Wednesday, April 29, 2009


“I’m ba-a-a-a-ack!”

There’s something about the way Manny Ramirez, at the press conference earlier this year announcing his return to the Dodgers, warped a famous Arnold Schwarzenegger line to his own ends that warms my cockles. It’s gotta rankle the Massachusetts branch of the California governor’s mansion too, but that’s not as good (nor as painful) as the nasty irony that Arnie, in The Terminator, promised “I’ll be back,” and then returned to rain down terror and destruction upon a police division house, just like the beating the Governator is putting on the entire state right now. Manny’s return has been a far more benevolent, self-effacing, dare I say unifying gesture, and he’s settling back into kicking ass with a bat quite nicely. On my way out of town last Sunday afternoon I happily absorbed his contributions to the Dodgers 14-2 shellacking of the Rockies (2 for 4 with a run scored), and he wasn’t even the story—Kemp’s grand slam was, along with the rest of the offensive attack and the much fretted-over pitching (rookie James McDonald was the starter, who only went four and a third before getting backed up by a strong bullpen effort).

I use Manny’s image and line not to equate myself in any way with the shrugging, good-humored slugger, but just because it makes me feel good to see the Dodgers integrating this notorious ne’er-do-well into the big picture and emerging into this early part of the season as a team, not to mention a team (so far) to be reckoned with. And that 14-2 bit of Sunday afternoon breeze blew me out of town toward a great trip of fun, rejuvenation and investigation into the future from which I finally returned yesterday. So yes, I’m ba-a-a-a-ack too, and ready to start up again. But not just yet! But as soon as I finish up with the real world I’ll be checking in (probably no later than tomorrow) with notes on Bea Arthur, bloggers on DVDs, the Earth Day premiere, giant crocodiles, and my own answers to Professor Peabody’s questions. And certainly, if you have not yet submitted your own answers, know that there is so such thing as a due date and that all entries, whenever they are posted, will be happily received. I really enjoyed keeping up with them over my short vacation and hope that we have not yet hit the end of the road on this particular test-taking period.

The lights are back on. The fire has been lit. How was your week?



Kevin J. Olson said...

It's nice to see this team play together. They're the team I root for out of the NL (the Mariner's are my team, and not just because of proximity, I've always loved 'em) and it's good to see the venom (uh, Jeff Kent, anyone?) gone from the clubhouse. Kemp, Ethier, Broxton, Loney, Kershaw, Martin, etc. -- they have one of the best, and most exciting, teams in all of baseball. Plus it's nice to see the re-emergence Orlando Hudson, who with Furcal, gives L.A. one of the best defensive infields.

It's just good to see the whole veteran/youth thing put to rest (my Mariner's had a big problem with that last year with the likes of Ibanez and Sexson and the bunch). Plus, as overused as the phrase is, it's great to see Manny being Manny. I like him in L.A. and hope they continue winning -- we DO NOT need another Philly, St. Louis, or God help us, Chicago in the World Series.

Sadly, the Mariner's a few years away as our pitching staff is on par with the Dodger's, but we foolishly traded away our version Matt Kemp (super athletic outfielder Adam Jones) in one of the dumbest trades in American League history.

Anyway. It's fun to watch the "kids" play in L.A. I certainly like them more than that other awful "L.A." (come on just call yourself Anaheim) team...ugh.

I'm so glad it's baseball season.

Greg said...

How was your week?...

Well Bill was kind of a jerk but what's new there right?

Rick left the water running in the bathroom sink all night long which ran up the bill.

Marilyn and Kimberly took the Minivan out for a joyride and brought it back on empty.

Jim posted some crazy bastard singing "Pretty Woman" even though I asked him not to.

Brian's all into his new Yoko Ono girlfriend and doesn't have time for any of us anymore.

Larry... well, you know. Larry's Larry.

Ryan Kelly said...

Jim posted some crazy bastard singing "Pretty Woman" even though I asked him not to....

We all ask Jim not to post that wacky stuff. We tell him we're savants and can't handle anything but movies. He insists on rattling our brains!

And yeah, I'm enjoying Baseball season, even if my NY Mets have been losing games they could have easily won. I'm not part of the Yankees/Mets rivalry, though, they're both New York lineage's and part of the city's rich history. But I see the Yanks as less of a team and more of a conglomeration of rich jerks who happen to be playing baseball wearing the same uniform. I mean, they spend more on acquiring the young, hot players than most teams spend on their entire budget... something is wrong there, for sure.

Still, looking forward to getting out to their brand new stadiums.

Dana King said...

Welcome back. Not to rain on your parade, but I'm curious to see your opinion of the "shrugging, good-humored slugger" should he secide to quit on the Dodgers during a pennant race like he did with the Red Sox.

Brian Doan said...

Well, Greg, I was going to invite you to our primal scream sessions, but now? Forget it, man.

Patrick said...

I hate to be negative about your team and your player, but Ramirez's behavior last year was reprehensible, and worse, he got away with it. Quitting on your team to force a trade is unforgiveable, I'll never forget it anyway. Players who are unhappy in one place seem to carry that around with them. I think they think it's the team, it's management, it's someone else anyway, and then they move a few teams and at least we figure out that it is them (Terrell Owens is exhibit A), even if they never get clued in. I wonder if he starts to sulk in LA too, or if Torre can apply some sort of soothing balm to keep him happy. Maybe the trick is to have him perpetually in a contract year.

Robert Fiore said...

I have to wonder in what universe a line of .299/.398/.529 playing in all but seven games constitutes "quitting." Not that I didn't have the same sort of feelings when Shaquille O'Neal forced his trade from the Lakers.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Kevin: Sorry I missed you at the Earth Day screening last week. It was loads of fun, and I will report on it as soon as I get my feet back on solid ground here. It’s bitterly lame that I announce return from Oregon and then don’t file any posts for almost another week. Well, life does intrude, as I’m sure you know.

I got to go to Dodger Stadium for the first time this past Friday night to watch the team notch their eighth straight home win in 2009, against the lowly Padres, who they ended up sweeping in the four-game weekend series. Each game was fun, and Friday night was a great pitcher’s duel that ended up tilting in the Dodgers favor when the Padres brought out ex-Dodger reliever (and general no-account) Duaner Sanchez. I cheered wildly at his appearance, and he did not disappoint. He gave walks to Manny and Loney, and intentionally/unintentionally walked another (was it Kemp?) to load the bases and get to the slumping Russell Martin, who had an epic at-bat, fouling off pitch after pitch and working the count to 3-2. Sanchez then threw ball four, Martin held up on a swing to within a slender hair of crossing the line, and the Dodgers emerged victorious, 1-0. It was a real thriller. My wife and girls were there with me, and they had a great time, especially my oldest daughter, who seemed to really enjoy the strategy of the game for the first time.

I still think we’re in for a dip in the road, due to the shakiness of the pitching staff (Jeff Weaver isn’t exactly my idea of a knight in shining armor, but as long as he’s pitching well…) and the inevitable fatigue and mysteries of the slump that everyone will end up going through over the course of a season. But, Jesus, it’s pretty hard not to let oneself get excited when your team jumps out to a start this good. They’re going for 11-in-a-row at home tonight and, if they win, the all-time major league record for best home start tomorrow night. What’s not to like?

Ryan: I am very curious about those new stadiums too. Is it possible to get decent seats at a price less than a mortgage payment, though? (And, yeah, that “Pretty Woman” post was creepier than anything in Mulholland Drive!)

Dana, Patrick: I have to agree with Robert here. Manny “quit” on the Red Sox and was still out-hitting his teammates and just about everybody else in Major League Baseball. Believe me, I’ve seen locker-room “cancers” the likes of Jeff Kent and Garry Sheffield, down to lumbering ne’er-do wells like the Perez boys (Odalis and his mopey twin, Carlos, the Cooler-Hurler), come through L.A., and I’d take Manny Ramirez over any of those guys in a heartbeat. As long as Manny continues to energize and inspire this club the way he’s doing, he’s gonna be all right with me. He’s got the right attitude for the Dodgers, he’s having a great time, and despite those out-of-context quotes about Cleveland, I fully expect to see him here again next year. If he suddenly gets restless and sour, so be it. But the way he feeds off the fan energy and admiration here, which is reflected by the organization as well in ways it never was in Boston, I can’t see that changing.

And I’m sorry, but I can’t join the ongoing parade of anguish over Manny’s Boston years. Red Sox agony is not my agony, despite ESPN’s efforts to paint Ramirez’s tenure and resulting departure from there as a national-scale offense. He’s in a place he wants to be right now, and his performance on the field reflects that. He respects Torre, he enjoys being the elder statesman for these younger players. And I might give more credence to that ongoing contract-year theory if this past off-season hadn’t been such an eye-opener for him and his agent re the marketplace. Perhaps Manny has, against all odds, found his place. Right now, with the Dodgers playing the way they are, it’s hard for me to think of it any other way and enjoy the hell out of this ride.