I always liked Manny Ramirez. He was a unique, seemingly creative and an eccentric baseball player that found enormous success despite straying from the cookie cutter approach that so many other baseball players take.
I right there to defend him after the first time he tested positive for banned substances, and after the second time, I was more disappointed than angry. Still, there was a feeling among his fans as we scrambled to come up with excuses for his actions that while Manny may be misguided, he certainly wasn’t malicious.
This sentiment is well described by Craig Calcaterra from HardBall Talk:
I don’t think even the harshest Manny Ramirez critics ever considered him to be a truly bad guy. His transgressions were usually seen as those of an absent-minded man. A flake. Someone with motivation problems. The PED stuff was troubling, but so many ballplayers did it that it spoke more to his baseball character than some inherent personal flaw apart from said laziness. Those of us who truly believed in the concept of Manny being Manny thought of him as a mostly benign eccentric.
Things changed last night after Ramirez was arrested by police in Florida on battery charges stemming from a physical altercation with his wife. The former Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers and Rays outfielder allegedly slapped his wife during a dispute, causing her to hit her head off the headboard of the bed. Ramirez denies that he hit her.
The “Manny being Manny” blanket can cover a variety of sins, but spousal abuse in any sense is too large of an issue to laugh off with a catch phrase. Not cool, Manny. Not cool.