Manny Ramirez has decided to retire from professional baseball amid speculation of a second positive drug test. The debate has already started on whether his legacy will be based primarily on his statistics, drug tests or “Manny being Manny” moments. The Tampa Bay Rays were still searching for their first win in 2011.

It seemed to make sense when the Rays added Ramirez to the roster as the designated hitter for the 2011 season. The team was in need of a good right-handed power hitter and Ramirez needed a good season under his belt following his stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. Manny’s Rays career included a whopping 17 at-bats and one hit.

That’s how the story always goes with Manny. It’s always a honeymoon start, followed by awkward absences and ending with an abrupt departure.

His time in Tampa was no different.

Manny arrived in Tampa appearing to be in great physical shape and won over Joe Maddon and the clubhouse. The opening press conference with Manny and Johnny Damon looked like two old buddies reuniting at the end of their career. During spring training, there were stories of him showing up on his days off to take part in hitting drills and be a part of the team.

Then came the predictable absences.

On May 30, Manny was absent from a Rays game due to personal reasons.

Finally, the abrupt departure.

Yesterday, Ramirez told Major League Baseball that he will be retiring. As expected it came as a total shock to his teammates, fans and other players around the league. Also, as expected was Manny’s response as if nothing significant occurred.

“I’m at ease,” Ramirez told via phone from his home in Miami. “God knows what’s best [for me]. I’m now an officially retired baseball player. I’ll be going away on a trip to Spain with my old man.”

When it’s all said and done, Manny will always be Manny. I hope anyone that bought his Tampa Bay Rays jersey hasn’t worn it and still has the receipt.

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