Manny Ramirez Generates Noise, Not Hits

Dodger fans fill up Petco Park in San Diego.

A lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

There was plenty of noise and excitement around Manny Ramirez’s return to the baseball diamond — much of it from Dodger fans who filled half the seats at Petco Park in San Diego. To bad his play was a dud. Manny was 0-3 with a walk and was largely uninvolved in the Dodgers five run first inning or the 6-3 win.

His welcome was much more positive than expected — when he came to the plate in the first inning the cheers of Dodger fans who made the trip south were louder than the boos from San Diego fans. Signs were being waived that said “Mannywood South” and “it’s all about the dreads, not the meds.” The crowd was on its feet and it felt like the ninth inning of a World Series game.

So it was pretty anti-climatic when he walked.

But there is something about Manny in the lineup that fires up the other Dodgers. A team that averaged 4.4 runs per game while Manny was out scored 5 in the first inning. San Diego helped that along with throwing errors and some sloppy play in the field, but the Dodgers came up with key hits —like Matt Kemp’s double.

Up 5-0 after half an inning, the game felt over. And it was. The only question now what Manny would do in his next at bats.

Nothing. In the second inning he hit a slow roller up the middle and gets thrown out. In the fourth inning it was a routine grounder to short. In the sixth, with two outs Rafael Furcal on second, Manny hit a high pop up into shallow center field that second baseman David Eckstein got under for the final out. In the seventh Juan Pierre replaced the 0-3 Ramirez.

That showing delighted San Diego fans who kept letting Manny hear it (although they never booed their catcher, Eliezer Alfonzo, who had a 50-game suspension for failing the MLB drug test while in the minors). Through it all Manny and the rest of the Dodgers didn’t care.

They got the win. Just like they always seem to with Manny in the lineup.


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