I know my last few posts have been sports-centered, but its hard to focus on much else with Manny Mania taking over L.A. In less than 12 hours after news of the trade was made public, the Dodgers sold over 11,000 tickets, more than compensating for the $1 million relocation bonus they have to pay Mr. Ramirez. I watched all four games of this weekend's Arizona series and came away feeling confident that Manny will be a positive influence for the team's prospects in the post-season and help reinvigorate a city to its hometown team. My favorite part of his interview was when he described how people should judge him in L.A. based on his checkered past in Boston. Manny responded with "You have to read a book, before you judge a person. ", which I think was supposed to be the idiom "Don't judge a book, by its cover".
L.A. loves celebrities and our athletes are included in that bunch, which is why showboats like Kobe Bryant and Reggie Bush are always followed with large groups of fans. But think of the Dodgers team this year and there's been little in the way of a superstar. What we had was a well-rounded roster, helped out by an amazing bullpen, but no big bat or big name to really bring people to the park. That's the weird thing about L.A. fans whether we're in 1st place or 3rd, the amount of people at the park on any given day has more to do with what else is going on in the City and if there's a promo involved like on Friday's game (Free Cooler Night). You'd be amazed how fast tickets sell out to Dodger Blanket night.
I watched Manny hit a homer on Sunday afternoon and cheered with the other 55,000 fans "Manny, Manny, Manny" until he came out to tip his hat to the crowd. And even though we didn't sweep the D'backs, splitting the series was a gift and puts us in a great position as we head into the homestretch of the season. I don't doubt that the Dodgers will make it to the post season, I just hope that in all of the Manny hoopla we don't forget about the core team that made this possible prior to last Thursday. I tip my hat to Martin, Kemp, J. Lo, Pierre, Kent, Ethier, Billingsley, Saito & Kuo. The best part is whether or not the Dodgers can afford Manny next year, a large percentage of these guys will still be wearing Dodger Blue come next April.