Here’s what Manny Ramirez had to say from his afternoon press conference at Petco Park on Friday. He said plenty of words in his 12 1/2-minute press conference, but he really didn’t say anything significant. Here’s the transcript:
(Sitting down at mike) “Showtime.”
(Q: How long were you doing steroids? When did it start? What was the regime?)
First, I want to say that God is good, and good is God. And I don’t want to get into my medical records right now. I’m happy to be here, I missed the game, I’m ready to play, I was practicing in Triple-A, and I can’t wait to get into the field.
(Q: Have you been contacted by the DEA about their investigation?)
Like I said, I don’t want to get into my records. I want to talk about the game.
(Q: Since you just want to talk about the game, can you talk about how much you missed it, and how anxious you are to get back?)
Oh, man, I can’t wait to get into the field, man. I missed the game that I love. You know, I missed being around the guys. It is what it is, but I’m here, I feel great, and I’m ready to play.
(Q: You’ve already addressed your teammates, but what would you like to say to your fans?)
I want to say I’m sorry to the fans, to my teammates, that they’re always there for me. I want to thank Frank McCourt for his support, and I’m here. I’m excited. I can’t wait to get into the field.
(Q: How emotional has this all been for you?)
It’s been great, because everywhere I go, man, people are there for me. They give me the support. So it hasn’t been that bad. And like I said, man, I can’t wait. I’m ready to play. I just want to get out there with the guys and move on.
(Q; What do you think will be the most difficult part of coming back?)
Well, you know, haven’t played in two months, so I know it’s going to take time for me, you know, to get my rhythm, to get my timing. But that’s what I’m here for, and I’m just going to go day by day.
(Q: How often are you going to play? Every day to start out?)
Um, I’m going to take it day by day. I want to pass this day tonight, and then I want to know how it feels.
(Q: Some of the Padres’ more prominent players have said they felt this whole celebration of your return has been a bit much and wrong for somebody who’s been on suspension. What are your thoughts on that?)
Well, everybody got their opinion, you know. I focus all my energy on me and what I’m going to do. I think if they say that, go right ahead, you know. I’m just here to play the game.
(Q: Having been away for so long, does it give you a greater appreciation of the baseball and your teammates?)
Not really. I appreciate the game very day, and I’m just blessed, you know, to play this game every day the way I play it.
I’m not going to say I didn’t miss the game. I missed the game, because this is the game that I love. I appreciate every time I put the uniform on.
(Q: How tough was it for you to sit out 50 games?)
Well, it was tough, but it is what it is. It’s over. I’m moving on.
(Q: Do you believe steroids are bad for baseball?)
I’m not getting into that, sir. If you want to talk about the game, I’m accountable. If you guys want to talk to me about the game, I’m in my locker. If you want to talk about anything, Scotty’s there to answer your questions.
(Q: You’ve said you’re sorry to your teammates and your fans. What are you sorry for?)
Oh, not being there for them. Not for playing the game, because I’m a huge part of the Dodgers, and I’m proud to wear that uniform. And when I say I’m sorry, I let those fans down, that they go out there to see me.
(Q: How do you think this affects your legacy?)
I don’t want to talk about my legacy right now. I want to wait until I retire. And then I want to think about it.
(Q: How much embarrassment has come from this whole thing?)
A lot, but you know, we’re humans, we learn from our mistakes. There was only one man that was perfect, and they killed him. So that’s how I look at life.
(Q: When you went out, there was some concern the Dodgers wouldn’t be able to maintain their lead. They actually extended it. Now that you’ve come back, what does that mean for the team going forward, that they’ve played as well as they without you?)
Hey, they’re professionals. Everybody played great. Juan Pierre, he did a hell of a job out there, a good player. I’m happy that he’s on my side. Hey, all those guys out there, they know how to play the game. They play the game the right way. They play hard. So I knew it was not going to be any problems. They played great. They’re in first place. That’s where we want to be. And the main goal is to go to the World Series.
A lot, but I’m pretty sure I can handle it. You know, this is not my first rodeo. So I know I’m going to be fine. I know I can play this game, and I’m going to enjoy it as much I can.
(Q: Are you nervous?)
A little bit, but when you’re nervous, that’s good.
(Q: What were you thinking about last night, knowing that this game was coming and we would all be here?)
I wasn’t thinking about that. My friend texted me – hey, big game tomorrow, showtime. So I told him, hey, I’ll be ready. I know I haven’t been playing in two months, but I’ve still got it on me, so bring it on,
(Q: Throughout the course of the suspension, have you been keeping in contact with teammates? And what have you been saying to them, and them to you?)
[laughing] I’ve been calling Raffy a lot and joke around with him, the way he’s doing. But everything’s fine. They supported me all the way. They’re happy that I’m back, and we’re ready to take this to another level.
(Q: How helpful were those minor-league games, and how long do you think it will be before you’re back where you were?)
It wasn’t tough … I love it. They have great kids out there, they’re going to be pretty good.
It’s going to take me some time to get ready, but let’s go and see.
(Q: You’ve always had thick skin. Are you prepared for some of the comments that may come from the stands?)
Hey, I’m used to that. When you’re good, and you’re not at home, they’re going to boo you. So it’s good. That’s only going to give me more fire to do good. So bring it on?
(Q; Do you know Dr. [unintelligible] and his son?)
I don’t want to talk about my criminal record. [he laughs]
(Q: You say you’re sorry for your fans or teammates. Are you sorry for doing steroids, or -)
I already answered your question, sir. I already answered that question. Next.
(Q; You say they’re a lot of good kids in the minor leagues. Did you have a chance to talk to them about the problems you went through, so they might not -)
Not really. Because I was focusing all my positive energy on me.
(Q: How bad was this for you?)
At first it was bad, but then you move on. So that was in the past, I’m in the present, so I’m not bringing that back.
(Q: Dodger fans have been really supportive, almost unanimously. Are you surprised?)
No. Because they know when I step on the field, I’m going to give it all I got. And they know I can play. So I’m not surprised. You know, when I went out there, they’re the best fans in the whole world, and I wish I could have been there a long time ago.
But I’m not surprised, because I’m one of the best players who ever put on a uniform.
(Q: You seem very upbeat. What are you so upbeat?)
Now I’ve got a challenge, so I’ve got to go out there and show people I still can do it. I know I can do it, so that’s good. That’s going to five me more fire to play the game.
(Q: Because you know there are people who hope you fail.)
I’m not going to fail. So – I’m going to be good. I’m going to be fine.
(Q: What did you learn from this experience?)
What I learned? You do the right thing, you never have to look back. So that’s what I learned.
(Q: Have you done the right thing?)
I guess so.
(Q: What was that?)
Playing the game, you know? I know I made a mistake, but I learned from that, and I’m moving on.
(Q: What do you expect from the fans tonight as a reception?)
It’s going to be all good.
I can’t control the fans. But I can control myself.
(Q: Do you feel different physically than you did two months ago?)
I feel great. I know it’s going to take some time, like I said, but it’s going to be all good.
(Q: Are your strength, energy, things like that down?)
Nah. I’m great. I’ve got plenty of energy. I haven’t played for 50 games, so I’ll be good. I’ll be all right.
(Q: Will you play the whole game tonight?)
I don’t know. I want to go inning by inning, and then we’ll find out.
(Q: Why did you wear sunglasses for this?)
Because I want to. [laughs]
(Q: Is this like coming in late to spring training, with your contract situation, where you have to catch up a little bit?)
I do. I need to catch up. But I will.
(Q: Does it bother you that, because you’re not going to explain if you did steroids … that people are going to assume you were cheating, just like a lot of the 500-home-run guys?)
Like I say, you cannot control what people are gonna say. You’ve got to move on, and move on with your life. So I’m just going to enjoy my time playing. I’m against the clock, so I’m going to enjoy the most I can.
(Q: You don’t think you owe fans of baseball an explanation?)
I don’t think so, because I say I’m sorry.
Nah, I don’t got nothing to prove.
(Q: Worried about aggressive fans? When Barry Bonds was here, somebody threw a fake syringe out on the field.)
No. I’m not surprised. No.
[Everybody all set?]
A: Showtime tonight!