According to the arrest report arising from Manny Ramirez’s arrest for domestic violence last night, Ramirez and his wife were arguing. Ramirez slapped her face, causing her to hit her head on their bed’s headboard. Ramirez’s wife was afraid that the violence would escalate so she called police. She declined medical treatment but did have marks consistent with her story, the report said.
The incident itself is a subject for law enforcement now. The subject of Manny Ramirez, however, is no longer appropriately the subject of jokes and apologies.
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.
That narrative wasn’t perfect. For one thing, it didn’t really account for that time he shoved the Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground during an argument over tickets. The Manny being Manny narrative absorbed that, however, because it was quickly followed by a trade and a new set of seemingly harmless Manny behavior — and good play — once he got to Los Angeles.
But that narrative of the kooky flake doesn’t really hold water anymore. Maybe it shouldn’t have before. Either way, this is obviously very serious and very sad business.