Wednesday, July 22, 2009

...The Impossible Has Happened: Manny Ramirez Edition

Photo Credits: AP"This is more Hollywood than Hollywood! No wait, you're right, it's Mannywood."
-Vin Scully

Were you there tonight? If you were at the stadium for Manny Ramirez bobblehead night, you were in for an amazing treat and great moment in Dodgers baseball history. In front of a soldout crowd, the ultimate Hollywood (or should I just say Mannywood) story was written before our eyes.

After getting hit in the hand in last night's game, Ramirez was unable to start due to a bruised hand. That is right. Manny was unable to start or maybe even play on his own bobblehead night. However, in all of our minds, we knew that he was going to pinch hit in a key situation. Now, this is where the story becomes really improbable.

Joe Torre chose to bat the pitcher 8th tonight, which he does quite often. The Reds managed to tie the game at 2 in the top of the sixth inning, but Bronson Arroyo loaded the bases by walking Russell Martin with the pitcher's spot coming up. Pretty much everyone in the stadium knew that Manny was going to come off the bench and at least hit a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run. He looked uncomfortable all night sitting on the bench, and also went into the tunnel on one occasion, to probably hit in the batting cage. Reds manager, Dusty Baker, had a double-switch and brought in Nick Masset in relief of Arroyo. With nowhere to put Manny, everyone knew Masset would have to pitch to him. The atmosphere was intense, almost like a playoff game. The sellout crowd was the loudest it has ever been all season, and that includes the amazing World Baseball Classic Final. To a standing ovation, Manny hit Masset's first offering straight to the Mannywood section. Right after that, the crowd just erupted and everyone went crazy, high-fiving and hugging everyone next to them.

My friend and I have often called the impossible moments in sports, "Bullshit Moments". I classify this one, a 9 points out of 10 on the "BS" meter. How could it be that Manny would be unable to start the game due to an injury, come up to pinch hit for the pitcher with the bases loaded, and hit a first-pitch grand slam on his own bobblehead giveaway night? Also, he provided what proved to be the difference in the game. Masset has given up only 2 home runs all year. I believe that Dennis Eckersley gave up 5 homers all year in 1988 before he gave up the one to Kirk Gibson in the world series. Of course, Manny was no where as injured as Gibson was, and this wasn't in the playoffs. Either way, this was still a special game. And this team is definitely special. I haven't seen so many "Bullshits" in one season since the "Rally Monkey" Angels who won the World Series in the early 2000s.

One more thing to note. I am sure the Dodgers fans just shut up Bill Plaschke for his constant Manny-bashing since the end of his 50-game suspension. Did you see the fans cheer for Manny and the Dodgers? Did you see how happy Manny was when he hit the slam and the fans went crazy? Bill, I hope you enjoyed this one! I will certainly enjoy my Manny bobblehead!