Posts Tagged ‘Juan Pierre

30
Jun
09

Independence day for Manny

4th of July we celebrate or nation becoming independent and escaping the rule of the British.  July 3rd, well this will be Manny Ramirez’s Independence Day from suspension.  Fifty games ago Manny tested positive for a banned substance.  The Dodgers were in first place sitting on a 20-8 record after setting an MLB record for most consecutive home game wins to start off a season.

When Dodger nation woke and saw that their star they welcomed with open arms cheated, hearts of the people that bleed Dodger Blue sank.  How could this be?  Why did he do this?  How selfish.  After the initial shock wore off, we started to question the team.

The Dodgers were 20-8 when they lost Manny.  They were 6.5 games ahead of the Giants leading the NL West.  After the news of Manny the Dodgers blew a lead to the Nat’s and lost their first home game.  Dodger’s fans were truly going to see what their team was made of.  What impact did Manny have on this young team?  Could they deal with being in the spot light? Could their bats hold up?  Could they maintain the lead in the west for the next fifty?  Who was going to be the person to step up?

Well, our questions have been answered.  Over the next forty-seven games the Dodgers went 27 and 20.  Yes that does look like a big drop off from the first 30 but the Dodgers still have the best record in baseball and they are winning the West by seven games over the Giants.  While Manny was gone the man who clearly stepped up the most was Juan Pierre.

He is neither Hispanic nor French.....I wonder where he got his name?

He is neither Hispanic nor French.....I wonder where he got his name?

Juan clearly played as though each game was his last.  He was going to make the best of his playing time and it pulled the Dodgers through these last fifty.  The rest of our young lineup each had their moments as well in tight games.  The Dodgers have a record of 24-3 in one run games.  Most importantly we had a manager in the clubhouse who has been through this time and time again.  I am sure he is one of the biggest factors in helping the boys in blue keep their mojo.

Truly this young Dodger team proved they could pull their own weight while their slugger was going through hard times.  This was also a reflection of what Manny has taught this young team.  They listened to him and their bats held up through these fifty games.  The runs the Dodgers scored were virtually similar to when Manny was in the line up.  The only difference was they were playing mostly small ball.  The number of home runs was down but hits were up.  If anything gave in these fifty games it was streaky pitching towards the end of games.

So Friday Manny does come back to the Dodgers and is expected to start in left.  This will send Juan Pierre to the bench, but give Joe Torre a hot hitting bat in tight games for pinch hit situations.  I have a feeling Torre will rotate the outfield with days off and we will probably see Pierre play two to three times a week.  Manny’s return could not come at a better time.  We are getting ready to head east to play the Mets.  To make things better the Dodgers bats have cooled off a bit.  In the last ten games the Dodgers are 5-5.  To have a bat like Manny in the line up will for sure help us.

What Manny did was wrong and it was cheating.  As a Dodger fan I was truly disappointed in him.  Yet I will still cheer him on and even more I still want him on my team.  He has been a Kobe Bryant figure to this young team.  Manny, like Kobe coaches his teammates.  He has taught them all his hitting tricks, how to set up pitchers, and what to look for if a pitcher tips his pitches off.  He has been Don Mattingly’s assistant.

I know Manny will never hear the end of this but in Los Angeles we will welcome him back.  We will welcome him and support him the same way San Fran supports Barry or the way New York supported Clemens, A-Rod, Petit, Giambi, among others.  If we can expect anything from Manny it is the unexpected.  On one final note, the Dodgers coaches that have been working with Ramirez over the last 50 games said he has returned to form and gotten in his grove.  That same grove in which he belted home run after home run, which thrusted the Dodgers to the NLCS.  It is time for Manny to shut everyone up and turn a new leaf.

THINK BLUE-

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