It was the 1970s, a heyday for the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans. We had Steve Garvey. We had Ron Cey. We had Don Sutton. We had Dusty Baker. And so many more.
But my favorite, and all my friends’ favorites, was Manny Mota. He was just a role player. His role was to hit, to pinch-hit, late in games. And he did it very, very well. Manny was a man. He was stoic, fearless, reliable.
Now, three mostly inglorious decades have passed and another Manny might be knocking on the Dodger Stadium door — Manny Ramirez. This Manny’s moody, temperamental, sometimes undependable. A few years back, he told his current team he was too sick to play against the Yankees, but then he was spotted in a bar. He’s got only two things in common with Manny Mota. A Dominican heritage. And he can hit. With the decline of Barry Bonds, there are now two super-elite hitters in baseball: Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez.
So, needless to say, I want him on the Dodgers.
He will cost the Dodgers some of their cherished prospects. We fans almost have a fetish about these prospects — the best collection of young talent the Dodgers have had since, well, the 70s.
Our fetish is not misplaced. Last spring, Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsly and Hong-Chi Kuo were mere prospects. Now Martin is our starting catcher, Broxton a key relief pitcher, Billingsley and Kuo increasingly effective starters.
Two more, James Loney and Matt Kemp (pictured), made brief visits to LA and were at times very impressive. It’s hard to give up on any of them.
But none of them can do in 2007 was Manny Ramirez could do.
So, I’m with LAist. Let’s get him. Don’t overpay for him, but pay for him.