloods of Boston. Much nicer town (rust belt or no).

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