Twenty million dollars per year is a lot of money, but Manny Ramirez is worth it.
Ramirez began hitting home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer after a complex, three-team trade. Since then, he has re-energized the Dodgers. He played 61 games for the Dodgers, with 21 home runs and 63 RBIs. He has inspired the younger players. He has ignited the fans.
The big question on everyone’s mind is whether Frank and Jamie McCourt, the owners of the Dodgers, will sign Ramirez to a contract. There’s speculation that Ramirez’ agent, Scott Boras, one of the most effective agents in modern sports, will ask for a six-year contract and that the Dodgers will offer a three-year contract.
Last week, at the end of the last game of the post-season, the fans around us were shouting, “Sign Manny.”
Granted, we were not sitting in our usual seats. There are invisible ZIP codes in Dodger stadium. Most folks from the 91011 sit closer to home plate. But last week, at the last game, we got some “extra” tickets. Our seats were so far past third base that we had an unobstructed view of Manny Ramirez out in right field.
I’m pretty sure that the traditional sports-writers and -casters never go out into the nether regions of the stadium. There weren’t too many women in our section. Despite that, the fans were not only knowledgeable, but loquacious. One fellow was little league coach. Another played in high school. The guys around us knew everything about baseball. Players. Statistics. Rules.
The fans want Manny back. He energizes the team. He’s the first one to the stadium to practice. The younger players have begun to hit better since Manny arrived. He’s fun, skilled, intelligent and charismatic. He’s slightly anti-authoritarian, which makes him a good fit for Los Angeles.
The Dodger management is not worried about the annual salary, but the duration of the contract concerns them. Manny is 36 years old. Will he be able to play in five years? The Dodgers need to budget some funds for a pitcher. They’ve got two unflappable and team-spirited pitchers — Hiroki Kuroda and rookie James McDonald. Both could benefit from working with a veteran pitcher.
The McCourts should hire Manny for five years, with an option to continue to work “upstairs.” When he’s done playing, Manny could work as a coach or assistant manager.
In the meantime, the Dodgers earned an extra $10 million ticket and merchandise sales in the two months since Manny arrived.
Like they say, “Sign Manny!”
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. E-mail her at yahoo.com">anitasusan.brenner@ yahoo.com.
Published Thursday, October 23, 2008 4:11 AM PDT
Lipstick on a baseball
By Anita Susan Brenner La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California