To many observers, Manny Ramirez is a clubhouse cancer and an aging slugger on the downside of his career. To the LA Dodgers, he remains one of baseball’s best hitters and provides a much-needed edge in the NL. The Dodgers reportedly are nearing a two-year, $45 million contract extension, and Ramirez is certain of two things: 1. He’s going to continue acting like a loon and 2. He’s going to hit at least .500 again against the Cubs.
“Dodgers fans should be thrilled Ramirez has finally re-signed with their club,” said ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons. “They’re going to get a lot of enjoyment off his bizarre antics and the way he mashes the ball, particularly against the Cubs.”
Ramirez was a key ingredient to the club that demolished the Cubs in the NLDS last season, hitting .500, drawing four walks and scoring five runs. All while displaying the kind of attitude that’s been come to be known as “Manny being Manny.” The Cubs insist they’ve found an answer to Ramirez’s dominance.
“We all talked about it this off-season,” said Ryan Dempster, who managed to get Ramirez to ground into a double play in the NLDS. “If he’s up with a man on first, we get him to hit a routine grounder. And if he’s up with first base available, we plunk him in the head.”