Dodgers find lost Sock; Codgers raise Logan’s stock: L.A. hits the Lotto with Ramirez, and Paulsen’s gotta lotta admirers
Suddenly, the Dodgers are for real.
With one unpredictable three-way (trade), the Dodger GM has gone from goat to hero, and the Dodgers have gone from certain first-round casualty (at best), to serious contender for the National League Pennant and more.
When the Dodgers stole Casey Blake from Cleveland, it helped the team. When the Angels upgraded from Casey Kotchman to Mark Teixeira at 1st Base, it helped the team. But yesterday, when the Dodgers STOLE certain Hall-of-Famer Manny Ramirez (for Andy LaRoche and a Minor Leaguer), they did more than just help the team — They helped re-landscape the Major Leagues.
Ramirez, who will be joining former Red Sox teammates Derek Lowe and Nomar Garciaparra, on Boston McCourt’s L.A. Redgers, is considered one of the best hitters and run-producers of ALL-TIME. He can single-handedly change the way opposing Pitchers approach a line-up. It will be up to the Dodgers’ young core to protect Ramirez, as foes will undoubtedly try to pitch around him.
Even while he was dogging it in protest of the Sox’ treatment of him, he was still driving in runs at an All-Star clip. Against the Angels the other day, he was booed in full-force by Fenway fans, after casually jogging to 1st on a ground out. And when he hit a shot to the gap with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, he flipped his bat away and just stood there at the plate, watching the ball get caught for the game’s final out. It could have easily gone for extra bases, but Manny is Manny.
And that’s what the Dodgers have to worry about. Ramirez still has the tools to be the best hitter in the League, but his antics and attitude could prevent him from giving the Dodgers what they need to become true contenders for the World Championship. The Angels, with the addition of Teixeira, are already there, but give Joe Torre a chance — With the talent that he has finally been given, he is sure to get them into the Postseason at least, and possibly into a World Series, where Torre has been many times before.
The Dodgers are 54-54 right now, with Manny scheduled to make his debut in Dodger Blue tomorrow night…against First Place Arizona, who will have ex-trojan Randy Johnson on the mound. And just in case you DON’T like the Dodgers, THAT’S the best thing about Ramirez coming to L.A. — It will probably keep the Big Unit out of the Playoffs.
And speaking of big units, UCLA Tight End Logan Paulsen picked up a small honor yesterday, when he saw his named placed on the Watchlist for the 2008 John Mackey Award. As has been acknowledged many times before, these lists are often based on reputation, marketing buzz, and direct lobbying by Coaches, with Rick Neuheisel being an expert in that arena. Of course, all he has to do is tell a few of these old relics on the panel that NORM CHOW is going to feature Paulsen in the new Offense, and Logan’s name is etched in stone on the Watchlist… along with TWENTY-NINE other guys.
Despite the “expert” opinion, some hardcore Bruin fans think that Ryan Moya has more ability to produce than Paulsen does. Moya, who is not on the list, was last seen in Spring practice, getting some tough love and one-on-one instruction from Chow.
Not only could the two talented Tight Ends take some stats (and Mackey votes) away from each other, but with the holes expected to be glaring in the Offensive Line this season, the Tight Ends will probably spend a lot more time Blocking rushers, than Receiving Touchdown passes, and the Mackey Award does not usually go to the Receiver with the most Pancake Blocks. Although, the improved Blocking of Marcedes Lewis was defintiely a factor in his winning the Award a few years ago.
Troubled ex-trojan Fred Davis was last year’s winner, but he left a void, as there are no trojans on this year’s list, even though they are expected to win all their games easily (They are already favored by 20 in their opener at Virginia). Perhaps the most recognizable name on the list for Pac-10 fans is Oregon’s Ed Dickson, who might just be an early favorite. But Oregon might not be as explosive as they were last year, which could allow Paulsen (or Moya) to lead the Conference (if they aren’t Blocking all the time).
And finally, speaking of Blocking, it’s a damn good thing for the Dodgers that no one “Sock-blocked” them yesterday.