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Manny aims to ‘be a role model,’ rehab image

Jan 12, 2012, 1:07 AM EDT

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Manny Ramirez left Major League Baseball in disgrace early last season after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy for the second time.

Rather than face the mandated 100-game suspension, and the negative attention that would come with it, Ramirez opted to retire after just five games – and one measly single in 17 plate appearances – with the Tampa Bay Rays. As if his image couldn’t fall any further, he was arrested in September and charged with battery in a domestic dispute with his wife.

Now he wants a chance to not only write a happier ending to a career that once looked like a slam dunk for Cooperstown, but also to rehabilitate his image. He pulled out all the stops in an earnest and at times emotional interview with ESPN’s Pedro Gomez. (Watch the video)

“I want to show people that Manny can change, that he can do the right thing,” Ramirez told ESPN’s Pedro Gomez in an interview. “And to show people that I still can play. I don’t want to leave the game like I did. I also want to show my kids that if you make a mistake, don’t quit. Just go back and fix it. And if you’re going to leave, leave the right way.”

Asked why a team should give him a chance, Ramirez made two points:

1. “I still can play.”

2. “I’m gonna be a role model.”

I’ll give the more cynical readers a chance to stop laughing before I continue … OK, ready?

I have to admit I had a good chuckle over Manny’s two-pronged argument, but in watching the video, you can’t help but get the feeling that he actually believes what he’s saying, and if he believes it, who knows? Maybe Ramirez does have the pride and the drive to re-write his own ending.

The real question, of course, is whether anyone will give him a chance. Ramirez does have 555 career home runs and a .312/.411/.585 line to go with it, but it’s difficult to imagine any team offering more than a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training at this point, and you have to wonder if a guy who has made more than $200 million over the course of his career will be willing to swallow his pride and take such an offer. That could be the real test to see just how serious Ramirez is.

And as earnest as Ramirez seems in his interview with Gomez, there are a couple of red flags that crop up in the video.

  • One is that Gomez says Manny “forgot how to pick up a bat during his time away,” and that he is working to retool his swing in the batting cages. That’s not a good sign given how he slid after his first failed drug test.
  • Another warning sign is his cutting edge workout regimen, complete with shower cap. Just look and see for yourself.

On the bright side, Ramirez’s suspension has been reduced to 50 games (he would begin serving it on opening day should he sign). So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

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  1. Jack Marshall - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    Fool you once, shame on Manny. Fool you 2,367 times, you’re an idiot.

    • Old Gator - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      Raise your hand if you did not fall out of your chair and land on your touchas from laughing too hard when you read the title of this thread.

  2. bearsstillsuck - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    He won’t play got another team, but I’d be shocked if he didn’t get in the hall.

    • dan1111 - Jan 12, 2012 at 4:32 AM

      The only way he doesn’t get in is if the anti-steroid contingent is strong enough to block all steroid users. However, it wouldn’t shock me if that happened.

      • Jack Marshall - Jan 12, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        Right. How about “all steroid users who were caught TWICE”? Don’t think that makes a difference? You’re dreaming.

      • dan1111 - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:33 AM

        Sure, it makes a difference, but Manny is not some marginal candidate. He is #9 all time in OPS and has 555 home runs. That makes a difference, too. I think a candidate with a slam-dunk resume like his will only be kept out if all of them are.

  3. dan1111 - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    Manny has always seemed sincere to me. He comes across as a well-meaning person with some serious weaknesses. Of course, that doesn’t cancel out his track record of doing lots of stupid things.

    • Jack Marshall - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Uh-uh. Like he sincerely struck out against Mariano Rivera intentionally to show the Red Sox he sincerely wanted to be traded. Give me a break.

      • dan1111 - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:43 AM

        That particular incident is speculation. Anyway, I’m not defending his record, which I described as “doing many stupid things”. Nor am I saying that sincerity cancels out his record.

  4. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 12, 2012 at 5:46 AM

    Maybe a bit too late for that.

    In a related story, John Kruk aims to be the stolen base champion.

    • dan1111 - Jan 12, 2012 at 6:38 AM

      Un-retiring in mid-game would be even more entertaining than retiring in mid-game!

      • deepstblu - Jan 12, 2012 at 6:56 AM

        I wonder how many kids who look at baseball statistics for the first time think Roberto Clemente might have retired in mid-game, so he could have exactly 3000 hits. (If you actually think that, ask your grandpa. Or look Mr. Clemente up on Wikipedia.)

      • paperlions - Jan 12, 2012 at 7:39 AM

        No body thinks that, no one has ever thought that, anyone that ever finds out exactly how many hits Clemente had already knew how he died.

  5. ptho16 - Jan 12, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    Manny probably still hasn’t cashed any of his checks, so money won’t matter.

  6. phukyouk - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    First step towards rehabilitation…. stop referring to yourself in the 3rd person, Douchebag!

  7. andyreidisfat - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Why is their so much hate for manny, I understand if your a rays fan, but even then it’s not like manny was the end all for that team. Of your a Boston fan, you have zero right to say anything about manny as he was half the offense for both series wins. Even the dodgers fans shouldn’t have much beef with him considering that if their was no phillies the dodgers most likely go to back to back ws.

    While I lost a lot of respect for manny when he came back positive for peds, though not as much as I lost for some other players as I think manny used to prolong his career as opposed to breaking records.

    I saw the interview and IMO he was being honest both with Pedro and himself. I would love to see this guy come to play for the phillies this year as a really strong 4-5 outfielder , in case someone doesn’t pan out

    • nudeman - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      If you believe what you just wrote then you are dumb as a box of rocks.
      Why the hate for Manny?
      Let’s see:
      1) Failed 2 drug tests
      2) Lied about it
      3) Decked the Sox traveling sec’y before they got rid of him
      4) Jogged down to 1st base to turn a force out into a DP’
      5) PH against Yankees w/2 outs in 9th; took 3 strikes on purpose to help Sox lose and force a trade
      6) Refers to self in 3rd person
      7) Is an idiot
      8) Hated by teammates
      9) Asked out of lineup with sore knee; when he went for MRI, couldn’t remember which knee it was

      Want me to keep going?

      He is sorry for getting caught. Period. Any team that signs him is dumber than he is.

      And he won’t ever be going to Cooperstown.

      • nudeman - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        Smilie face was a typo
        Should have been #8

        And yes, he’s still an idiot

      • pisano - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM

        nudeman… with that post I think you said all that needs to be said about Manny, and it’s all 100% true. I just hope he finally gets a hint that no one wants a cancer like him on their team. Adios Manny.

      • stex52 - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        Decking an elderly man and tanking on your team to get a trade are enough for me. He might have even had a chance to make up some if the subsequent experience in LA and TB had been much better.

        The HOF does have a character component. There is no doubt there are some reprobates in the hall. But in any reasonable judgment for a baseball player, quitting on your team ( a team that has enriched you beyond your wildest dreams) has got to push you off the edge.

        Phenemonally gifted hitter, Yes.

        Low life, Yes.

      • Jack Marshall - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        10. Taking the last part of the season off with a mystery injury when the team was racked with injuries in 2006, quitting on his team and making Francona play players like Youk in left field during a pennant race.

        11. Forcing the team to trade him during a close pennant race because he won’t play hard, then immediately running and hustling and hitting like his pants were on fire for the Dodgers, leaving no question that he was dogging it, and could play hard when he felt like it.

        The argument that Sox fans should just ignore his outright betrayal because Manny earned his 20 mil a year for 7 of the 10 years is brain dead logic, and I’m sick of hearing it. Manny flunked the HOF character qualifications BEFORE he tested positive for PEDs, and may be the only candidate to test positive TWICE. He’ll go into the Hall right after Jose Canseco, the one player I can think of who is a bigger jerk than Manny.

  8. bobwsc - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    he’s going the Canseco route. rapidly declining skills, little power left (and much of what he had was based on PEDs) and he’s refusing to accept the obvious. and he beat his wife and threw down a Medicare eligible traveling secretary…so there’s that side to him, which flies in the face of his delusions of role modelism.

  9. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    You chowder heads kill me. This guy was the second coming of Jesus in Boston 8 years ago, now you line up to bash him. Face it, if you don’t have Manny, you are going on year 94 this season without a championship. Period. No Manny, no titles. You know it. Is he lazy, not a good teammate, poor decision maker, not extremely intelligent? Undoubtedly. He could, however, hit the ball like few ever have. Why not just appreciate him for what he did for your team, laugh at Manny being Manny, and leave it at that?

    • Old Gator - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Because Jesus told us that we must deride the slothful, misanthropic, confused and stupid. It’s too bad that there were nothing but Republicans around when he said it and none of them bothered to write it down.

    • hammyofdoom - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      Are you kidding ? Boston fans can respect Manny for what he brought with his bat, but he literally quit on the team 06, not playing for most of the last month simply because the team wasnt making the playoffs. When you go around shoving elderly people to the ground for not giving you what you want, not giving a shit in the outfield, requesting trades every year, forgetting what knee hurts and when you’re forced to play watching nothing but strikes and never taking the bat off of your shoulder, you wear out your welcome. I was 14 when the Red Sox won their world series in 04, and Manny was always my favorite player, and while I was sad he got traded and did so well with the Dodgers, he needed to go. He COULD hit the ball better than nearly anyone, and thats what it even more infuriating when he didn’t give as much of a care as he could have because he was wasting so much talent and when I should have loved the guy whole heartedly, he made me dislike him time and again

  10. btwicey - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Good for you manny, wish him all the best.

  11. jackybadass - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    hey manny go away!

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