Dodger Fans Already Forgive Manny

Outside of the bubble of Los Angeles, there is scorn and resigned dejection about Manny Ramirez. Just another cheating athlete. In Boston, the feelings of affection that remained for Ramirez have turned to depression (and the realization that just like the hated Yankees, their team cheats).

In Los Angeles, he’s still a hero.

Dodger Stadium was filled last night with people waving “Free Manny” signs or others that said, “Manny wouldn’t cheat.” The number of Manny Ramirez 99 jerseys worn in the stands seemed higher than usual, if anything.

And when he first steps to the plate at Dodger Stadium on July 16 (the first home game after his return) there will be a standing ovation for him.

This is a Hollywood, where second chances are a way of life. John Travolta went from “is he still alive?” to “we need him to get the opening weekend box office” in the blink of an eye. And now he is loved in Los Angeles. There are more comeback stories in Los Angeles than there are stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

We are a laid back, forgiving people in Los Angeles. We are suckers for a good comeback story and are quick to ignore the foibles of somebody’s past. And Manny is the kind of laid back, free spirit we embrace in this city.

People outside of San Francisco don’t understand how Barry Bonds — public enemy number one in the steroid era — could still be loved and get standing ovations when he comes to games. Simply, because he is theirs and they are loyal to him.

Dodger fans are loyal too. Like a child who has done something wrong, we don’t condone it but we don’t disown him either. Manny is ours, and we still have his back.

We can’t wait for Manny to return. All is forgiven.

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