Manny Who?

As you probably noticed – unless you were living on Mars… in a cave… with your eyes closed… and your fingers in your ears… – last night marked the long-awaited return of Manny Ramirez. And thanks to him, the Dodgers put up 5 in the first inning and cruised to victory! By which I mean, “Manny went 0-3 with a walk, and the offense was really fueled by Matt Kemp and – of all people – Russell Martin and Rafael Furcal, the latter two of whom combined for six hits.”

dodger4thofjuly.jpgIt’s an interesting question, though. Manny did very little at the plate, yet the offense, which had struggled so much lately, turned it up immediately. Is that because of Manny’s presence? Because the atmosphere at what would have otherwise been a half-empty, dreary Petco Park was more like Game 7 of the World Series? Or maybe because Chad Gaudin clearly didn’t have his A game, and the lousy defense behind him wasn’t helping either? A combination of all of these things, I’d think – but if Manny really does play that large a role in getting the rest of the lineup going, then that’s almost worth more than anything he does himself.

In other news, today’s the 4th of July, so rather than go through a long, drawn-out review of Manny’s 0-3 day – which you can find at, oh, one billion other places - I thought I’d put up a nice picture of Dodger Stadium celebrating America, which you can see at right. In order to find such a picture, I went back to see what I’d written on the 4th of July one year ago.

You know how you get to an important date that comes around each year – maybe it’s your birthday, your anniversary, the start of school, etc. – and you say, “man, one year really isn’t as long as it seems. Everything’s about the same as it was.”? Well, let me treat you to what I was talking about on July 4, 2008:

But I implore you, make some time in your day to catch the Dodger game (1pm PST). Because as you should already know, both Nomar Garciaparra and Andruw Jones have sped up their rehab in order to be available today. Tell me you’re not interested in seeing Nomar playing shortstop for the first time since 2005! Especially now that it’s been another year and nine more injuries since “he’s too fragile to play third base” was offered as a reason that he couldn’t be shifted across the infield from first base to make room for James Loney. And you know you want to seeĀ if Jones is going to offer any glimpse of the player he once was, especially since his rehab was originally supposed to end a full two weeks from now on July 18th. I know it’s only 3 minor league games, but he did go 4-8 with a homer and a stolen base in Vegas – and zero strikeouts. Is it possible that the knee really was the source of his problems? I guess we’ll have to see. But if he can come back and be even half of his former self, that would still help this power-starved team and be a massive improvement on the guy who was approximately 1/100000th of his old self earlier this year.

Nomar playing short! Hope still being held out for Fatty Jones to be productive!! And then later in the article, I refer to rumors about the Dodgers getting CC Sabathia and David Eckstein.

My, how things have changed.

Enjoy the holiday, friends.