February 23, 2010

Can Manny BE Manny Anymore?

I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read the latest comments from Manny Ramirez about possible retirement, his status with the Dodgers and “having fun.”

Ned Colletti joined the “Petros & Money” show on KLAC/FOX Sports Radio on Monday afternoon and kind of dismissed the notion of Ramirez’s relocation plans for 2011. To paraphrase, Colletti spoke of his desire to have Ramirez hit the free agent market as the most desirable outfielder and hitter available. I liked his response. Between this and McCourt situation, Colletti’s got a future in crisis management or politics.

Colletti’s answer sums things up nicely, though. Dodgers fans, his prospective fantasy owners and Colletti (not to mention the dueling McCourts) are banking that Manny chuckles it up in MannyWood, slams 35-45 home runs and drives in a ton of runs. Whatever he says along the way won’t distract this team, still young but more experienced, from its playoff aspirations.

Following last year’s suspension, Ramirez hit in line with his first-half numbers from 2008 – you know, the numbers he put up before he was dealt to Los Angeles. They weren’t world-beating lines, but there was solid four-category production to be had.

At worst, Colletti and company get tired of the act (provided that this press conference wasn’t a one-time thing) and deal him off to another team — METS fans, you know they’re on the radar. There’s still life in his bat and in his one-man comedy show.

When he’s right, physically and mentally and not suspended for, well, let’s not get back into that, then Ramirez remains one of the most feared batters in the game. In the LA lineup, he’s in line for another triple-digit RBI count if ready to go. The Dodgers are aware that Ramirez is a problem in the outfield and that’s fine as long as he’s mashing away.

Need I remind you that “Manny being Manny” has a positive connotation as well. That’s good for business. I’m in for a couple of wigs.