Going to Dodger Stadium won’t be quite the same anymore since Los Angeles will no longer cheer for Manny. No. 99 has left Mannywood.
The day we signed Ramirez in 2008 was like another holiday for Dodger fans. Just his presence had the media drooling. And to think, he came to the Dodgers at no cost.
We took him in like a lost child needing a home and love. He loved us back saying in his big news conference how happy he was to be in L.A.
L.A. fans didn’t care about all the horror stories from Boston “Manny being Manny” was now our problem and we didn’t think he would do anything to jeopardize his relationship with us.
He made an immediate impact on the Dodgers, who were desperate for a slugger, by finishing up the season hitting .396, 53 RIBs and 17 homeruns in 53 games.
Ramirez helped the team win their first postseason series in two decades and we were ecstatic.
In blue heaven it wasn’t too long before the Mannywood explosion started. For every at bat fans were standing screaming“Manny, Manny.”
The stadium even added a Mannywood section to the field level and every fan was able to buy Ramirez’s hairdo. All around kids donned dreadlocks like never before.
Just when we thought everything was great, the Dodgers and fellow fans were hit hard in the 2009 season when the news broke of Ramirez being on steroids. He was suspended for 50 games and I thought great there goes the season without him being in the lineup.
Just like that, the greatness of Ramirez was gone. Seeing the Dodgers do well without him in those 50 games showed the team they didn’t really need him, but fans still wanted and still to this day want their big home run hitter.
Ramirez’s most memorable moment as a Dodger came on his bobblehead night on July 22, 2009. There I was sitting behind home plate wondering if Ramirez was going to make an appearance. Then in the sixth inning, with bases loaded and Ramirez emerged from the dugout. The crowd got on their feet and started chanting “Manny, Manny.” For that split second all memories of his suspension were gone and with one quick swing from him, he hit a grand slam.
When asked for a curtain call, he most graciously gave it to us.
Not much happened after that other than the Dodgers making it back to the NLCS and again losing. Mannywood was slowing slipping from our fingers.
Coming into spring training he had already started his “Manny being Manny” when he told the media he was not coming back as a Dodger for the following season.
I was fed up. Seeing Manny wasn’t going to be a problem for me, because he wasn’t doing much for the team anyway. Three different times he went on the disabled list and just stood there in the dugout.
When the Dodgers needed him most, he wasn’t there. Without the juice there was no more hitting bombs out the park.
With the drama of the owners the Dodgers could have used a good lift from their one-time hero, but he couldn’t be found anymore.
The last stand for Ramirez as a Dodger was an ejection on what he thought was a bad call by the umpire.
But now he is someone else’s problem.