Fans are paying to see Manny being absent

July 7, 2011 

Manny Ramirez played his last Major League Baseball game on April 7.

On July 1, he received a $1,968,677 check from the Boston Red Sox, a team he last played for in July 2008.

Ramirez will continue to get a check from the Red Sox each year for at least this amount through 2026. That's about $32 million in deferred payments over 16 years.

In addition, the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom Manny played for from August 2008 through August 2010, still owe him $8 million in deferred payments. This is the team that just declared bankruptcy and had trouble meeting its payroll last week.

Aren't long-term baseball contracts wonderful?

That one was awarded to one of the Steroid Era's poster boys. The original $160 million, eight-year contract with the Red Sox was signed in December 2000 when Manny was a free agent.

Ramirez stands unique. Absurdly, he failed three drug tests during his career. Was he just plain dumb? Not smart enough to know how to beat the system as many of his peers did? Or was it arrogance and another case of "Manny Being Manny."

Maybe Ramirez felt he had little to lose last winter when he continued using performance enhancing drugs after signing with Tampa Bay for a pittance -- $2 million.

When he was told he tested positive during spring training and would be suspended for 100 games this season, he promptly retired.

Tough luck Tampa, it's just Manny Being Manny.

Ramirez didn't even bother to inform the Rays of his retirement. They learned about it from the commissioner's office and not from him or his agent, Scott Boras. Aren't they a pair of peachy guys?

Unlike the Red Sox and Dodgers, Manny didn't cost the Rays much money.

I am sure many Boston fans will insist Ramirez was worth every penny. Heck, he led the Sox to two World Series titles (2004 and 2007) after an 86-year drought.

On the other hand, the Yankee fans will insist those were tainted championships and Boston still hasn't legitimately won a World Series since 1918.

I'm wondering about the Fenway Faithful who now are asked to pay $100 a seat to watch their heroes play. Do you suppose some might resent the fact that Manny was a big factor in ticket prices escalating over the last 10 years?

What I can't forget is Ramirez's last season with the Red Sox when he frequently failed to run out ground balls, loafed on balls hit to him in the outfield and pulled himself out of the lineup against the Yankees, claiming he had sore knees when MRI exams showed no damage to either one.

This was at a time when Boras was unhappy with the progress in negotiations with the Red Sox for a new lucrative contract. The agent denied it, but some thought that Manny's actions were orchestrated by Boras in an effort to get him traded.

There is a lesson to be learned here. But somehow I feel baseball owners, who have the money, will keep on doling out these long-term contracts.

And the fans will keep paying.

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service