Monday, August 30, 2010

Goodbye Manny, hello gritty-gutty

I have such a difficult time expressing my feelings when it comes to the operations of my favorite team. I'm not a general manager, and given my experience with fantasy baseball, I'm fairly certain if the opportunity arose to run a team, that I would fail miserably. In fact, while the inner workings of a major league team fascinate some people, I find it a bit sleep-inducing.

I also live 3,000 miles away from my team, so the daily drumbeat of "how did the Dodgers do?" and "can you believe the Dodgers did this?" is completely lacking in my life (I know there are websites and fan forums. But it's just not the same as daily discussions in person). I feel out of touch.

Still. I am a Dodger fan, which means I should say whatever I have to say about the departure of Manny Ramirez.

So, here it is: I'll miss Manny.

Ramirez was the best hitter the Dodgers have had on their team in a long, long time. You can cite all his absences, a number of which were due simply to the fact that he's getting old. But half of a Manny is better than a whole Podsednik or Pierre or whatever gritty-gutty Bowa-esque player the Dodgers want in the outfield.

Before Ramirez's departure to the White Sox, Joe Torre said he couldn't give an explanation as to why Ramirez wasn't starting over the weekend "that will make sense. A lot of what I do is a feel thing."

OK, that seems disturbingly cavalier to me, but I can relate. A lot of what I do on this blog is a feel thing -- minus all the controlling of players' careers part. Here is what I feel:

I want Torre gone. I want Bowa gone. I want Honeycutt gone. But most of all, for the love of all that is good and pure and Dodger blue, I want McCourt gone.

Ramirez will be a boost to the White Sox. It may not last long. It may last for an even shorter period of time than it did for the Dodgers, given his age and injury issues. But at least the White Sox are getting something. The Dodgers, after giving away several prospects during the trade deadline, got nothing except some cash for McCourt to pay a lawyer.

And in Ramirez's place, we get gritty and gutty, and we'll decide whether gritty or gutty plays based on how the manager "feels."

I'm not one of those people who thinks we should have kept Ramirez because the Dodgers still had a chance to make the playoffs. The Dodgers' chance has been gone for awhile now. But it's just the principle of thing: look like you care as an organization. At least go through the motions.

You want Matt Kemp to care 162 games a year? You want Manny to care? You want the people considering buying a ticket to care? Then act like you care as an organization. Get a prospect -- somebody -- to convince fans that they should come out and watch Ryan Theriot dirty up his uniform.

The Dodgers will not win with this lineup: Podsednik, Theriot, Ethier, Kemp, Loney, Blake, Carroll, Ausmus. I don't expect all those players to be back next season, but even with changes -- and who knows what kind of changes can be made given how restricted everything is while McCourt vs. McCourt rolls on -- I don't expect them to win next year either.

This is a pathetic turn of affairs for an organization that was filled with the best group of prospects in baseball barely five years ago. But since that time, the team has been horribly mismanaged and I wouldn't doubt that all of the Dodgers' best players -- the few that remain -- are scarred in some way.

It will be a painful offseason, but I hope there will be signs of moves in the right direction. If those moves include the departure of Torre and news that McCourt is selling, then the offseason will be a smashing success.

As for Manny, no, he's not perfect. He's got issues. But some of his issues are overblown and there is no dispute in my mind that he is still a terrific talent that shouldn't be discarded for nothing.

Ramirez helped the Dodgers get to consecutive postseasons, which is something that hadn't happened for my team in over a decade.

I will miss the success that Ramirez brought.

Oh, and I'll miss not having anymore new Ramirez Dodger cards to chase:

It's been wild. It's been frustrating. It's been exhilarating. It's been strange.

But it was a blast.

That's how I feel.


  1. Well said. I feel the same way. Manny brought a level of excitement to Dodger Stadium that hadn't been felt since 1988. I won't forget the Manny Ramirez era in Los Angeles. It may have been short, but it was very memorable.

  2. I concur w/ your Manny Judgement. Despite him being a guy I would not typically like, there is something I like about him. He is a thrilling player that can take great hitting to another level.

  3. After reading all the comments and commentaries about Manny from Dodger fans, I feel slightly more optimistic about his arrival to the White Sox.

  4. First of I want to say that I like Manny. He may well be the greatest right handed hitter of all time; definatly the best of my time. But I'm going to go the other way on this one. Good move Dodgers.

    I've played and coached a lot of sports over the years. To me there is nothing more frusterating than a player that is just going through the motions. It makes it even worse when the guy doing it is the most tallented guy on the team/field. Yes everyone on the Dodgers is a pro athlete but not every one of them is uber talented. That meaning that most guys even pros have to work hard to get where they are and stay at that level. Manny however is uber talented. To me guys like Podsednik, Theriot, Ethier, Loney, Blake, and Ausmus are maximum effort kind of players. They go 100% all the time, or at least seem to in my eyes. How can you expect them to go "all out" every night when Manny doesn't? I manage a group of employees and I expect the same amount of dedication out of each one of them. Are some people better than others, of course, but just because one person is a better worker that doesn't mean that they should only try half as hard. No I don't manage athletes so it is different but not totally different.

    Also I think you are selling Psednick and Either short. Look a little harder at their advanced stats...

  5. I don't remember Manny not putting in effort for the Dodgers. He may not be "scrappy," but he gave what he had. I think that particular issue was more from back in his Red Sox days.

    I have no problem with Ethier. I think he's great. Podsednik? Well ...

  6. Torre keeping him on the bench after his last DL trip makes me think he was in the doghouse for some thing.

    In Boston he never had any problems with his legs unless he was unhappy. Just saying...