|Manny's PED related retirement hurts everyone.||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on April 09, 2011
As a people, baseball fans are a forgiving lot.¬† Stumble once, and we'll pick you up, usually give you the benefit of the doubt, and root for you to make good.¬† Most of us gave Manny at least a shadow of a doubt that his previous suspension for PED use was indeed inadvertent and that the substance that got him banned for 50 games in 2009, was taken by accident.
But maybe Manny was just being Manny, assuming that he couldn't be caught, assuming that having gotten away with it once, that he had learned enough of a lesson to buy better undetectable drugs.
But even Manny knew the quote, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."¬† He was cunning enough to realize that the public, nor the players' union, nor the lords of baseball would believe he once again "accidentally" took a drug that happened to be on baseball's list of banned substances.
So rather than face the humiliation and scorn of his public and fans, Manny decided it was time to go away.¬† Instead of facing the music for cheating, Manny is opting for retirement, trying to duck out of sight and out of mind, maybe in the hopes of salvaging a shot at the Hall of Fame.
Of course now it's a longshot, not the sure thing it seemed before this second positive for PED use.¬† Without any hint of a return the story might well wither on the vine and die in a week or so, instead of being glaringly out in the open and being rehashed thousands of times before his return from the mandatory 100 game suspension that he would have had to serve.
For baseball fans, the tragedy here is not the downfall of Manny, and the tainting of his legacy, but how it subtracts from what promised to be one of the better storylines of the 2011 season.
Because without Manny, and a productive Manny, the odds of the Rays defending their AL East title, or even competing for the Wild Card has taken a body blow and one that detracts from the division that looked to be the best in baseball this year.
Manny was the centerpiece of the restructured Tampa Bay Rays.¬† He was supposed to fill the cleats of Carlos Pena by supplying the team with needed power and being the core player driving the offense.
Ramirez's positive test and cowardice in retiring has cheated the Rays and their fans mightily.¬† It's too late for the Rays to reach out to free agents and puts them in a position of either trading away players they don't want to part with in the attempt to patch the hole in the middle of their lineup or accepting the fact they'll probably take a huge step backwards this year and fall out of contention early in the year.
If that happens, Manny's cheating hurts every baseball fan.¬† What looked to be the best race in baseball simply won't be.¬† That detracts from the game as a whole.
That's a tragedy, and that should be all that's left of Manny's legacy.