DODGER FANS SEEING REAL MANNY
There’s no question that Manny Ramirez has been one of the premier hitters of his generation and really, of all time. The numbers speak for themselves. A career .313 hitter with 546 home runs and 1788 runs batted in. Before his 50 game suspension earlier this season, his name had never publicly been connected with any performance enhancing drugs and by anyones standards, was a sure fire, first ballot hall of famer. His legacy remains to be determined in some eyes, but not mine. He was great for a while, while he was in Boston, but at times, it was abundantly clear, he didn’t feel like playing. We’d laugh and just chalk it up to “Manny being Manny.” He’d botch a ball in left field, and we’d roll our eyes, rationalizing that he’d win us a lot more games with his bat than he’d lose for us with his glove and lack of effort. We kept feeding the monster, patting him on the back and soon it became unbearable for everyone. If Ramirez hadn’t been traded last July, there might have been a mutiny in the Boston clubhouse. He got into a fight with Kevin Youkilis in the dugout, in front of the cameras, telling Youk that he was too intense and needed to relax. I’m sorry, but I’ll take Kevin and his intensity seven days a week. While nothing seems to matter to Ramirez, Youk works hard and every at bat means something to him. The final straw may have come when Ramirez shoved club employee Jack McCormick to the ground after he told the Sox’ traveling secretary to “just do your job”. Ramirez was angry that McCormick couldn’t fill his unreasonably large game-day request for 16 tickets to a game in Houston. A lot of us pictured Ramirez treating our grandfather that way, and it was more than we could stand. The last straw. Manny not running out ground balls, Manny taking three straight strikes from Mariano Rivera, Manny forgetting exactly which knee was hurt, Manny telling Terry Francona just minutes before a game, he couldn’t play. The litany goes on and on. Manny being Manny. So he goes out to L.A. and the fans drink the Kool-Aid. They buy those goofy looking wigs. They rename the town Mannywood and when he hits like he can hit (after lying down in his final months in Boston) Dodger-mania goes through the roof. This year comes the suspension. This year comes very average numbers (.290, 19, 63 rbi) and during the postseason, below average numbers. (1 HR in 29 postseason at bats, 2 rbi in NLCS against Philadelphia). I’m sorry, but when you’re making more than 23 million dollars a season, you better produce more than that. He “lollygagged” after the ball hit by Shane Victorino that resulted in a triple, his throw in, was again, “Manny being Manny”. The love affair in Hollywood will last about as long as a Britney Spears marriage. It will end and it will end quickly because Dodger fans are smarter than that. After the Red Sox won the Series in 2007, Ramirez skipped the visit to the White House with the rest of his teammates. Regardless of what you thought of the President, George W. Bush had one of the all-time great quips. “Sorry Manny Ramirez couldn’t be here. His grandmother must have died…again.” Even the leader of the free world knows that “Manny being Manny” always ends badly and L.A. will be no exception.