We covered Manny Ramirez’s retirement from all angles here Friday, but I had one lingering question about the whole situation: Why did Ramirez retire rather than simply serve his impending 100-game suspension?
After all, if he served the suspension Ramirez could have conceivably returned to the Rays’ lineup in August and September. And even if the Rays wanted nothing to do with him, serving the suspension would at least get it out of the way should he somehow find another gig late this season or in 2012. Why not let the 100 games burn off just in case?
He wouldn’t have gotten paid during a suspension and forfeited his salary anyway by retiring, so perhaps Ramirez was informed of the coming suspension and basically just said, “Aw, screw it, I’m done.” And that certainly makes sense. By retiring he can also claim, technically, that he wasn’t suspended. For whatever that’s worth.
However, if Ramirez ever decides to make a comeback and beats the odds by actually convincing one of the 25 or so teams he hasn’t pissed off already to sign him, he’ll now have to sit out 100 games first. Which probably takes the odds of a comeback from 1 percent to .01 percent.
I understand the impulse of wanting to wash his hands of the entire situation and just be done with everything, but if the money is the same and the impact of not playing is the same, what is the upside of choosing immediate retirement over a 100-game suspension?
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: