It was a risk, according to most sports columnists in and around the Oakland area, for the As to decide to sign controversial player Manny Ramirez. While there is little doubt that Ramirez is a great player, his legacy has been tainted by accusations of drug use. At one point Ramirez even said he was going to retire than go through with the testing and suspension process that Major League Baseball had set aside for him. However, the allure of baseball was too much for Ramirez and, in December of 2011, he asked for reinstatement in Major League Baseball. Since then, the fans of the As, and baseball fans in general, have been asking: will he make his return to the "Big Show?"
Ramirez has impressive numbers. He has
555 home runs for his career. He was on the Boston Red Sox both times
that team made it to the World Series and won championships. He was the
World Series MVP in 2004. He has been an American League All Star an
impressive 12 times and has notched nine Silver Slugger awards.
Ramirez’s overall batting average stands at a remarkable .312. He also
has 2,574 overall hits and 1,831 RBI.
By most standards, those numbers should make Ramirez wanted and
coveted by any team in any league. Except that Ramirez is also known
for bringing trouble. For example, in 2008 he got into a very heated
confrontation with one of his own teammates, Kevin Youkilis. It was
speculated that it was over the fact Youkilis felt Ramirez responded
slowly to a benches-clearing brawl just two innings earlier.
Ramirez has also had trouble in his personal life. In September
of 2011, Ramirez was arrested in his home on charges of domestic
battery. The charges were later dismissed, but his reputation for being
Then came the accusations that he was using
performance-enhancing drugs. The first test came up positive in April of
2011. He was tested again, and the test again came up positive. Ramirez
dropped his appeals and declared that he would retire. That lasted
until December of 2011 when it was rumored he would play winter ball in
the Dominican Republic, and when that fell through he asked for
reinstatement into the big leagues.
He was soon signed by the Oakland As, a team desperately
looking for power hitting. He has to serve a 50-game suspension before
he can officially play for the team. He has now asked to be released
from his Oakland As contract, in hopes of finding a new team that will
allow him to play. His suspension ended as of May 30, 2012, and now fans
are just wondering, will he play? So far, the baseball fans of the
world are still waiting to see what happens. And, if it happens, will be
redeem himself by proving that he is worth the risk the As have taken
by signing him?