– Rays’ OF Manny Ramirez has retired from baseball. Fitting, it seems, as Manny’s entire career was plagued by controversy, and his retirement is no different. According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, Ramirez failed a drug test during spring training–he was notified about one week ago and decided to retire “rather than continue with the process.” Ramirez would have faced a 100-game suspension for a second positive test, so the Rays wouldn’t have had him back until much later in the summer. MLB issued the following statement:
“Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the statement said. “Rather than continue with the process under the Program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.”
Ramirez played just five games for the Rays (0-6) this season, going 1-for-16 with four strikeouts and getting booed by the Tropicana Field crowd on Tuesday night. He missed Thursday’s game against the White Sox after manager Joe Maddon said the 38-year-old was attending to “a personal matter.”
It’s quite possible that Manny has just ended any chance of entering the Hall of Fame with this second failed substance test. Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star, owns a stellar .312/.411/.585 batting line to go along with 555 career home runs, 1,831 RBI and a .312/.411/.585 line over nine seasons. The PED suspension will certainly cloud his legacy, but he will be remembered as one of the most feared right-handed hitters of all-time. He is one of just five players in MLB history with at least 550 home runs and a .300 average–though that may mean nothing now:
Babe Ruth 714 .342
Manny Ramirez 555 .312
Hank Aaron 755 .305
A-Rod 615 .303 (playing this afternoon)
Willie Mays 660 .302
Barry Bonds 762 .298 (just missed)
– A potential return to the big leagues at some point down the road should not be completely ruled out – to say Ramirez is eccentric is a bit of an understatement – but as of now it appears his career is over.
– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (concussion) isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the playoffs. Crosby has been practicing with the Penguins, but he still isn’t cleared for contact. Coach Dan Bylsma said, “He has a couple more steps to go in his rehabilitation before he can even think about returning to play. I don’t know how fast that’s going to happen. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Considering he has a couple more steps to go through it seems like anything in the immediate future is out of the question.” Sid in the lineup would make the Pens the team to beat, but they’d be foolish to risk his long-term health by forcing him back in.
– Avalanche’ D Adam Foote has formally announced that he will retire at the end of the season. “While we have two games left, I thought it was important to address everyone (and announce) that this would be my last season, and I want to thank the organization for allowing me to say goodbye in this unique way. At the start of the season I was never 100% certain that this would be my last (season), but after 20 years in the NHL, retirement was obviously a realistic possiblity, and discussing it with my family this year, we felt this was the right time to retire.” Foote is suffering from an ankle injury, so he may sit out the final two games.
– NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will be live in TSN’s studio to reveal the order of selection for the top picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Draft Drawing involves clubs that do not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or the clubs that acquired the 1st-round drafting positions of those non-playoff clubs. Per NHL rules, the club selected in the Draft Drawing may not move up more than four positions in the draft order. Thus, the only clubs with the opportunity to receive the 1st-overall selection are the five teams with the lowest regular-season point totals, or the clubs that acquired an eligible club’s first-round draft pick. No club will move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Drawing. Based on team finish, the percentage chance of being selected in the Draft Drawing is:
30th place team – 25.0%
29th place team – 18.8%
28th place team – 14.2%
27th place team – 10.7%
26th place team – 8.1%
25th place team – 6.2%
24th place team – 4.7%
23rd place team – 3.6%
22nd place team – 2.7%
21st place team – 2.1%
20th place team – 1.5%
19th place team – 1.1%
18th place team – 0.8%
17th place team – 0.5%
The 2011 NHL Entry Draft will take place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The first round will take place on Friday, June 24, commencing at 7 p.m. ET and the subsequent rounds (two through seven) will begin at 11 a.m. ET Saturday, June 25.
– Former WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus is on a promotional tour this weekend promoting the much anticipated release of Ball Enforcers. She appeared on the Busted Open satellite show this morning and notably confirmed reports that John Morrison gave her the cold shoulder during their post-match celebration at WrestleMania XXVII. She also confirmed reports that he passed over suggestions she had for working together. Here are some highlights of what Trish said about:
Trish Stratus on John Morrison snubbing her at Wrestlemania: “I got a bit of cold shoulder action, correct. John Morrison himself is amazing. He’s a great athlete. I was really looking forward to working with him. I thought it would be cool if we could do some stuff together. He didn’t think it would be that cool. Hey, whatever, it happens. You know he’s into his thing and just didn’t think that I should part of his thing I guess, but I still admire him as an athlete, as a performer. I think he does a great job out there. Cold shoulder? Yeah I felt it. I was shunned. Some people are not smart maybe? You know they wrestle well, but maybe they’re not smart. I don’t know.”
On John Cena’s persona, and could she teach him how to wrestle? “Yeah because he has no idea right? I mean if he could only learn how to wrestle he’d really learn how to come along in this business. So you would like to have his character developed further. You would like to get to know him a little bit more? Maybe that’s all he’s got. What can I say?”
On working with Snooki: “The first move she ever did when she was on Raw that one time was a ‘crotch drop,’ and then she did the ‘butt bump’ (at Wrestlemania). It works. It’s kind of cool because this is what I do as a tough enough trainer. I had to access these kids. Right? So I had to say what is your athletic background? If you’re an athlete? Boom. You’re already in. That’s the first thing I look for. Forget the charisma because I’ll see if that’s there, but initially I need to know in order to do what we need to do in this business you need to be an athlete.
“Number one she told me she came from a cheerleading background as well as being a gymnast. A partier does not qualify. Well you know we went to New Jersey her and I. Yeah so I saw the New Jersey side of things. Pretty interesting. She had some moves. The ‘bitch slap.’ I don’t know if that’s really a move, but that works, but that’s what I had to do. I had to access what she can do. Basically we play up her strengths. We play up what she can do.
“She did this crazy triple Lindy back flip thing. That worked awesome. I think she surprised everyone. I tell you the coolest thing that Snooki went out there and the fans did not like her. She’s on the good guys’ side and they booed the heck out of her. She just took it in though. The minute she did those flips the crowd was like ‘that’s cool.’ Okay, we’re down with that. So she swerved 70,000 fans in an instant, which is pretty awesome.”
– “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was interviewed by the WWE website this week to hype the new WWE All Stars video game. Here are some highlights of what the Texas Rattlesnake said about:
If He Were Still Wrestling, Would He Want To Wrestle CM Punk? “Damn right it is. CM Punk is one of my favorite WWE Superstars right now. I like what he brings to the ring, I like his mental game. I think a rivalry between “Stone Cold” and CM Punk would have been a hell of a spectacle and a lot of entertainment.”
Which WWE Legends He Wishes He Could Have Wrestled In His Prime: “I wish I would’ve gotten a chance to wrestle Curt Hennig when I was truly at the top of being “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and he was truly at the top of being Mr. Perfect. When I talk to these young guys [on WWE Tough Enough] about what they need, Curt Hennig had it. He was vicious, he had a mean streak … just a top-notch performer. Jerry Lawler’s another guy. A lot of people know him for his announcing, but he’s one of my favorite in-ring performers. You go back to some of his stuff in Mid-South or USWA and, man, that guy was tremendous.”
Which Current WWE Superstar Is Carrying On His Legacy: “You know, the closest comparison you could make would be Randy Orton, but, man, when someone wants to make comparisons to me, it’s just like making a comparison to Michael Jordan. For a period of time, I was the hottest person on two feet that had ever been in the business. I set all kinds of records from attendance to merchandise to ratings records. When someone can beat that, then I’ll say, “Yep, they beat me.” But no one’s done that.”
– Updating a previous item, a number of people are expected to be released from WWE in the very near future. In most previous years, the company has let go several mid-card wrestlers as well as members of the office staff as part of a “spring cleaning” to cut costs and free up roster space. When WWE announced its 2010 year end financial results a few months ago, the fact that the company’s adjusted net income was down several million dollars from 2009 made the argument for “cost cutting” even stronger this year. Especially with the great deal of young talent WWE has been cultivating through NXT, Tough Enough and its developmental system through FCW, WWE has more of a need than ever to make cuts. Expect the cuts to begin as soon as next Friday.
– The season finale of WWE’s Tough Enough is scheduled for June 6 at 8:00 p.m. on the USA Network.
– WWE Hall of Famer Sunny claimed earlier this week on her Facebook account that a WWE Diva is engaged to a chef on the Food Network. It’s being speculated that the engaged couple is Gail Kim and Robert Irvine, who appears on a variety of Food Network programs. Irvine sat with Kim at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday. Regarding the rumour, Kim commented on Twitter, “Why is every1 saying I’m married? Lol! P.s. I don’t talk about my personal life…thanks for the kindness and respect.”
– The Pistons have officially been sold to billionaire financier Tom Gores, who intends to keep the team in Detroit. The deal must be approved by the NBA’s board of governors, which should happen within a week. It’s a relief for all, as negotiations had started, stalled, and dragged on for months without resolution.
– It was reported earlier this week that former WWE star Scott Hall had been hospitalized due to a drug overdose. Hall’s reps over at Lightening Entertainment issued the following statement on Thursday night disputing the original report:
For Immediate Release
New York, NY
Recent rumors regarding wrestler Scott Hall following a drug overdose were denied by Scott Hall’s rep Geena Jinev Anac of Lightening Entertainment. “I just spoke to Scott, he is at home, doing fine in Orlando FL.
“Late last night Scott was at the hospital due to extremely low blood pressure & his doctor changed his blood pressure medication. Scott never overdosed last night, he is still recovering from last summer’s double pneumonia & is being treated for heart. Scott regularly visits the hospital for blood work & checkups.”
“All these rumors on the media are completely untrue & fabricated. “Scott is thankful to all his fans for their continuous support through thick and thin and looking forward in his future appearances throughout the states.” Concluded Geena Jinev Anac