So, Manny is a Dodger? The entire world was sure he was heading
south but now he has joined an already cramped outfield in L.A. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he has joined Joe Torre and Nomar out there! The
question is, will Manny being Manny fly in Tinseltown and can you think of
any other stranger storylines in the last few years?
Ah, yes, the infamous Manny-being-Manny question. Will it fly? Will he be accepted by his new manager and teammates? To find out, I shook my Magic 8 Ball and it replied: “All signs point to yes”.
But I already knew that to be the answer.
Admittedly, Manny Ramirez looks quite odd in Dodger blue; but I have to remind myself, Manny Ramirez looks odd in any uniform. He is an absolute nutcase reminiscent of one Space Man Bill Lee — an individual who goes out of his way to be quirky, weird, individualistic. I think Manny is inherently incapable of being anything other than an escalating characterization of himself.
And the fans love it — always have. That is why, as the years go by, his antics become more and more documented, loved, embraced. This is the man who forgot to cash a million dollar check that the Indians wrote him for his services because he didn’t have time to go to the bank. This is the man who lolly-gags in left field and is revered for it. This is the man who David Ortiz labeled as: “One crazy mother-(bleep)”.
Will it be weird seeing him next to Joe Torre and Nomar Garciaparra in the dugout? Sure. Will it be weird seeing Manny sitting next to anyone in the dugout? Absolutely. The man is a magnet for oddity — from high-fiving fans while making a play to writing signs expressing his desire to move to Green Bay, anything Manny does is just plain weird. Because of this, I think he is a perfect fit for the Dodgers and their organization.
Having lived in L.A. for a stretch, I can vouch for the oddity of their fans. Infamously, Dodger fans show up to the game late and leave early. In their defense, yes, traffic is rough in L.A., but it wouldn’t take much to plan for such inconveniences so one could show up by first pitch. And it’s sad to watch the mass exodus of fans heading for the freeway during the 7th inning stretch. Such collective disregard comes off as arrogant — a stigma I feel covers all L.A. sports teams. Like going to a Lakers game, it’s a place to be seen.
So, given the mediocre-to-lukewarm state of Dodger fandom, will Manny being Manny fly in Tinseltown? I don’t see why not. They love Jeff Kent and he’s a complete ^sshole. But to make sure, I decided to check in with the ultimate Dodger fan, the barometer for all things Dodger blue, the lovely, expressive, illuminating Alyssa Milano. On her MLBlog, she wrote a nice piece on Manny, which clearly shows that they (Dodger fans) will accept whatever strange occurrences may come with his acquisition. I only hope that there are plenty to speak of by the end of the year, because I don’t think Manny will be in Hollywood after the end of the season; the evil plottings of Scott Boras will see to that.
Strange a story as this is, is it really that strange when it’s all said and done? No. Not really. Manny has been crying this same game for years; it was only a matter of time before it happened. There have been stranger storylines this year:
I Used to Smoke Crack but Now I Smoke Fastballs: The Josh Hamilton Story
I Could’ve Tagged Two Guys Out at the Plate on the Same Play but Dropped the Ball: The Ramon Castro Story
I Threw Five Wild Pitches in a Playoff Game and Now I’m a Rock-Star Centerfielder: The Rick Ankiel Story
But no story has been stranger than this made-for-TV minor league drama in which an unsuspecting, cute ballgirl makes the play of a lifetime, giving the likes of Spider Man and Endy Chavez a run for their money:
Take it or leave it folks, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.