Notorious for his tendency to become aloof while still managing to swing a big bat, Manny Ramirez’s arrival in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Dodgers was met with plenty of excitement and anticipation. Traded to the Dodgers from the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 1, 2008, Ramirez helped propel the Dodgers to an NL West Division title and a playoff birth. Ramirez hit .500 in the Dodgers’ three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs to advance to the NLCS to face the Philadelphia Phillies, which the Dodgers lost.
Ramirez then signed a two-year, $45 million contract prior to the 2009 season, which was expected to build on the Dodgers’ run in 2008. Roughly five weeks into the ’09 season, Ramirez was suspended 50 games for a positive drug test. Suddenly, the Dodgers were to be without the man largely responsible for their climb to relevance. In an interview with Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Ramirez believes the suspension is something to learn from:
I appreciate what I have more, he said. And I know I’ve got to take care of it. Before I do something, I’ve got to think twice: ‘If I do this, this is going to come out.’
Ramirez also told Rosenthal he doesn’t judge others who also took steroids and were caught:
When you make a mistake in life, no matter what you do, you’re going to pay the price, Ramirez said. That’s what happened to all of the players that did it. I’m not going to judge people. Everybody is human. Everybody makes mistakes.
When Ramirez returned from his suspension in 2009, he struggled to hit for the same power that he had the season prior and his batting average dropped 42 points from his 2008 finish. Now, 42, the left-fielder is out of baseball after failed attempts at a comeback with the Oakland Athletics in 2012 and Texas Rangers in 2013. Rosenthal reports Ramirez is interested in playing in the MLB again and according to his agent, Alex Gonzalez, Ramirez has interest from team’s for a potential Minor League deal.
For Dodger fans, we’ll always have Mannywood.
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