That wake up call came just before 3 a.m. on July 31, when Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti called team owner Frank McCourt, moments after he (Ned) received a pre-dawn phone call from Boston Red Sox counterpart, Theo Epstein.
A seed planted two weeks earlier suddenly blossomed before the sun even rose. Manny Ramirez was taking “Manny-being-Manny” attitude to Chavez Ravine, and it cost the Dodgers nothing – literally.
The Red Sox are paying the remaining $7 million-plus on his contract this season. With the trade, the final two years of his contract are also waived.
So, the Dodgers get to try Manny out for free. Genius! The Dodgers have nothing to lose – and everything to gain! OK, Manny brings his proverbial baggage with him.
Yet, he is the third member of the 500 home run club to play for the Dodgers, meaning he will fill seats. His 20 home runs this season are more than any Dodger in almost five years, meaning he adds power to an anemic offense and gives his new team a chance to win the NL West.
Fittingly, his first game as a Dodger was against the very team that the Blue Crew is chasing – the Arizona Diamondbacks. Manny will see his first pitch thrown by Randy Johnson.
Most important, he brings star power to baseball in a city infatuated with big names – something that has been missing in Chavez Ravine since Tommy Lasorda left the dugout.