Manny Money Madness

Couldn't you just feel the air rushing out of the Dodgers' balloon? Manny Ramirez took himself out of the Dodgers lineup for 50 games and won't be back until the rockets go off on the Fourth of July. Just goes to show you money don't mean smart, not by a longshot.

At $24 million smackers per annum, Manny has now tossed more money away than most of us chumps - make that 10 of us chumps - ever made in an entire lifetime.

Manny the Dope maybe can spend his 50 days off in Washington, the District of Corruption, where the drunken Congress and the inerrant White House can't get enough guys who throw away money with reckless abandon.

For goodness sakes, why didn't the Dodgers, or Manny's agent, put a handler on their most expensive property 24-7, particularly when the great one has the record he has of shooting himself in the foot.

Everybody knows Manny. Few outside the Dodgers know of one Xavier Paul, the multi-tooled player who nobody could get out in spring training and who has continued to hit a ton in Albuquerque. They will now. Problem with the Xman is he can throw better than Juan Pierre but is all around a less than  accomplished outfielder than either Manny or Juan Pierre, which, McGee, ain't saying a lot.

Maybe the Dodgers are now regretting Andruw Jones sliding off to the Rangers - on  the Dodgers dime at that. Maybe the Dodgers could sign Barry Bonds. That would make the all time baseball most notable platoon - Bonds could play while Manny can't, and  then Manny can come back and play when Bonds can't, in court, inside the slammer or elsewhere.

To say the Manny drug issue struck the Dodgers unprepared would be an understatement.

So much for a 13-game home winning streak and a semi-comfortable early divisional lead.

The Dodgers without baseball's current reigning dumbbell can not and will not be the same.

The Dodgers are now faced with with decisions they shouldn't have had to make, for which they are unprepared. James Loney enters week 7 playing a power slot without a  single homer. Multi-talented OF Matt Kemp looks gangbusters one night and lost the next. C Russ Martin has yet to see the sunny side of .250.

For all his experience, 3B Casey Blake is where he belongs, i.e., at the bottom of the batting order. SS Rafy Furcal is back but his start isn't near what it was pre-injury a year ago (one wonders whether he's worried about his back and playing more within himself than he used to). 

The spotlight now turns on these key players to make up for the absent Manny Ramirez. The summer heat will now only seem hotter on Manny's remaining teammates - a whole lot less paid but at least smart enough to stay out of trouble.

Way back in baseball's  past, a teary eyed youngster saw great hitter Joe Jackson and wailed "say it aint so Joe." Well in this case it appears to be so. The damage is done.

Manny Ramirez will pay a great price. But the damage is not just to himself and its the others we worry about.

We are reminded of losing presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson and his response to the question of what he felt in losing. His response - "I'm too old to cry and  it hurts too much to laugh" - seems widely appropriate just now.