I am sure we all remember the hysterical pre-game press conference in which Manny announced that “God is good and good is God” before strolling to the plate after a 50-game suspension against the San Diego Padres. Manny went 0-3 in his return on Friday July 3, 2009, but was able to hit a home run on America’s 233rd birthday the next day. It just seemed fitting right, Manny hitting a home run on Independence Day? He had been gone for 50-games and it just seemed like he had never changed.
Ever since Manny has returned he has continued to shine in the sunny California spotlight by hitting an average of .318, sending three balls yard, and driving in 9 runs. The Dodgers are 6-2 by the way this month, but does Manny really provide that spark for this team? The answer is not really.
When Manny was suspended back in April the Dodgers continued to succeed without him, but certainly must have been bothered by the constant attention he was receiving during his various workouts and minor league assignments. Come on Joe Torre and Frank McCourt, you are trying to win baseball games here, not create a circus with a player who has been suspended for using “roids!” This squad is fine without him and will always be, but having Manny in the line-up just sometimes may boost the power and urge to win.
Joe Torre knows that dealing with Manny is never easy, especially after Tuesday’s meltdown in Queens, New York, when Manny watched strike three go by him. Following the end to the top of the fifth inning, Manny tossed his helmet, gloves, and elbow protector all over the infield, which resulted in tossing him out of the ballpark and into the clubhouse. Afterward Manny acknowledged that the umpire was somewhat of a “good man,” yet why would you say this Manny, especially after you also added that you were planning to only play just five innings that night? Any advice you would like to share with us Mr. Ramirez?
My point is that it is good to see Manny back in Dodger blue, but clearly he should realize how lucky he is to be receiving a second chance to play this game. Cheating, steroids, and constant ways to figure out wins are what my generation will remember about baseball when we look back on this era 50-years from now. This was not the game that my father or grandfather watched as young men, but surely having Manny back allows baseball to somewhat get excited again, especially out in the west coast. Remember Los Angles seems to be a place where Manny wants to retire, spend the rest of his life, and dub it eventually “Manny-Wood.”
In fact now that Manny has returned to the Dodgers, I can hope for a Red Sox-Dodgers fall classic. Wouldn’t it be great to hear the comments coming out of right field from the “Fenway Faithful?” You know plenty of steroids or cheating chants would occur because they already hassled A-Rod, so why not Manny too?