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MLB Thread: Offseason

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Ugh..... maybe in PAST Yankee offseason, we would have gone after Manny. Girardi is not one to mess with. That dude is a corporal in the armed forces (I'm using that figureatively mind you) He can be a real hard ___, ya know? I could not see him playing for Girardi. And Hank doesn't like to be told no and what to do, so you can scratch that idea. Manny's not coming to NY. If he does, it'll make me sick. We have Matsui who's in his middle to late 30's I believe, and declining. Johnny Damon, again, somewhat declining, but not the greatest fielder. Great leadoff hitter, but hitting and base running/stealing are his game. I don't want Abreu back, I'd rather we spend the money on someone who can play defensively, even if we don't get 30 homers out of him and 100 rbi's. Ya know???

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Wow Medford, I had no idea all that had gone on too. Good riddens.

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more important, will Joe Torre make him cut the dreadlocks?

That's my question, too.

Here's what Bill Plaschke, a sports columnist with the Los Angeles Times -- as well as a frequent guest on an afternoon show on ESPN (I've forgotten the name of it) -- has to say about ManRam:

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http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-plaschke1-2008aug01,0,2067436.column' target="_blank">http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb...,2067436.column[/post]

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Aug. 1, 2008

Bill Plaschke: MANNY RAMIREZ BRINGS BAT AND BAGGAGE TO LOS ANGELES DODGERS

In the biggest late-season acquisition in club history, the Dodgers acquire power-hitting left fielder from the Boston Red Sox. They're counting on him to carry them into October.

He will arrive at Dodger Stadium today lugging 510 career home runs inside 510 pounds of baggage.

He will take his place in the middle of the Dodger batting order tonight as one of baseball's biggest hitters and most baffling headaches.

In the biggest late-season acquisition in club history, the Dodgers acquired left fielder Manny Ramirez on Thursday from the Boston Red Sox and Mars.

They are counting on him to carry them into October and beyond.

Just as soon as they can find him.

Three hours after the trade, Ned Colletti, Dodger general manager, was asked whether he had spoken to Ramirez.

"I left him a message," said Colletti.

Four hours after the trade, Dodger Manager Joe Torre was asked whether he had spoken to Ramirez.

"I left him a message," said Torre.

Days after the Angels grabbed the national sports spotlight by trading for quiet slugger Mark Teixeira, the Dodgers have thrown a massive counterpunch by acquiring a guy who is part Hollywood and part Dagwood.

A guy who occasionally swings like Babe Ruth and is consistently as nutty as a Baby Ruth.

The only thing that flops around more than his trademark dreadlocks are his moods.

Nobody in baseball history has hit more postseason homers -- 24 -- yet when the 2007 world champion Red Sox visited the White House, Ramirez didn't show up.

"I guess his grandmother died again," President Bush said at the time. "Just kidding."

Perhaps nobody in baseball history has performed better in a more pressure-filled World Series, as he was the MVP of the 2004 Series that broke the Red Sox's 86-year title drought.

Yet a couple of weeks ago, during a sixth-inning pitching change at Fenway Park, he momentarily departed left field to make a cellphone call.

The Red Sox have long shrugged off such behavior as "Manny being Manny."

But recently, with Ramirez ripping club executives in preparation for his probable departure as a free agent this winter, the Red Sox finally decided Manny could be Manny somewhere else.

Officially, the Dodgers acquired Ramirez in a three-team trade that cost them third-base prospect Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris, who worked in class-A.

Unofficially, it doesn't take a Laker fan to understand that they were given a gift the size of Pau Gasol.

Neither Dodger kid was considered a top prospect, and the Red Sox agreed to pay the remainder of Ramirez's $21-million annual salary, about $7 million.

"It's crazy," said Torre. "This is a huge 'get' for us."

It is actually two "gets" for the price of none.

They do not have to pay someone who immediately becomes their best hitter. And, because of his impending free agency, they are not obligated to tolerate his nutty behavior beyond this season.

He is probably here only for two months, but with a swing that is as unshakable as his smile, he is capable of carrying the Dodgers every day of those two months.

"Three months," corrected Dodger owner Frank McCourt, adding a month for the playoffs and World Series. "We're going to have a great three months of baseball."

It was Boston native McCourt who pushed for this deal Thursday morning, just hours before the trading deadline, when he realized that the Red Sox were truly serious about dealing their recurring headache.

In the weak National League West, one hitter could elevate his pitching-rich team to the top. And amid the inexperienced National League teams that will make the playoffs, one hitter could provide the postseason difference.

Ramirez, even at age 36, is still clearly that hitter, leading the Red Sox with 20 home runs and ranking second with 68 RBIs at the time of the trade.

"This team has hung in there all season with all these injuries. This is about giving them a chance to go for it," said McCourt. "This is about paying back our loyal fans and rewarding our hard-working team."

The fans will get it, and were already loudly cheering just the scoreboard announcement of the trade Thursday night.

The clubhouse may be a more difficult sell, particularly because Ramirez not only creates distractions, but a total of five potential starting outfielders.

"This is why we have a guy like Joe Torre as manager," said McCourt.

Indeed, other than the Red Sox's Terry Francona, probably the only other current major league manager who can handle Ramirez is Torre, who constantly dealt with wacky late-season acquisitions with the New York Yankees.

Torre, who was constantly haunted by Ramirez during the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry, said, "It's funny, but I did everything I could not to have to see him again, and all of a sudden he's showing up in the uniform I'm wearing."

He smiled. "It's pretty special."

Pretty strange. Pretty, yeah, pretty special.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's see how "As Manny's World Turns" plays in my backyard ... :unsure:

Jan/GSBG

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Manny brings tons of drama with him but if he hits the snot out of the ball for the next 2 months, no one in LA will care.

Besides, how much worse than any of the Hollywood divas can he be?

Kudos to Theo and Terry Francona for taking the high road with the media about all this. Im sure over the next couple of months, more and more info will be leaked about what really happened behind closed doors with Manny but let the media be the bad guys, not the organization. Whatever truths have gone on, it must have gotten pretty dismal for the veteran players themselves to all vote Manny off the island.

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BAY WATCH! Red Sox style......

J-Bay Being Manny?

BDD_JB_wall_8.1.08_mcouto.jpg

Nooooooooooooooooot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Caption anyone?

BDD_mannyjo_8.1.08_xpurg.jpg

Joe Torre: "Manny, if you dont quit on me before the playoffs, I'll kiss ya"

Manny: "Sure Joe, all it'll take is $100 million.... enough is never enough"

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....and Jason Bay scores the first Red Sox run of the game. :)

Manny who? j/k

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BAY WATCH! Red Sox style......

J-Bay Being Manny?

BDD_JB_wall_8.1.08_mcouto.jpg

Nooooooooooooooooot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Caption anyone?

BDD_mannyjo_8.1.08_xpurg.jpg

Joe Torre: "Manny, if you dont quit on me before the playoffs, I'll kiss ya"

Manny: "Sure Joe, all it'll take is $100 million.... enough is never enough"

I love those pictures TSA and your avatar, but I dont like the trade.

I think Theo paniced after he saw all the moves the Yanks made...

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I love those pictures TSA and your avatar, but I dont like the trade.

I think Theo paniced after he saw all the moves the Yanks made...

Maybe so but as the stories are getting leaked out slowly but surely, it seems like it was more a total team decision that Manny had to go, regardless of what they were giving up. IMO, the Red Sox have a lot more than Manny's production missing to worry about. If the bull pen doesnt wake up and the starters dont get more consistent, Manny not being here wont matter much. Truth be told, he was really only here 50% this season anyway. Only the first couple of months did he play every night and at 100%.

What's scary is that Manny at 50% is still pretty productive. :o

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Welcome to the "Bay" state Jason Bay!

His triple and Jed Lowrie's single win the game for the Red Sox in 12 innings. I forgive Oki.

Could Timlin be the new set up guy?

Boy, did everyone (the team, management and the fans) need this win!

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Great win, Jason Bay had a big debut. The BP pitched great tonight. Oki had a problem, again, but it wasn't awful. In any other park it would've been a lazy pop fly to left.

Still feels really weird not to see Manny out there. I know he's not the greatest guy by any stretch of the imagination or anything, but he was a lot of fun to watch up until this year. I'm gonna miss seeing him and Papi in the middle of the order, that Dodger blue just doesn't look right. I still feel like he would've been back next year had he decided not to have Boras be his agent.

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The ManRam update:

* NL at-bat #1: ground-out, 6-3. (Yes, I know how to keep score, and have since 1975. ;) )

* NL at-bat #2: infield single, a hard smash to D-back shortstop Stephen Drew.

* ManRam's wearing #99 -- the same number that former Phillie closer Mitch "Wild Thing" wore during his run in the '90s. (Fitting, ain't it? :P )

* He (ManRam, not Wild Thing) will have his hair cut. For tonight, he's letting his 'dreds fly wild and free.

* Finally, the signing of ManRam resulted in 11,000 tickets sold at Dodger Stadium since yesterday. I know that most the folks who go to Dodger Stadium are no longer knowledgeable baseball fans -- they've since been replaced by casual fans -- but how naive can they be? Sheesh! :blink:

Thanks, Ryan. I used to watch it during my half-hour treadmill runs at my former home, the apartment in downtown Long Beach. Since I'd traded my indoor "runs" for outdoor runs three years ago, I'd lost track of "Around the Horn" pretty quickly.

Up to this point, it's been a great pitching duel. Impressed by Ponson.

I've liked Sid the Kid for a while -- 2001, specifically. It made me glow all over to see him dominate for those seven innings. :)

Jan/GSBG

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Today has been a mixed day for me.

I was so happy for Bay getting the hit to help win the game.

Now as a Dodger fan I have to root for fruicake man with his Gretzkey

number on.

I hope LA wins th game in the 9th inning but am not holdng my breath.

Go Dodgers, Go Sox and for uncle Go Cubs

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For those who can't get enough ManRam, here's more:

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http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb...0,6329565.story

LOS ANGELES TIMES

SCOTT BORAS DENIES PULLING ANY STRING IN MANNY RAMIREZ DEAL

By Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

6:50 PM PDT, August 1, 2008

As the Dodgers welcomed Manny Ramirez to town on Friday, agent Scott Boras strongly denied the suggestion he had orchestrated the trade that led Ramirez out of Boston and into free agency this winter.

"Manny did not hire me to get him traded," Boras said.

By the time Dodgers owner Frank McCourt personally escorted Ramirez on a tour of Dodger Stadium on Friday afternoon, the Dodgers already had turned a handsome profit on their acquisition of the slugging outfielder.

In the 27 hours since the Dodgers announced they had traded for Ramirez, they sold 27,225 single-game tickets as well as 230 season tickets, according to chief operating officer Dennis Mannion. They also sold out Friday night's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, selling more than 10,000 seats after the trade was announced Thursday.

The Dodgers acquired Ramirez at no cost, with the Boston Red Sox picking up the $7 million remaining on his contract. The Sox traded him after a tumultuous season that included altercations with teammate Kevin Youkilis and the team's traveling secretary as well as allegations -- publicly voiced by pitcher Curt Schilling -- that Ramirez sometimes did not play hard and sometimes chose not to play at all.

At a news conference preceding the Red Sox game on Friday, Boston General Manager Theo Epstein said, "We had a meeting with 25 guys who feel like a team. We haven't felt like that for a week."

Ramirez, wearing No. 99 at a brief and generally jovial news conference at Dodger Stadium, declined to discuss his Boston tenure.

"Boston is in the past," Ramirez said. "Every time people ask me about Boston, I put my brain on pause."

On Wednesday, after the final Red Sox game before the trade deadline, Epstein met with several veterans, reaching a consensus that the Sox would be better off trading Ramirez if possible, according to the Boston Globe and Providence Journal.

"I'm not going to waste any energy when people talk like this," Ramirez said. "It's a new chapter. It's a new city. I want people to judge me on what I do here."

He added later: "I feel like I took 5,000 pounds off my back coming here."

Boras said Ramirez called him last winter and asked to hire him. Boras said he had to explain the structure of Ramirez's contract, in which the Red Sox held options for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, at $20 million apiece.

"He said, 'How did I get in that situation?' " Boras said.

Ramirez signed that contract in 2000, guaranteeing him $160 million through 2008 but preventing him from becoming a free agent this winter or next winter unless the Red Sox declined their option.

In exchange for Ramirez waiving his no-trade clause, the Sox removed the options from his contract, making him eligible for free agency this fall.

Schilling, appearing Thursday on Boston radio station WEEI, said he suspected Boras played a role in trying to force the Sox to trade the 36-year-old Ramirez.

"I think he's absolutely had a hand in this," Schilling said. "Scott Boras stands to make zero dollars if the Red Sox pick up Manny's options the next two years."

Said Boras: "I don't know Curt Schilling, other than the fact that, way back when in Philadelphia, he said signing J.D. Drew would be a huge mistake."

Boras said Ramirez did not hire him to figure out how to become a free agent this year, let alone to devise a scheme to get the outfielder out of Boston before then.

"There might have been a renegotiation with the Red Sox in the future," Boras said. "You simply can't anticipate situations like this occurring."

In his news conference, Ramirez thanked the Boston fans for their support and expressed lighthearted concern that Dodgers Manager Joe Torre had ordered him to cut his flowing dreadlocks.

"I'm going to be looking like a baby," Ramirez said.

Ramirez could not wear his No. 24 with the Dodgers, because the number is retired in honor of Hall of Fame Manager Walter Alston. Ramirez said No. 99 was his third choice, after the No. 34 made famous here by Fernando Valenzuela. The number is not retired.

"I couldn't take 34," Ramirez said, "because that's Fernando's number and he's the king."

Times staff writer Dylan Hernandez contributed to this report.

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Now as a Dodger fan I have to root for fruicake man with his Gretzky number on.

Think of #99, medford, as ManRam's "Wild Thing" number. I'm sure you remember Mitch Williams' work from the '93 Jays-Phillies World Series, right? ;)

I hope LA wins th game in the 9th inning but am not holdng my breath.

Best o' luck to you with the '08 edition of the Blue Crew. They're a lusty .500 team at the start of tonight's game, a group so inconsistent and unpredictable that even patient Joe Torre has turned grayer still during his lengthy (haha) tenure here. It'll be surprising if ManRam doesn't add to Joe's graying locks.

Jan/GSBG

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I'm sorry but Boras is full of ****. Manny seemed very happy and content from last year through April of this year, for the first time in a Boston uniform. The only comments he made about his contract then was that he was working out hard in the offseason in a hope to put up huge numbers in 2008 so the Sox would pick up his option. Then he hires Boras as his agent and by July he is griping about a new contract, picking up his option, and badmouthing the organization. When he shoved the traveling secretary down and smacked Youk in the dugout you could tell something was wrong...Manny was worried about something. I've never seen Manny Ramirez worried about anything before, I think Boras got him worried about his contract because he wasn't hitting at all at the time of those incidents.

Boras stood to make no money at all if the Sox had just picked up his option the next two years, and trust me I'm sure he told Manny that he'd easily get a $20 million contract offer next season and the following 3+ years from many different teams. I don't see Manny getting $20 million a year anymore, I just don't, unless he posts an MVP caliber second half. His numbers are good, just not as good as they had been. Also if the Sox had signed him to a 4 year extension before the season, who's to say he doesn't get angry at something in a way only Manny can in the middle of year #2 of the extension and demand a trade? This is why they didn't sign him before the season, I think Theo wanted to see if Manny was really happy in Boston and wouldn't pull anymore stunts.

Also I saw this in one article, "I've got to cut it. I'm going to be looking like a baby," Ramirez said with a smile. "I don't want them to treat me different than the other guys. If they want me to cut it, I'll cut it. It will grow back." Manny actually said he doesn't want them to treat him any differently....WHAT!!!???? This is what RemDog was talking about during the Sox game tonight. The Red Sox organization bent over backwards to accommodate his every need the last 7+ years and then he goes off and starts trash talking the management. He doesn't know what he's talking about right now, he honestly isn't acting like himself. I know he can act flaky and random, but never to the point where he goes after management in the press or gets on teammates nerves like this (the other thing Jerry Remy pointed out tonight, normally his teammates love him even when he's asking to be traded)....I mean when in the past has he actually even been fully willing to speak to the press?

Thank you for all the fun times Manny (and there were a lot of them) and the 2 world championships, but you've truly gone off the deep end this time. You have no idea what you are doing or what you are talking about, have fun with Boras pulling all the strings for the remainder of your career.

Oh well...at least Jason Bay showed some big time skills tonight by helping the Sox come through. It's gonna be weird not seeing Manny in LF, but the Sox definetly seemed much more energetic tonight even though they only scored 2 runs. It is kind of cool to see Manny/Nomar/D Lowe on the same team again, and it is weird to actually hear Nomar's name and quotes on SportCenter again too. ;)

EDIT: I just saw this on Boston Globe.com:

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/reds...anged_his_mind/

"Of all the Manny moments in Boston, the last ranks as one of the most confounding. Within an hour after Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein informed Manny Ram

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Manny being Manny in LA (thankfully): The highlights....

LOS ANGELES -- One game into the Manny Ramirez era and it seems the Dodgers can lose 2-1 to the Diamondbacks just as easily with him as without him. Ramirez was big box office for his Hollywood premiere, the sellout crowd at Dodger Stadium instantly in love with their new hero and cheering his every move -- right up until his ninth-inning double-play grounder snuffed out what might have been a dramatic comeback.

"It looked like it was all set up for something spectacular," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Instead, the Dodgers suffered the same result by the same score as the night before and dropped three games behind Arizona and one game below .500.

By the ninth inning, Ramirez already had two of the Dodgers' six hits, although one single exploded past shortstop Stephen Drew's glove and the other was a check-swing, scored a hit only because the opposing pitcher was late covering first.

"Everybody in the dugout was really excited with Manny there, but Randy sort of neutralized it by the way he pitched," Torre said. "Our strength is still pitching. You hope with Manny's addition it helps our offense."

A few runs to work with would have been nice, but even with the addition of a future Hall of Fame cleanup hitter, the Dodgers' offense looked like the Dodgers' offense, losing for the 30th time this year while scoring no more than one run.

He caught all three fly balls without incident. But Manny was being Manny when he trotted after a ball in the gap by Chris Burke that should have been less than a triple, and when he stood and watched the Kemp rundown instead of advancing to an unoccupied second base.

Joe Torre knows what he has, lol. An extremely talented future Hall of Famer who is way over paid and acts like a baby when things arent the way he wants them to be. I like Torre and have tons of respect for him but I have to think he's rolling his eyes on the inside, now that he has to deal with a media frenzy over a primadonna much like the one he left in NY.

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OK, folks: Here's T.J. Simers, the Los Angeles Times columnist I was telling you about a day or two ago. Believe it or not, he's actually toned himself down over the last few years, when the acid in his columns could burn through the newsprint itself. (Just kidding, of course.) Anyway, T.J. weighs in on ManRam here:

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http://www.latimes.com/sports/columnists/l...,4775128.column

LOS ANGELES TIMES

July 31, 2008

11:11 p.m. (Pacific Time)

T.J. Simers

NOT EVEN NED COLLETTI COULD LOSE WITH THIS MOVE

Getting Manny Ramirez, one of baseball's best hitters, and not having to pay him was a no-brainer for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers get one of the best hitters in baseball in Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox will still pay his salary, so it really was a no-brainer, which explains why Ned Colletti was able to make the deal.

A few days ago, after the Angels finally took some advice and added more power with Mark Teixeira, Page 2 suggested that the Dodgers had become a joke.

The Dodgers responded by trading for a clown, Manny being Manny, albeit a show-stopper who entertains like almost no other in baseball.

"He's a difference maker," pitcher Derek Lowe said, and with my apologies to Angel Berroa, the Dodgers don't have any of those.

Lowe, who played with Ramirez in Boston, was almost giddy at the prospect of playing with him again, calling this the biggest move in his time with the Dodgers.

How soon he forgets the trade for Mark Hendrickson.

"This may be the best right-handed hitter I have ever seen," Lowe said. "It's like Barry Bonds coming up. There is a different intensity in the place -- very few people catch your attention like Manny can."

The Dodgers now have too many outfielders. But I imagine they will be sending a limo to pick up Ramirez at the airport, his safety in getting to the stadium critical, so why not have Andruw Jones driving -- knowing there's no chance of him hitting anything along the way.

Yes, unlike previous Colletti acquisitions, this one is foolproof. There is no down side, the Dodgers giving up nothing, paying nothing and scoring a positive public relations hit to salvage a mediocre season to date.

It doesn't even matter that Ramirez has already let his new teammates know he cares more about his own financial welfare down the road rather than winning a ring this season.

Ramirez is no longer with the Red Sox because he was unhappy with his contract status. Boston had the option of bringing Ramirez back next season for $20 million, but Ramirez wanted to test the free-agent market, and stomped his feet when Boston said nothing.

He said he was willing to play in Iraq, surprisingly Pluto not an option, and was willing to dog it in the middle of a contested division race to make that point. Brings back memories here of Gary Sheffield, who was traded by the Dodgers for the same reason.

The Red Sox dealt Ramirez to the Dodgers, getting Ramirez's approval in exchange for dropping the team's option to retain him for $20 million, thereby giving the Dodgers no claim to him after this season.

But who's complaining? Two months of Ramirez, although it might mean fewer at-bats for Jones, might make the difference in winning the West.

As big as that would be, bigger yet is the entertainment promised by such an unpredictable talent. This could be fun, and when's the last time anyone said that about Dodgers baseball?

RAMIREZ WORE No. 24 in Boston, but will wear another number when he arrives in L.A. because a fella by the name of WalterAlston -- and it will be interesting whether Ramirez has ever heard of him -- wore No. 24. The Dodgers retired No. 24.

I SUGGESTED giving the empty locker next to Jeff Kent to Ramirez, but the Dodgers nixed that idea.

Some people might not know it, but Kent and Ramirez were teammates in Cleveland, "before he had the dreds," Kent said. "I see the dreds now and I feel I'm on vacation in Jamaica. We went there and my wife came home with dreds just like Manny has now."

The fact that Ramirez might remind Kent of his wife on vacation, along with his previous rocky relationship with Bonds, explains why so many people e-mailed wanting to know how Kent is going to get along with Ramirez.

"Barry Bonds and I went to the World Series together," Kent said. "Barry Bonds and I each won a MVP award playing together."

Maybe the Dodgers should have brought in Bonds instead of Ramirez.

BOTTOM OF the ninth, two outs, a runner on and the Dodgers trailing, 2-1. Brandon Lyon, who blew a save a week and a half ago against the Dodgers in a similar situation, is facing Jones, everyone in Dodger Stadium on their feet -- Jones' chance, and maybe his last this season, to redeem himself.

First pitch, a lineout to left, game over and Arizona wins.

Sounds crazy, I know, but what about Ramirez batting behind Jones, opposing pitchers forced to throw strikes to Jones to keep the bases clear with Ramirez on deck?

"It's not a crazy question," Torre said. "I think anyone hitting [ahead of Ramirez] is going to get better pitches to hit."

I know, I'm suggesting the Dodgers play Jones again when it should be Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp every day, but he's signed through next year and the Dodgers will probably only have Ramirez for two months.

Call it Jones' final exam -- if he can't hit with Ramirez protecting him, why should anyone expect next year to be different?

TEIXEIRA SAID he was going to stay in the home of his agent, Scott Boras, when he comes to California with the Angels.

If Ramirez stays with his agent, he will be rooming with Teixeira since Boras also represents Ramirez.

ANOTHER RED SOX player, Johnny Damon, had to cut his hair to conform to Yankees standards while Torre was there, and when Torre came here, he had pitcher Joe Beimel clean up his act.

Will Torre ask Ramirez to cut his shaggy hair?

"I don't know," Torre said, "but I know Beimel is waiting with bated breath to see what happens."

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More from the Times on Manny's debut:

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http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb...0,3603508.story

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Aug.2, 2008

MANNY RAMIREZ CAN'T SAVE DODGERS FROM LOSS

He has two hits but grounds into a double play in the ninth.

Ben Bolch

Times Staff Writer

He took a seat in the Dodgers' dugout and the fans cheered.

He jogged to shallow left field to stretch and the fans roared.

He stepped into the on-deck circle and the fans rose to their feet, many repeatedly chanting his name.

Merely being Manny Ramirez was enough Friday to endear the Dodgers' newest acquisition to the fans.

It wasn't enough to save the Dodgers from a bullpen that couldn't hold a lead, and a ninth-inning rally fizzled when Ramirez grounded into a double play during a 2-1 defeat against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.

Ramirez had a chance to be the hero in his Dodgers debut when he came to the plate in the ninth against closer Brandon Lyon with Russell Martin on first base and nobody out after a leadoff single.

"It looked like it was all set up for something spectacular," Manager Joe Torre said.

But with the sellout crowd of 55,239 on its feet, Ramirez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play before Jeff Kent popped up to second baseman Orlando Hudson to end the game.

"It was great, man," Ramirez said of the buzzing crowd. "It's like Boston with the people cheering for you. . . . He made a good pitch. You have to give him credit."

Arizona tagged reliever Chan Ho Park for two seventh-inning runs to increase its lead over the Dodgers to three games in the National League West.

Tony Clark hit a solo homer off Park and Stephen Drew hit a double on the only pitch thrown by Joe Beimel to score Chris Snyder from second base with Arizona's second run.

The bullpen's inability to preserve a lead was nearly as much of an oddity as the sight of the Dodgers' left fielder. Wearing No. 99, with dreadlocks that descended below his shoulder (for now), Ramirez went two for four with a pair of singles.

Acquired Thursday from the Boston Red Sox as part of a three-team, six-player trade, Ramirez generated plenty of excitement, with 12,000 tickets for Friday's game sold since the trade for Ramirez was announced.

"The fans received me with open arms. It was unbelievable," Ramirez said. "I was like a kid today, I was so nervous."

The affection showered upon Ramirez on Friday was unconditional. He was cheered before and after he grounded out to shortstop Drew in the second inning on the first pitch he saw as a Dodger.

In his second at-bat, with two out in the fourth, Ramirez stroked a tough-hop single past Drew.

"It was great, man," Ramirez said. "I'm just glad to get my first hit out of the way."

Matt Kemp gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the sixth with a run-scoring double off Randy Johnson that extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games.

The lead didn't last long. Clark's homer to straightaway center off Park in the seventh inning ended an eight-game streak in which Dodgers pitchers had held their opponents without a homer, the team's longest stretch since May 1996.

Park's inability to hold the lead cost Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw a chance at his second consecutive victory after failing to record a win in his first nine major league starts. Kershaw pitched six shutout innings, holding the Diamondbacks to four hits.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb...4163,full.story

LOS ANGELES TIMES

August 2, 2008

MANNY RAMIREZ IS ALREADY A BIG HIT

Slugger makes an impact at the box office.

Dylan Hernandez

Times Staff Writer

Escorted by six security guards and Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda, Manny Ramirez made his way to a podium set up behind home plate at Dodger Stadium on Friday, the dozen or so cameramen around him impeding his movement.

Lasorda was bumped by a camera and shouted, "Whoa! Whoa! Wait a minute!"

The circus had come to Dodger Stadium.

For the Dodgers, who acquired Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox in a three-way deal that cost them only two minor leaguers and the 12-time All-Star outfielder's $1-million relocation bonus, the returns on their stunning trade deadline move were immediate.

In the 30 hours that followed the announcement that the Dodgers had traded for Ramirez, the team sold more than 30,000 single-game tickets as well as almost 300 season-ticket packages for the remaining home games, according to chief operating officer Dennis Mannion. They sold out their game Friday night against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, more than 12,000 of the tickets purchased after the temperamental slugger became a Dodger.

Ramirez, who wore No. 99 and started in left field, had his first at-bat of a two-for-four night to lead off the bottom of the second inning, which was preceded by a video montage that showed several of the 510 home runs he has hit over his 16-year career. Before long, the crowd was on its feet chanting, "Ma-nny! Ma-nny! Ma-nny!"

Ramirez grounded out to Stephen Drew at short on the first pitch delivered to him by Randy Johnson, but the fans continued applauding, many of them wearing the $29 Ramirez T-shirts and $280 jerseys that the Dodgers started selling in their team stores.

The Dodgers' clubhouse was noticeably energized.

"There's a lot of excitement," said first baseman James Loney, who had Ramirez autograph a bat for him in spring training.

"We were waiting with anticipation."

Ramirez flew from Boston to Los Angeles in the morning and was taken around Dodger Stadium by owner Frank McCourt and General Manager Ned Colletti. He entered the Dodgers' clubhouse at 3:38 p.m., met several of his new teammates and went into Joe Torre's office to speak to his new manager.

"He basically said to me that he wants to be treated like everyone else," Torre said, meaning Ramirez will be cutting the dreadlocks the same way left-hander Joe Beimel had to cut his long hair in spring training.

"I'm going to be looking like a baby," Ramirez said at a news conference. "Don't worry, it's going to grow back."

At one point, a Spanish-speaking reporter asked Ramirez to shake his hand.

"I'll give you a hug," said Ramirez, who proceeded to do so.

Another Spanish-speaking journalist asked Ramirez if he wanted a tour of Los Angeles.

"No," he said. "I bought a navigation system."

He was later asked in English if he would explore opportunities to act. He initially said, "No," only to switch to Spanish and reconsider.

"Maybe in a soap opera," he said.

The few words Ramirez devoted to the sport itself were visceral or light-hearted, or, in some cases, both, with Ramirez saying he had to learn the tendencies of National League pitchers and joking that he might become a base stealer.

Other than to tell the fans of Boston that he loved them, Ramirez declined to discuss his tenure with the Red Sox, which ended as a result of his trade demand.

"Boston is in the past," Ramirez said. "Every time people ask me about Boston, I put my brain on pause."

At a news conference preceding the Red Sox game on Friday, Boston General Manager Theo Epstein said, "We had a meeting with 25 guys who feel like a team. We haven't felt like that for a week."

Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, strongly denied the suggestion that he orchestrated the trade that led Ramirez out of Boston and into free agency this winter. In exchange for allowing a trade to the Dodgers, Ramirez had the club options in his contract for the 2009 and 2010 seasons voided.

"Manny did not hire me to get him traded," said Boras, who did not negotiate Ramirez's contract and, as a result, will get a share of his earnings only if he signs a new deal.

A day into what could be only a two-month stay with the Dodgers, Ramirez already exhibited the kind of the behavioral quirks that became part of his legend in Boston.

In the fifth inning, he took his time getting to a ball hit to left-center by Chris Burke, as a likely double became a triple.

Settling on a uniform number also took some time, as the No. 24 that Ramirez wore in Boston was retired in honor of former manager Walter Alston.

Clubhouse manager Mitch Poole said he spoke to Mota on Thursday night and that they agreed that No. 28 would be appropriate. But Poole received a call from one of Boras' associates, who said Ramirez wanted to know what other numbers were available. Several of Ramirez's requests were denied, including No. 34, which Fernando Valenzuela wore. Though the number isn't officially retired, "in our hearts it is," Poole said.

Ramirez said he would wear No. 66 and Poole prepared the uniform, only to later learn he changed his mind.

Ramirez later told teammates that No. 99 was pushed onto him by his representatives, something Boras' associates denied while chuckling.

Manny being Manny?

"Yes he is," Poole said.

Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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Joe Torre knows what he has, lol. An extremely talented future Hall of Famer who is way over paid and acts like a baby when things arent the way he wants them to be. I like Torre and have tons of respect for him but I have to think he's rolling his eyes on the inside, now that he has to deal with a media frenzy over a primadonna much like the one he left in NY.

As a Torre fan for more than 30 years -- he was a total class act when he won the NL MVP in '71 -- I know he'll handle ManRam with patience. That said, he'll have the guts to put the team first, and he'll tell that to MR when the Manny-being-Manny act becomes a distraction.

(By the way, the "media frenzy" mentioned by TSA isn't diddly-squat here in SoCal. It's true: the Los Angeles Times and La Opinion, the region's main Spanish-language newspaper, are the only newspapers in of any significance and substance here. The paper that Mr. GSBG and I subscribe to, the Orange County Register, is far smaller than the News & Observer. Appropriate to its lack of size and payroll, it employs a stringer/part-time reporter to cover the Dodgers. In short, ManRam'll be a wee bit surprised to find a much smaller collection of media members here wanting to talk with him. Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen.)

Jan/GSBG

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Hahahahaha!!! I was really trying to move past Mannygate and just enjoy the newly found serenity in Fenway but I couldnt help myself with this one. One day in LA and he's ready to end his career there.....if they're ready to talk contract. Bwahahahahahahhahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOS ANGELES -- Day 1 was hectic. Now that the storm has passed, Manny Ramirez has decided that he wants to end his career as a professional baseball player in sunny L.A.

"I like this city, the environment, the energy in the fans. I think that I'll play here for the remainder of my career," Ramirez said in an exclusive interview with ESPNdeportes.com.

"I just feel comfortable. Regardless of how hectic Friday was -- traveling from Boston with only a few hours of sleep, going to a press conference and later play a game -- I started to feel the peace of mind that I was searching for," Ramirez added.

"The Dodgers brought me here to end my career in this city -- at least that's what I'm thinking. However, we haven't even discussed the future. I'm simply starting to know this team," Ramirez said.

"I want to even buy a house in Los Angeles. My kids go to school in Miami, and I'd like them to move with me [to L.A.], but there will be no move until my future here is confirmed. I don't want to be here for two months and then end up in another city," Ramirez said.

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I know it is just two games, but Jason Bay looks great so far as a Red Sock. The team as a whole just looks so much more like the Sox before the last 1.5 months, more calm, more complete and more like a team. And yeah, I think Manny is going off the deep end. I strongly believe that Boras manipulated Manny (which can't be that hard to do) and because of it Manny now doesn't really know what to do or say. I'm not saying Manny isn't at fault in this whole thing, but Manny seems like he's been taking orders from Boras during this whole season. It honestly looks like he doesn't know what he wants to say, he's literally changing his mind every few days. He doesn't know what he wants and even though I still fondly remember his days as a Red Sock I still can't help but feel happy whenever he strikes out or makes a bad play in the field. In my opinion he won't make 20 million a year next year anyway so I think I get a little bit more happy about the whole thing when I know Boras just screwed him out of some money.

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I still think Ramirez is a POG but was thankful

he helped LA win yesterday.

I was very happy for Bay hitting a bomb. What a class act he is. :D

The Sox are going to go on a tear, just like in 04. Getting rid of

a huge distraction is the best thing that could happen.

For my Dodgers, if/When Furcal comes back, they might even

have a good lineup. When was the last time we said that, when

Steve Garvey played there :lol: (yes they won in the last 80s but

it was always due to pitching for the most part, not offense. )

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Manny certainly crushed one last night but he just keeps on shooting his mouth off. All the power to him...as long as its across the country and doesn't effect the Red Sox anymore.

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