LOS ANGELES—According to his teammates, his coaches, and the media, Manny Ramirez has appeared visibly confused and anxious since receiving a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy, and has repeatedly asked those around him if he is in some sort of really big trouble right now.
"Uh-oh, things are not going so good for me I don't think," Ramirez was overheard saying to Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley. "Chad? Did I do something bad? If I did bad, I did not mean to do it."
"I tried to put on my uniform today and the day before that and Joe [Torre] told me not to do that," the left fielder added. "Chad…. Chad? Chad. Hey, Chad, do you think Joe is mad at me? I am not mad at him. Is Joe mad at me?"
Sources close to the Dodgers organization confirmed that ever since the suspension was handed down last Thursday, the visibly worried Ramirez has spent the majority of his time sitting in the clubhouse biting his fingernails and saying to himself, "Something is no good right now. Something is definitely no good."
In addition, a sulky Ramirez reportedly spent Tuesday afternoon pacing back and forth in front of Joe Torre's office in an apparent attempt to get the manager to invite him inside. When Torre exited his office without acknowledging the 2004 World Series MVP, Ramirez muttered, "I must be in big, big trouble, man. Big trouble."
"I think things are really bad because the people are being different toward me right now," Ramirez told reporters gathered around his locker Wednesday. "The people with the microphones who stand in front of the cameras and write the things in their books? They are talking about me differently than they usually talk about me. Usually they smile and laugh when they talk about me. But not now."
"You kind of look like them," Ramirez added.
Ramirez claimed he began feeling like he was in trouble during Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, when he found he was not in the starting lineup, was not asked to pinch-hit, and was left off the team plane when it departed Los Angeles for Philadelphia.
"Being suspended is one thing, man, but not being able to play baseball is really, really bad," Ramirez said. "I am going to miss baseball very much. I would like to tell everybody that I really love baseball, and that I love baseball, and that I am going to miss hitting the baseball forever and ever. I would like to end my career as a Yankee."
Dodgers teammate Rafael Furcal told reporters that although several people have attempted to explain the situation to Ramirez, the 12-time all-star either avoids eye contact entirely, smiles for no discernable reason, or nods his head with a furrowed brow, though many believe this is simply Ramirez's way of pretending to understand what is being said to him.
Sources close to Ramirez have reported that when the embattled star is told that his urine sample contained traces of a women's fertility drug, he typically giggles, extends his arms, and points his index fingers at whoever is trying to explain the predicament.
"If something is really messed up, I didn't do it, okay? It wasn't me. It was probably Brad," said Ramirez, attempting to deflect blame onto Dodgers catcher Brad Ausmus. "He's no good. I do not like him. He should be in trouble, not me."
On Wednesday, Ramirez said that if he is in as big of trouble as he thinks he is, he hopes to receive his punishment soon so the situation can be over and done with.
"I am sorry for doing what I did, and for all the people who are mad, and for my parents, and my family, and for the fans, and the people I love, and everyone," Ramirez told reporters. "Please just let me start hitting the ball again, and doing all the things that let me do that so good—like looking at the videotape, practicing in the batting cage, and taking anabolic steroids."