Prodigal Son Manny Ramirez Back At Dodger Stadium

Of all people to understand Dodger fans, it's Bud Selig.

When Manny Ramirez first walks to the plate around 7:15 Thursday in the first inning of the Dodgers game against the Houston Astros, the game is going to come to a stop for a minute.

Dodger fans will welcome back Manny Ramirez with such thunderous applause that he will be forced to take a step back out of the batters box and acknowledge the crowd. Dodger fans are welcoming Manny back as the prodigal son — all is forgiven. And they want him to know that.

Friday morning (if not before) there will be a self-righteous column in the Los Angeles Times, and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth wherever Bob Costas is sipping his soy latte — how could the Dodger fans welcome back a cheater like this?

Of all people, the worst commissioner in sports — Bud Selig — gets it.

“It’s an interesting reaction because I think it surprises a log of people, the positiveness of it,” Selig said during the All Star Game festivities. “But you always get back to the fans: They want their team to win, And this player has now been disciplined. He’s back. They’re in first place. He can help them win. And I think that’s what you’re seeing there.”

Manny did the crime, and he did the time. He took a significant financial hit for it. He’s moved on, his teammates have moved on, Dodgers fans have moved on.

The only people who haven’t moved on are the people who can’t, some stuck-in-the-past “purists” who think baseball reached its apex when there were three teams in New York. Everything since then has been a letdown for them.

But not for the rest of us here in Los Angeles — we love Manny’s free spirit. He is a perfect fit with the look and psyche of Los Angeles. We’ve missed him.

Welcome back Manny, you’re home.

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