Manny Ramirez, who has twice failed drug tests, recently signed a minor-league contract with the Oakland Athletics. Tyler Kepner elected to write about it. You can kind of get the whole gist from his headline, which I suppose makes it a good headline:
Quitters Never Win. Well, Almost Never.
But, why don't we read beyond?
Fifty games? What happened to 100? When a fugitive skips town, shouldn't the same punishment apply if he tries to come back? Not in the case of Ramirez. He was reinstated last December when the union persuaded Major League Baseball to reduce his sentence because Ramirez had missed almost all of 2011.
Those are the facts, but this is the feeling: a two-time drug cheat really has no place on the field. The next labor agreement should eliminate the 100-game suspension and equate a second failed test to a lifetime ban. A second chance is fine, but a third chance makes a mockery of the policy.
In case you can't tell, Tyler Kepner doesn't appear to be a big fan of Manny Ramirez. Which, well, that's perfectly understandable. What would it take to be a big fan of Manny Ramirez, at this point? The man brings trouble. He hasn't always brought trouble, or he at least hasn't always brought more trouble than he's been worth, but some people age gracefully, and other people don't.
Ramirez is a symbol of an era baseball's trying to move beyond. He might still have some productivity left in the tank, and Oakland's going to try to find out, but there's an argument to be made that baseball will be better when Manny Ramirez is no longer a part of it.