The Courtroom: Manny Ramirez Retires

Manny RamiROIDS

Tampa Bay Rays slugger Manny Ramirez is retiring.  Yup you heard me.  All I can say is finally.  Good riddance.  I’m glad that clown is gone.  I can breathe a sigh of relief in the fact that I’ll never have to see “Manny being Manny” ever again.  But why the sudden retirement?  Well Ramirez had been informed that he failed a drug test during spring training.  Rather than face a 100 game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy a second time, he decided to retire.  You have to be the biggest idiot to try to sneak in PED usage after already getting caught once.  By the way, there have been others to fail the drug test twice, but Ramirez is the first to fail the drug test twice for PED’s.  Considering that he was 38 years old and way past his prime, this was probably an easy decision.  Also, ever since he got busted back in 2009 for taking PED’s and serving a 50 game suspension, he hasn’t been the same.  Getting off the juice really does have an effect.

Now comes the big question–does Manny Ramirez belong in the Hall of Fame?  My answer? A big NO.  Really now Judge? Are we supposed to ignore the 2,574 hits, the 555 homers (14th all time), the .585 career slugging percentage, the .996 OPS?  How about the 1,831 RBIs (18th all time), including 12 seasons of 100-plus (only Alex Rodriguez, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig had more 100-RBI seasons)?  And all those awards: 12x All-Star (1995, 1998-2008), 9x Silver Slugger (1995, 1999-2006), 2x World Series Champion in 2004 and 2007 including the 2004 World Series MVP, AL batting title in 2002, AL home run title in 2004, and AL RBI title in 1999.  Yup ignoring all that stuff.  

This begs the question of how I view players connected with steroids and the Hall of Fame.  I have debated with others and myself for a long time now whether players accused or suspected of doing steroids into the Hall of Fame.  Here’s my reason for “no.”  While taking these drugs may have not been against the rules until 2006, these players still cheated the game.  The integrity of the game of baseball was shit on.  Some may say the booming home run’s of the  late 90’s (especially the great home run race of ’98 between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa) saved baseball.  In a way it did.  But was it worth the sacrificing of integrity?  Were these incredible feats capable without steroids?  I don’t think so.  And in Manny’s case, he was caught after steroids became illegal in baseball, which is why he gets a big “no.”

Now for the “yes” side of the argument.  While I believe the integrity of the game was destroyed as a result of steroids, the last thing I want to do is try to determine who I think did or did not do steroids.  I also don’t want to judge their character; personally, I would not have taken steroids, but just because I wouldn’t have doesn’t make me any better than those who choose to (although it makes me healthier).  And character really isn’t part of the Hall of Fame equation.  I mentioned in my Dennis Rodman article that just because you aren’t a saint, you shouldn’t be excluded from the Hall.  It’s about on-field achievements.  But Judge!  The numbers of steroid users are inflated! Sure they are, but they are just that–numbers.

However, if I was forced to choose an answer, I would say “no” to anyone associated with steroids.  In the end, I just can’t bring myself to vote for (even though I don’t vote but hypothetically speaking) a steroid user.  I can’t respect those who not only cheated the game of baseball but cheated themselves as well.  Cheated themselves?  What do you mean Judge?  Here’s an example of my own competitive athletic experience.  I worked so hard during my high school wrestling career to be the best I could be; I was proud that I all I had accomplished was through hard work.  I knew fellow wrestlers who did steroids, and I never looked at them the same way.  What they saw as an edge I saw as a shortcut.  It feels moar rewarding to achieve greatness through blood, sweat, and tears.

So yes, it’s an ethical issue for me, and yes, I am judging them even though I stated earlier that I don’t want to judge others ( 1. I made that argument for the sake of being unbiased 2. I follow through with this principle 90% of the time believe it or not and 3.  I’m the Judge :P).  Also, we’re human; we can’t help but judge (as reflected by the 10% where I do contradict myself and decide to judge others).  So in conclusion, with the confirmed users like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez, leave them out.  With the suspected users like Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa, just use your common sense.  Until next time people…

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