Say Goodbye to Mannywood

Like Manny's entire career, there was good mixed with the bad. But it was time for him to go.

By Kurt Helin
|  Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010  |  Updated 10:31 AM PDT
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Conan Nolan reports on the Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce trial. Both are in it to win it. So what about the Dodgers?

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Manny Ramirez came to the plate in the sixth inning Sunday in what everyone knew would be his final at bat as a Dodger — by the time the sun goes down Monday, the Dodgers will let Ramirez go to the Chicago White Sox on a waiver claim. No trade, no compensation, just take him. Please.

Your Thoughts: Scroll down to tell us about you best/worst memory of Manny in Dodger blue

Sunday, in as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded, Ramirez looked at the first pitch, and the umpire called it a strike. Ramirez quickly turned, pointed to the spot and let the umpire know that he was flat-out wrong, that was a ball. We don’t know exactly what he said, but it appeared to be both emphatic and colorful.

The umpire threw him out within seconds.

And somehow, that seems a fitting end for how this all devolved.

For 53 games in 2008, Manny Ramirez was the most famous, most beloved Dodger since Kirk Gibson. The Dodgers had a good young team at that point, one that was winning, but it lacked star power. And this is a city where star power sells (Jerry Buss figured that out long ago).

Manny brought energy, he brought charisma. And he brought a rejuvenated big bat that was knocking the ball all over the yard.

After a playoff run that took the Dodgers deeper into the postseason than they had been in two decades, the Dodgers rewarded Ramirez with a two-hear, $45 million deal. And then it all went south.

First came the 50 game suspension last season for use performance enhancing drugs. He did not test positive for steroids, Manny’s people were quick to say, however it was something considered a steroid recovery agent. That’s why it’s on the banned substance list.

This season it has been a series of nagging injuries keeping Ramirez on the disabled list more than in the lineup. By the way, one of the signs that people stopped using steroids is a number of nagging injuries. But I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

As we look back, the Dodgers getting Manny was not a mistake. In 2008, the stands were filled with people in dreadlock wigs and when Ramirez came to the plate the city seemed to stop. It was must see. When was the last time the Dodgers had that?

The mistake ended up being the extension. But it’s hard to fault the McCourts and Ned Colletti here — this was a guy filling the stadium and producing on the field, a guy that had created a buzz around the team, so it was a good investment. The smart thing was keeping it a two-year deal (remember his agent had pushed for five years but the Dodgers played hardball and never backed off their first offer).

The Dodgers are ending the Mannywood era in almost the same fashion as they got him — for nothing. The Dodgers gave up little to get him (Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris) and they are letting him go to the Chicago White Sox and asking nothing in return. The Dodgers are out of the pennant race and want to save the $3.8 million (there are divorce lawyers to pay, after all). Manny is still hitting the ball pretty well, albeit without much power, but a struggling White Sox lineup could use him as a designated hitter. And knowing Manny, he will start hitting the ball all over the park again for a month.

It’s hard to separate the good from the bad in Manny’s time as a Dodger. As it has been his entire career.

But Dodger fans are ready to say goodbye to Mannywood. And at this point, good riddance.
 

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