It’s July 16rd, 2009. You’re sitting in the Lower Reserve at Chavez Ravine on a warm Los Angeles summer’s night; bottom of the first inning-Furcal has reached on a drag bunt to the left of the pitcher, followed by the O-Dog ripping a hit-and-run single into right center (Furcal advancing to third). There’s a buzz through the stadium, all the heads turn towards the on-deck circle and the voice over the PA drones, “Batting third, left-fielder…Manny Ramirez.”
And the crowd goes…what? Wild? Silent? Boos? Cheers? As a Dodger fan I will be off my nut happy to get his bat back in the lineup. The team has been good/great without him but there is a GAPING HOLE in the middle of the order…the 5th spot in the Dodger lineup is batting something like .255 on the season with ZERO homeruns. As a baseball fan how are we supposed to react though? Bonds got booed everywhere he went outside of San Francisco. Palmiero is a pariah, Sosa is a joke and A-Rod can’t get out of the way of himself-so what happens to Manny? I’d expect most of Dodgertown will be onboard and Manny will be welcomed back with open arms…the lesson being as long as your players cheat for your team it’s not a problem.
On the road’s another story. Who knows what Manny did but if you’re the Cubs and he almost single-handedly knocked you out of the postseason last year (even though that team played with 0 energy and deserved to lose), you’re pissed. If you’re the 2007 Rockies and got steamrolled by the Red Sox in the World Series you’re pissed. Essentially everybody is pissed, except me and I’m guessing you, if you’re still reading this. And if you’re reading this you are probably aware that Manny’s tune-up beings now.
Lastly, as of this moment, it looks like we’ll have a winner-take-all Game 3 in Omaha tomorrow night (again, if Texas holds on here). These games have been amazing and having been to The Big O twice while the CWS was in town I can’t recommend it highly enough. Dating girls from Nebraska is not recommended, however.