Monday, August 30, 2010

Dodgers Should Have Kept and Used Manny


By Ross Newhan

      If you are looking for me to say I was wrong. If you are looking for me to say good riddance, Manny, I'm not going to do it.

      A few days ago I wrote that the Dodgers, still with a wild card shot, should keep Manny Ramirez through the end of September and keep him in the lineup.

     Well, several days after he was eligible to return to the lineup, Joe Torre finally put him in as a pinch hitter Sunday and he gets thrown out after one pitch for arguing the strike call.

     Stupid? Certainly.

     His way of saying to the Dodgers that he wanted out, that he should have been playing and that he needed to get to an American League team so he could prove over the final month that he can be a designated hitter and return to the AL with a major contract for next year? Is he really that smart and devious?

     I still say the Dodgers should have put him back in the lineup and kept him there. He is a .311 hitter with a .405 on-base percentage, a .510 slugging percentage and a .915 OPS.

    Is Torre's lineup loaded with hitters of that caliber? Reed Johnson? Scott Podsednik?

    Give me a break.

    This was Frank McCourt's way of saving about $4 million as his divorce trial opens. The entire 2010 season has been about saving money wherever and whenever he can.

    The 2010 season was about the McCourt's splitting and spitting in the face of Dodger fans.

    And still, heading into the final month, this was a team with a post-season opportunity and potentially their best hitter sitting on the bench and losing what patience he had left.

    Yes, Manny had long since thrown away the opportunity to maintain a love affair with Los Angeles heading towards retirement. He wasn't the same hitter on the field or the same clubhouse personality off it.

    He had been suspended for employing a performance enhancing substance and his body was breaking down. Still, there were those numbers and the potential in his bat and the Dodgers had one more month to close a 5 1/2 game spread separating them from the wild card lead.

    Who do you really want in left field? Manny Ramirerz or Scott Podsenik?

    For one last month I'd take my chances with Ramirez.

    Of course, I don't need $4 million. Can't miss what you've never had.

    * * *

    A few more words on Manny. Maybe he was too demonstrative (his description) and said the wrong thing to umpire Gary Cederstrom. There isn't much leeway on ball and strike calls.

    These days there isn't much leeway on any calls.

    The umpires are blowing so many and seemingly itching to provoke and sustain arguments that it has become an embarrassment to the industry.

    I think Bud Selig is too intelligent not to recognize it as such.

   Getting it right during critical games is more important than the time that would be lost checking the replay.

   More replay is needed, and the umpires need a good scolding in regard to their attitude, although I hate to generalize. Not all of them carry the same attitudinal chip.                        

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