From Jimmy Wynn to Manny Ramirez with the Andy Messersmiths, Mike Marshals, Eddy Murray's, Kirk Gibsons, Kevin Browns, Marlon Anderson, Jeff Kents, and Shaw Greens in between, the ending of the Dodger career is always a whimper, after a shooting star of a season or seasons put them into Dodger lore.
All of the players above played key parts in Dodger history but no one burst upon the Dodger scene like Manny Ramirez, and I think it is safe to say the Dodgers never had a character like Manny Ramirez.
At one time in Cleveland long ago, Manny Ramirez was my favorite player from the juggernaut Indians, but like Boston fans his behavior had sapped me of my fanhood. I liked characters but I also liked my players to play hard all the time, and not get standing ovations from their teammates when they happened to make a play in the field that any high schooler should be able to handle. Still when I heard about the trade that would make Manny a Dodger I was tentatively excited because we hadn't had a bat like Manny's since Beltre's last hurrah. Manny didn't disappoint, as his 2008 season will be talked about for generations.
He put the pizzaz back into Dodger baseball, and for some reason put some dynamite into Andre's bat. The two of them when Manny was in the lineup would be a potent force for 2008/2009/2010. Everyone is going to have some special Manny memory. I can't single any one out, he simply had to many great moments.
Fairly easy to say in hind-site that signing Manny as a free agent was not the right move for this franchise. Ned didn't have hind-site, and for a few months in 2009 it looked very much like 2008. Then on Dodger Blogger night everything changed, and other then the Bobble Slam it has been a long year and a half.
I may have called this deal in the spring but I'm not happy about it. I couldn't care less about saving the McCourts $3 Million, if I'm forced to watch PodBoy play left field the rest of this year, and 2011. Since 2003 the Dodgers have trotted out Dave Roberts, Jayson Werth, Ricky Ledee, Luis Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Juan Pierre. The best of the lot plays for the Phillies, and the other dude is our RF. We had a brief fling with a real hitting LF for two years but now it looks like we are back to the speedy little grinders. Good guys who play hard, but who are an ill fit for a team whose 1st baseman packs as much power as a power puff girl. I digress.
I'll miss his 2008 smile, his 2008 bat, his individuality, and his passion.
Buck up Dodger fans, 2008 may be the highlight for a while.