And so it seems another baseball great has fallen. Fallen to the inevitable black hole in the baseball universe called steroids.
Manny Ramirez is the latest player to fall to the allegations that he took steroids, and while I can go on and on about Mannywood or what the implications this has had on the game. I'm not going to, solely for the reason that this is an article about why this is an ample opportunity for the San Francisco Giants and the rest of the NL West to take advantage of a team blindsided by the recent controversial news.
Most of National League must be happy to know that they can scratch Manny Ramirez out for 49 games.
Gone is his .348 AVG, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 1.133 OPS, long flowing hair and crazy antics on the field. At least for the time being.
And while sportcasters, critics, and many others still believe the Dodgers are a lock for first place for the rest of the season, I beg to differ.
Reason being, the Dodgers are a much different team with Ramirez. It's true, like Bonds before him, players like this change the whole makeup of the lineup and they make the players around them better.
Am I saying the Dodgers offense will fall because Ramirez is absent. No not at all, in fact the Dodgers probably have one of the most talented lineups in the league right now even without Ramirez.
But when you take away such an integral piece such as Ramirez, its a shot to the gut.
Right now the Dodgers are thinking, "Well hey Ramirez is one guy, this is a team sport. This isn't Manny's team, we can win without him."
But doesn't that put that much more pressure on kids like Andre Either, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, James Loney, and recently minor-league call up Xavier Paul?
There has to be some discomfort, knowing that the player who basically elevated everyone's game and brought toegther a clubhouse is now gone for a third of a season.
Which is why the Giant's must capitalize on this now.
Yes this is a team, that has been playing pretty hot right. Winning 11 of their last 16 games. They are legitimate contenders to the Dodgers.
Their pitching staff is amazing and continues to pitch close games. If it weren't for such an anemic offense they'd be sitting right on top with the Dodgers right now.
The upcoming three game series starting tonight is an important one for each club.
Understandably its just three games and we have two months worth of games to see where each club will be in the standings. But I still feel this is an important series because...
The Dodgers are out to prove that they can win and maintain their excellence.
The Giants want to deliver a Pacquiao blow, and further their advance to the number one spot in the West.
Just think, if the Giants are able to sweep or even take two of three from the Dodgers or vice versa. Think of how much that would affect the morale of each team?
If the Dodgers win the series, they will have new found confidence. If the Giants win, they'll have put that more pressure on the Dodgers to perform at a high caliber without Ramirez.
Nevertheless I suspect that the Giants and Dodger series will be exciting. You have a great offense going against pitching, what more can you ask for?
All I know is, I have one thing in common with Manny Ramirez, and that is we both will be watching these games from the comfort of our couches.