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The name ‘Manny Ramirez’ has significant implications in this area. Every New England sports fan can recall some grand memory of the days of Manny patrolling left field at Fenway. The bathroom break in the Green Monster during the non-pitching change, the dugout fight with Kevin Youkilis, the high five to a fan in Baltimore on a running catch and double play, and the legendary Johnny Damon cutoff play. For me, it’s got to be Manny selling a grill on eBay.
It’s truly amazing that Theo Epstein and Terry Francona managed to put up with his antics for as long as they did. It seems that no matter what, the world of ‘Manny Being Manny’ continues to deliver headlines, even now in a Brett Favre-esque retirement stage as it seems. The recent news that Manny was looking into playing baseball again in Winter baseball led to his realization that he is ineligible to do so until he serves the 100-game suspension he retired away from in the first place. The question out of this bizarre situation is whether or not the retirement period should count towards the 100 games. If so, then his time is served and he can return for 2012. If not, then he will have to find a team willing to sign him to a contract for next season, knowing that he will be unable to actually play a game until mid-July.
The only real stance for Manny’s sudden retirement counting towards the 100 games is those with sympathy for the former star slugger, once thought of as the greatest right-handed hitter in the game. People want to see Manny play baseball in the Major Leagues. It doesn’t matter the team or the city or his significance on a roster. If a team signs Manny to play for them next season, fans will want to see him on the field creating story lines as he always seems to. A perfect fit could be the Florida Marlins, who are switching to a new stadium in 2012 and becoming the Miami Marlins, certainly reasons enough to try and bring in new fans. Such a lengthy suspension to begin the season would certainly harm Manny’s chances at being signed, though. It would difficult for any teams to try and account for an aged outfielder coming out of retirement on their roster in the offseason, especially with him having to be absent for the first three and half months of the season.
I think Manny still needs to serve his suspension, and will at the start of this upcoming season. Personally I’m not against the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball, but I do stand by the fact that players who make such decisions need to accept the punishments handed down by Major League Baseball. In the end, I think there’s a general manager out there somewhere who will be willing to take a flyer on him, even if it’s for no other reason than to make a headline. Kind of like Manny himself.