Manny Ramirez was "being Manny" one more time, with even his retirement announcement coming under unusual circumstances. The slugger's abrupt departure from the game has already generated a great deal of controversy, and here's a sampling of some of the reaction…
- The overwhelming feeling from media members is that Ramirez's latest brush with a drug suspension probably ends his chances of being voted into the Hall of Fame. One anonymous Cooperstown voter tells CBSSports.com's C. Trent Rosecrans that he "would have had a hard time voting for [Ramirez] before today. The fact that it happened again, I wouldn't vote for him now." ESPN's Amy K. Nelson wonders if Ramirez will even stay on the HOF ballot past his first year of eligibility. (Twitter link)
- As Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com puts it, "if [Ramirez] had two positive tests after MLB began issuing steroid suspensions in 2005, how can we give him the benefit of the doubt that his numbers from the 1990s weren’t juiced, too?"
- Adding to Ramirez's ignomy is this fact tweeted by ESPN's Buster Olney: Ramirez would've been the first player to face a 100-game suspension under Major League Baseball's drug policy. Technically, Ramirez would've just been the first Major League player to face such a long suspension — Ramon A. Castro and Prentice Redman received suspensions for 105 and 100 games, respectively, while on minor league rosters.
- Bobby Jenks tells WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane that his former White Sox teammate is "a really good guy" but didn't mince words about Ramirez's situation. "You do it, you get caught, you’re an idiot. If you do it again you’re a dumbass,” said Jenks. “I mean, it’s sad to see. One of the greatest hitters, or one of them, to make the same mistake twice, same bad choice."
- Ozzie Guillen, Ramirez's manager last year in Chicago, praised Ramirez as a quality player and good teammate, but also praised the strength of MLB's drug-testing policy. “It shows people that Major League Baseball is after [drug users]," Guillen said. "They’re not playing around. They’re letting the players know how tough they’re going to be.”
- The retirement is "a miserable way to go," writes Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Ramirez's career "ends in shame, the story of a phenomenal hitter who tried to hang on too long and by any means. There’s no final Manny quip, no dramatic last at-bat, no last chapter to make it right.
- Jonah Keri of Fangraphs thinks Ramirez's retirement, Evan Longoria's injury and an 0-6 start may inspire the Rays to already throw in the towel on the 2011 season. Keri thinks Jeff Niemann, James Shields, Johnny Damon and Dan Johnson could become trade bait, though Keri also notes that Tampa Bay could just as easily keep some veterans around so as to keep young stars like Desmond Jennings from accumulating service time.
- Cork Gaines of the Rays Index predicts the team will stay mostly silent about the circumstances surrounding Ramirez's departure: "They will defer everything to Manny and Scott Boras and try to push as much of the stink in their direction."
- Rays manager Joe Maddon tweets that Ramirez's retirement "is a galvanizing moment for us."