This is typically my favorite time of year. Baseball Spring Training has kicked off and the first pitch of the regular season is only 6 weeks away. But as a Dodger Fan, I am growing increasingly frustrated at the Manny Ramirez situation.
I have never been a fan of Scott Boras, the super agent who represents Manny and many of the other big name stars in the league. But I read an article this morning on USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/nl/dodgers/2009-02-19-dodgers-cover_N.htm) and for once I agree with him… Manny is like cake that needs little frosting and for the Dodgers, the difference between a winning and losing 2009 campaign rests largely on whether or not the dreadlocks are flowing this season at Chavez Ravine.
I am no GM. But I know baseball and I understand business. Yes, the economic climate has unquestionably changed the face of free agency in MLB this year so I can understand the difficulty in wrapping our minds around a $25mil/year contract for a baseball player. But as a Dodger fan, that’s a small price to pay for a difference maker. I’ve religiously read countless blogs and news articles about Manny and the Dodgers going back to last year and I’m tired – I want something done.
Manny wants 4 years and $100 mil. The Dodgers have offered both 1 year and 2 year contracts. And as of right now, we head in to the first workouts of the spring with the prospect of a pitching-poor Dodgers team with no real threat of an offense. Love the kids Kemp, Martin and Ethier. Love the vets Furcal and Blake. But who is going to drive them in? Who is going to generate the kind of fear in opposing pitchers’ eyes in a tight game in the later innings? No one. Except Manny.
So in a country faced with challenges, and a call from our President to work cooperatively, it’s time the Dodgers worked for their fans. Offer Manny 3 years at around $22mil/year. Offer him a 4th year, player option for $18 mil. If he walks away from that, I can still go to Dodger Stadium with my hat on straight and head held high knowing the team and management did all they could.
With Manny, more seats will be filled, more national attention will be on the boys in blue, and the Dodger Dogs and beer will flow more so than if Juan Pierre is our 3rd outfielder. More souvenirs will be bought (all the kids, young or adult like me want the dreadlocks). All Dodger fans want Manny.
When the Dodgers open up the regular season on April 6 in San Diego, all eyes will be on right field. If Manny is there, Dodger fans will have the cake that Scott Boras so eloquently spoke about – If he’s not, even the glorious taste of a grilled Dodger Dog won’t wash away the bad taste left in the mouth and minds of Dodger fans.
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