The last we saw Manny Ramirez, he had abruptly retired from baseball early last season after a second violation of baseball’s performance-enhancing drug rules, choosing to walk away from the game rather than serve a 100-game suspension.
Ramirez wasn’t heard from again until September, when he was arrested on charges that he slapped his wife after an argument. A few months later, Ramirez filed for reinstatement from Major League Baseball’s retired list and his ban was shortened from 100 games to 50.
Currently, Ramirez is working out in Florida -- taking swings in a batting cage and getting in shape by working out in a pool -- hoping to get a tryout with a major league club this spring. Ramirez would be able to participate fully in spring training, with his 50-game ban beginning on Opening Day.
In the video above, an emotional Ramirez sits down with ESPN’s Pedro Gomez to discuss his fight to restore his image and his family life.
Here is some of the Q-and-A:
Q. Why do you want to come back?
A. “I want to show people that Manny can change, that he can do the right thing. And to show people that I still can play. I don’t want to leave the game like I did. I also want to show my kids that if you make a mistake, don’t quit. Just go back and fix it. And if you’re going to leave, leave the right way.”
Q. Why should a major league club give you a chance?
A. “First, because I can still play. Second, because I’m going to be a role model. A bunch of guys are going to look at me and say hey, this guy made a mistake but he didn’t quit. Look how he finished. He did the right thing and came back.”
Q. What impact did the arrest have?
A. “It was bad, I almost lost my family.”
Q. What do you want to show people that has changed?
A. “That I’m going to do the right thing, I’m going to keep my family.”
Q. What do you think your Hall of Fame chances are now, having been twice violated baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy?
A. “For me, now, if it happens, it’s a plus. But I got my hall of fame right here, my family.”
Q. Do you think you can still play?
A. “I know I can still play the game and I’m trying to get better. Doing this, it’s made me realize that you don’t know what you have until you lose it.”
Q. Is there anything you’re still learning about hitting?
A. “Hitting is about repetition. So that’s why I picked up swinging. It’s not only your body, it’s your mind. When you’re doing everything right, and you’re firm in life, everything comes easy. But when you have all these problems in your head and with your family, it’s hard to concentrate.”