Well, That Was Ugly, But Manny Was Beautiful, Twice!

Bob RainesContributor ISeptember 20, 2008

Good teams win ugly. Bad teams lose ugly. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work that one out, so even the most die-hard San Francisco Giant fans should be able to see the facts; the Dodgers are a good team.

On the same night that the Miracle (don’t say Devil) Rays and the Cubbies clinched their spots in the play offs, the Dodgers crept within five wins/D-Back losses of a playoff berth in Joe Torre’s first year at the helm.

By definition, then, they’re a good team. On a night when their pitchers gave up a 5-2 lead and allowed four walks, and their defense made two errors, the Boys in Blue still added another win.

And, it certainly helps to have a couple of big flies from Manny, along with one from Matt Kemp. All three were so impressive that even the Giants’ announcers, serious homers that they are, had to admit their admiration. They even made Manny’s first blast the “drive of the game.”

I don’t usually put much stock in on-air analysis, but one bit of insight from color guy Mike Krukow was interesting. Right after Manny’s first ding-er to right, Matt Kemp came up with a runner on. Kemp went yard, deep to left, and before he had rounded the bases, Krukow was waxing eloquent about the affect that Manny has had on the Dodgers’ young hitters.

Seems that he noticed that the young guys are following the Dread Man’s style.

Well, let’s see. If I were a young hitter, and I got to watch a future Hall-of-Famer who simply has a blast while he’s smashing the ball all over Southern California, I think I’d be his freaking shadow.

As a matter of fact, I’d want to know what he eats for breakfast and lunch, where he sits in the dugout, and what brand underwear he likes. If Ethier, Kemp, Martin, and Loney aren’t taking copious notes, I’ll buy one of Omar Visquel’s oil paintings.

The other day, I mentioned that Ned Colletti might qualify as a genius. I’m not thinking about Juan Pierre or Andruw Jones, or even Jason Schmidt. Any guy that adds Manny and Casey Blake, mid-season, gets some serious consideration for Exec of the Year.

Not only did he add their bats and leadership, he brought in a couple of guys who just plain have fun. They are professional players, they get the most out of each at bat, and they wear a big grin in the clubhouse and in the dugout.

And it’s a combination of swagger and hard work, goofin’ off and concentration, serious preparation and near reckless abandon that makes the difference between teams that win ugly and teams that lose ugly. The Dodgers won ugly Saturday night. The Giants were, well, just plain unattractive.