Thursday October 16, 08
WHERE DOES MANNY GO?
"And how would you like to be “Man-Ram” right about now?! He has McCourt and the Dodgers over a barrel? Ramirez, of course, is a free agent to be and has been making noise about wanting a 6 year deal. And agent Scott Boras is probably putting the finishing touches on a 100 page report detailing why “Man-Ram” is the greatest player in the history of baseball and worth $25-mill per season.
McCourt, of course, does not have the deep pockets of the Yankees, Mets or Red Sox. And you know he’s still furious about being burned as badly as he was by Andruw Jones…who according to Jon Heyman…was mad enough to consider asking for a refund on the 18-mill he gave him this year. Livid that Jones and Juan Pierre both show up every two weeks to pick up their paychecks with a “ski mask and gun”!
And you know he’s paranoid it could happen again with Ramirez and be five times worse. After all, who really knows what “Man-Ram” will do after he gets his money? We saw how badly things ended in Boston.
Fact is, Frank. While it’s an enormous gamble to sign him, it’s a bigger gamble not to! With Ramirez, you matter. Without him, you don’t. With him, you’re in the NLCS. Without him, you’re a .500 team out of the playoffs in the worst division in baseball. Jack this up and you’re going to have some pretty unhappy people both inside and outside that clubhouse. And don’t tell me you can’t afford to sign this guy. You can’t afford not to! Not after he put that team and this city on his back and took everyone to the NLCS, you can’t."
L.A. 'TANKS' AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME
"And while Philly earned this one, L.A. picked a pretty bad time to play one of their worst games of the year. Last night they looked like the pre-“Man-Ram” Dodgers, kicking it all over the joint and unable to get a big “knock” or a big out when they needed it.
Alleged future staff ace Chad Billingsley, who failed to get out of the third inning of Game 2, didn’t exactly set the tone they were looking for when he allowed a lead-off
And how uncanny is it, that every single time the Dodgers get something going, Blake DeWitt has a bat in his hands?! And he absolutely “killed them” again last night, grounding into two rally killing double plays. No offense, Blake, but you and the team would have been better served if you just stood up there with your bat on your shoulder and took three strikes. That way you only make one out instead of two every time you bat! Unfortunately, his replacement, Jeff Kent didn’t do any better, “punching out” twice with men on when he replaced DeWitt.
I asked former Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda before the game if he expected the team to continue its resurgence if Manny Ramirez leaves; he said yes and pointed to how much better they were when Rafael Furcal returned from injury. To quote Carl Lewis, “uh-oh!”. You’re counting on a guy who did this last night to keep this “train on the tracks”?! Three errors in one inning, two on one play…he’s just lucky the official scorer didn’t hit him with a third error on that play, because he could have!
Look, there’s no doubt, the better team won. But considering no one not named Manny Ramirez showed up last night; that should remind Frank McCourt of exactly what his team will look like without “Man-Ram”."
Tuesday October 14, 08
Dodger fan: Ohhhh-Nooooo!
"Joe Torre is a good manager who had a bad game. He went to the hook too soon with Derek Lowe last night…opening the door for his normally reliable bullpen to attempt to “burn down” Dodger Stadium to the ground!
Down two games to one, in a must win situation, Torre justified going to get Lowe by saying, “It looked like he was fighting his emotions the whole game. He said he felt fine. We were probably going to get one more inning out of him, pitch count wise, so I just decided to make the move there.” I’m sure a guy that once went against Torre’s Yankees, on two days rest in the ALCS, a post-season warrior, appreciated Torre suggesting he hooked him because he was afraid he couldn’t “keep his dome”.
And that one extra inning that Torre is so quick to write off, could be the difference in the entire series, because there isn’t a person in this town who thinks Chad Billingsley is going to beat Cole Hamels tomorrow night. What was Torre doing?
Lowe was coming off his first 1-2-3 inning of the night. He had retired 8 of the last 9 guys he faced. He made just 74 pitches. And since when does Torre rip the ball from a vet to give it to a rooke like Clayton Kershaw in that situation?!
Furthermore…how, when and who let Chan Ho Park back in the house? After he wildpitched in the tying run, I half expected Torre to give the ball to Ismael Valdes (or Scott Radinsky). Then Torre has Hong-Chih Kuo pitch the 7th; he looks great. Lets him hit in the bottom half, only to hook after he gives up a “knock” to start the 8th. And for who?! Another rookie, Cory Wade…who had made 33 pitches the night before and barely had enough strength to “drag his gascan” in from the pen. Who do you think Shane Victorino wanted to face in that situation? Kuo, who was “filthy” and running it up there in the mid-90’s, or Wade who barely had enough left to put it on a tee for Victorino?!
And I’m not sure what’s worse. Russell Martin putting down a 2 for that curve Wade hung him, or Wade refusing to shake him off? Either way, he shouldn’t have been out there either! Torre is a guy who made all the right moves coming in, but all the wrong ones last night."
Sunday October 05, 08
The October 3rd TAKE
"Yesterday, Cubs’ fans didn’t go to work. Today, they didn’t get out of bed! And every “north-sider” in a “North Face” fleece is feeling like Tom Hanks in the final battle scene of “Private Ryan” when he’s been shot, knows he’s going to die and everything gets really slow and quiet. And if you’re really honest with yourselves Cubs’ fans, you knew this was coming. Every one of you! From the fat boys in the “hoodies” in the bleachers, to the cute old lady with the Santa Claus hat in the front row. You knew it was coming. You just hoped it would come with some dignity. Well, it hasn’t!
And the fact that you’re looking at being swept out of the post-season for the second year in a row has nothing to do with a curse. It has everything to do with trying to play the game with both hands around your throat. How else do you explain a team winning 97 games, in a must win situation, playing one of the worst games ever in the “friendly confines”? That’s not a curse…that’s a gag job!
Steve Bartman didn’t run onto the field and get in the way of that potential inning ending double-play ball in the second. Mark DeRosa kicked that one all on his own! A “boot job” that led to a five run Dodger second. There wasn’t a “goat” in Aramis Ramirez’s line of sight. He just forgot to take the “frying pan” off of his hands!
Derek Lee wasn’t jinxed by a “black cat” running across the field; he tanked his solo. Same with Ryan Theriot! We’re not talking about cosmic forces…we’re talking about bad baseball. Bad baseball that’s the result of the stage being too big and the pressure too great!
And Cubs’ fans, I know you love the home team. I know you’re long suffering. And probably telling yourself, “it’s just a baseball game”…would be a reason to go. But I’ve seen funerals that were less depressing than your act at Wrigley. Enjoy tossing bags, kill a few more beers tonight and con yourself into thinking the bears really can win the NFC north. Because, you’re not going to see your lovable losers again until opening day!"
Friday October 03, 08
"Hey Cubs’ fans…“Uh-Oh!!” After last night’s melt-down against L.A. in Game One of the NLDS, this century is starting to look a lot like the last one, eh Cubs’ fans? You open the playoffs, at home, with the best record in the National League, your ace Ryan Dempster on the bump, and Mark DeRosa spots him a 2-0 lead. All good! The curse is dead. Except, Dempster couldn’t find the plate, loads the bases, and then puts a 1-2 pitch on a tee for James Loney who slams it over the wall!
As the ball was travelling through the Wrigley night, you could feel the air coming out of the entire stadium, city and Cub’ nation! Like, “no! Not again!” And by this morning, the mood had turned to outright panic.
A buddy of ours in the (773) shot us a text which read: “Dude, this city stinks of fear. No one is talking. It’s crazy!” Cubs’ fan, I’d love to tell you everything is going to be all right. But, it probably won’t. You should have your grip on. Your best and most reliable starter just got knocked out and now your entire lives are in the hands of the city’s biggest “hairball”. Which Carlos Zambrano are you going to get tonight? The one who “no-hit” the Astros? Or, the guy who looked really shaky in his other 2 starts at the end of the year? Who knows?! He doesn’t even know!
Shoot straight Cubby honks! How many of you yuppies with your big ten degrees, golden retrievers, 3 series and your old style bottle openers still hanging off your key chains didn’t sleep a minute last night gripping over Game 2? How many of you couldn’t go to work today because you were too nervous?
Look I get it! Zambrano could hit for the cycle and spin a two-hitter. Or, he could get knocked out of the box in the third inning and send you scrambling for your pills. I know this! You better win tonight, because there’s no way you survive going back to L.A. down two games to none."
MAN-RAM in so-cal 2
"And one of the biggest reasons you won’t survive Chicago is because of L.A.’s newest superstar: Manuel Aristides Ramírez Onelcida. “Man-Ram” to you and me. He won’t win the N.L. MVP award, but he should! And I don’t care if he was only here two months. No one has been more valuable to a team in contention that “Man-Ram”. And he proved it again last night when he broke out his “nine iron” and took this 0-2 pitch right off his shoe tops in the 7th against Sean Marshall.
Vlad Guerrero thought that was ridiculous! And yes, I’ll get to Vladdy in my next ‘take’. “Man-Ram” is the only guy I’ve ever seen that treats a 0-2 pitch about an inch off the ground like it’s a 3-1 belt high fastball right over the middle of the plate. I know for a fact, he’s the only guy in Major League Baseball who doesn’t care what the count is. I’m not convinced he even knows what the count is!
Memo to Frank McCourt: you have to re-sign this guy! Not only are you getting “Man-Ram” for free right now, he’s jamming your pockets full of million dollar bills! You take that money and re-invest. He’s the biggest star in this town not named Kobe Bryant. And he has singlehandedly transformed you franchise in a way that no other individual could. Future hall of famer Jeff Kent couldn’t do it. Joe Torre couldn’t do it. “Man-Ram” came in and changed everything with both his bat and his personality. And don’t tell me you can’t afford to sign him! You can’t afford not to sign him! With him, you matter. Without him, you don’t! And sure it’s a gamble. He’s 36, he quit on the Red Sox and there will be some “Manny moments”. But, where as I may not have trusted him in the past, I do now!
L.A. is a great place for “Man-Ram”, because it’s a crummy sports town. The media and fans won’t suffocate him here like they did in Boston and Cleveland. If the Dodgers win, he’s “King”! If they lose, he’s slightly less “King”. The fans don’t care! They’ll just move on to something else; the Lakers…the Trojans…the beach…their Botox injections…cars…mystic tans…mistresses. You know things that make L.A., “L.A.”! And L.A. is the perfect place for “Man-Ram” to end his career.
Step your game up, Frank! The Angels might be desperate, down a game to the Sox, but they still have the better organization and the better owner. This is your seminal moment, Frank. Get it done!"
Thursday October 02, 08
EAT THAT RAIDER FAN!!!
"Just how bizarre was that Al Davis presser yesterday? Incredible really! Not only can he really speak, but he doesn’t turn to stone when the daylight hits him. Commitment to execution, baby! A “public execution”! That was an attempted character assassination of the coach he just fired, Lane Kiffin. You never even see the guy, and when they do roll him out every fifth year or so, it’s magical! He was launching scuds, lobbing hand grenades, firing off sidewinder missiles. And he called Kiffin a liar. And said he brought disgrace to the organization, that he tried to get himself fired and was looking to get paid and beat it back to the college ranks.
Not exactly the ordinary cliché filled double-talk, you get from owners who say it just didn’t work out and wish the fired coach good luck. No sir! The ice cream man was coming for his heart. That was unbelievable! Davis really should fire guys more often. I can’t wait until he whacks Tom Cable…whoever that is. That was truly priceless!
Actually, it wasn’t the price apparently. Which is right around $3.5 million, the amount Davis owes Kiffin. And he says Kiffin won’t see a dime. That’s what’s so unfathomable! You’re going to drag your entire organization through the mud, show the entire world just how jacked up your organization is…for a few mill?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you’re doing it, I just can’t believe it. Fine, Kiffin conned you. He was a bad hire. You made a mistake. He’s not who you thought he was. Scratch him a check and keep moving. Break him off, pay him off and get him out of your house.
I’m not saying Kiffin is without blame! Running your kicker out for a 76 yard field goal is practically a fireable offense. And if the first question Kiffin asked after getting fired really was, “do I still get paid?” And that doesn’t look good either. But it’s not Kiffin’s fault he wasn’t qualified for the job. What 31 year old college assistant is going to say no when he’s offered an NFL head coaching job? That’s Davis’ fault! And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
In fact, it will never get better while Davis is calling the shots. And he’s not going anywhere! Never going when he’s vertical! The only way you way you get rid of this guy is when he finally goes horizontal in order to get him to leave. But as he said yesterday, his mother lived to be 103. Wear that, Raiders’ fan."
Monday August 11, 08
Now the excitement has blown over...
"Time for an update from “Planet Man-Ram”! Yes, I was the guy who said the Dodgers’ trade for Manny Ramirez ranked right there with my wedding day and the birth of my two sons as the greatest day of my entire life. And you know what…now that the euphoria has worn off and I’m a few steps removed from that day, I have to say…for the record: I still feel that way! And much to the chagrin of my family, I stand by that statement. Freaking “Man-Ram”! Have you seen this “cat”…just killing it!
He hit another “bomb” yesterday! That’s four in six games! As a Dodger, he’s now 13-23 since coming in and taking over this town. In short, he hits everything hard! Hits nearly a home run a night and almost never gets out. How’s that taste, Red Sox fan? The guy shuts it down, forces his way out of Boston, comes to L.A. and will probably win the NL MVP Award for two months worth of work. If that’s not Manny being “Manny”, nothing is!
Red sox players, management, and fans have a right to furious! But again, I can only go by how the man treats me. And, he’s treated me to 4 home runs in six games and one of the greatest days of my life. And Manny’s in a good place: “I’m just learning the league. I like it here.” What’s not to like? The entire city has fallen in love with you! You hit everything on the screws. You’re knocking down outfield walls and you’re still rocking the dreads. And the only guy happier than me, is the guy batting behind “Man-Ram”, James Loney.
Rock-on! You’re the best, “Man-Ram”. Now, hop in a car and get down here to the studio and let’s hang."
Another meaningless thread
"The 2008 Olympics are finally here. After months of questions about whether or not Beijing can pull this off, the opening ceremonies are tonight…or last night…or tomorrow…or yesterday! Hard to keep it straight with that 15-hour time difference from where I am.
Look, I’m not here to hate on the Olympics. Wait…actually…I am! We touched on it yesterday in the J.R.I.B. forum, but the fact is, it doesn’t matter where they are or what the air quality is, the Olympics lost the heat on their fastball years ago. Taking nothing away from the athletes that have dedicated their entire lives to this moment, but we just don’t care very much. Back in the day, not only did we compete for the gold, but we were battling for an ideal. A way of life! The U.S. vs. the entire Eastern Bloc! Our amateurs against their pros! Good vs. Evil. Settling it with nukes was out of the question, but we could battle in the pool or on the track for world supremacy! That’s what made the games so compelling. But, we don’t have that anymore.
Now, it’s just a bunch world class athletes running around representing themselves and their respective shoe companies. Good, but not the same. Truth is, the Olympics just haven’t been the same for me since a barefoot Zola Budd dropped that slide-tackle on a hysterical Mary Decker. Not the same, because I know it will never be as good as that ever again. Now that was cool! Michael Phelps could win 12 gold medals and still wouldn’t compare to that. The “Miracle on Ice” was a street hockey game compared to that historic takedown. Nothing that great will happen in these or any other games ever again…so why watch?!
Look, I suppose I’ll grind through the archery and handball finals. And there are a couple of fencing matchups that I’ve been pointing towards for months. And, watching athletes compete in air quality that coal miners wouldn’t work in will be cool, but don’t look for a series of “takes” and “burns” from me about the games. I’ll pick you up on hoops, track and some swimming…but that’s about it!
Unless we rack some gold in something else, then I’ll crow about that. Regardless of what it is…USA…“war” barefoot slide-tackles."
Sunday August 03, 08
MAN-RAM in so-cal
"There’s no bigger “Man-Ram” guy in the world, than yours truly. I love all things “Man-Ram”! His ability to mash! His ability to make a diving stab and cut off a throw from his own center fielder while playing left! Him holding up a game at Fenway while he disappeared into the Monster to take a leak! His rocking the iPod sunglasses in the outfield! His trying to sell an autographed grill on eBay! High-fiving a fan in the middle of a play! Him making a call from a cell during a pitching change! The guy is, how do I put this, really freaking weird!!! And, we like weird…a lot! I love the guy! I’ve always been fascinated by all things “Man-Ram”. “Planet Man-Ram” is the greatest place ever!
Now it’s true, I was on him this past week. I said he went from being my favorite guy ever, to my biggest disappointment ever. That I didn’t even know him any more! And, rightfully so! He went straight up knucklehead, in trying to force his way out of Boston…cracking on upper management…jacking it against the Yankees and abandoning his teammates…and dogging in the field. This after knocking their 62-year old travelling secretary to the ground, because he didn’t have enough tickets to a game for him! It’s going to pain me to say it, because he’s my favorite guy, but he was acting like a jackass. And for the worst reason of all; he was gripping over his contract. He put himself ahead of the team, and they ran him. I can’t tell you how “bush” his act was and how disappointed I was in his act…until now!
Now, all is forgiven and all is forgotten, because “Man-Ram” is in L.A.!
Look, I’m fine with it. He didn’t abandon me. He didn’t push me to the ground, because I couldn’t up with his ducats. He didn’t half-ass it up the first baseline on me. Hey, I can only go by how the guy treats me. And, he’s never done anything other than “thrill and amuse me with his weirdness”! It’s like a dream come true for me. Honestly, up until now, “Man-Ram” has been like a mythical creature to me. A mashing savant, on the other end of the country, putting up crazy numbers, pulling crazy crap and leading the “Chowds” to World Titles!
And now he’ll be pulling all that crap in my backyard! Imagine “Man-Ram” in So Cal! Best thing ever! “Man-Ram” on the 405! “Man-Ram” having lunch at the Ivy between Denise Richards, Jeremy Piven and Kim Kardashian. Then he gets his shop on, down on Robertson, with a whole army of paparazzi in tow. Maybe crushes some sushi at the Geisha House…takes in a movie at the ArcLight. Or, better yet hit the clubs! “Man-Ram” getting after it with bottle service at LAX, the Cabana Club and Les Deux!
The only organization more excited than the Dodgers to bring Manny to So Cal is TMZ! Imagine those cats sticking a camera in “Man-Ram's” face when he rolls out of Club Villa? They start chatting him up while he waits for the valet on Melrose, “Manny, how you doing tonight? You have a good time in there?” And then they follow “Man-Ram” as he rolls over to the sausage vendor who is grilling right there on the sidewalk, and he throws down for a pastrami-wrapped hot dog. And he tops it off by buying some of those long-stemmed roses from the rose lady, and handing them out to women waiting in line to get in. Who the hell knows what he'll do?! I just know I can't wait.
You just don't get that kind of exposure in Boston. And more cameras on “Man-Ram”, more often, is a good thing! I can't even guess how many “Burns” on the TV show this trade just bought me. Thank you, Dodgers. Thank you, Manny."