Dodger Fans Must Be Clear: Sign Manny or Else

November 3, 2008

There is a great myth regarding the supposedly laid back and disinterested Southen California sports fan. In fact, this stereotype often extends beyond Los Angeles and is applied to a large part of the west coast. Let's set the record straight. At its core, this idea is totally false.

Oh sure, the weather is great in LA and the residents have lots of alternatives for excitement, but this doesn't change the fundamental fact that Los Angeles is a deeply sports hungry city. No better example of this exists than the fanbase of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Before this last playoff season, the LA Dodgers had won one playoff game in the last 20 years. Yet, each year you would see the Dodgers with at least 3 million fans showing up to the ball park.

Fickle? Fairweather? Not these fans.

No, unlike Laker fans who will make ownership pay the price for not producing an entertaining product, Dodger fans seem to see only in Blue. Through the O'Malley days, to the disastrous Fox years, to the present McCourt era, the fans kept coming. Through the crazy management decisions to overpay the likes of Kevin Brown, Darren Dreifort, Jason Schmidt, and Andrew Jones (to name just a few) and through the equally misguided decisions to give up Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Paul LoDuca, and Gary Sheffield, they kept coming.

But now, enough is enough. Today Manny Ramirez and his agent Scott Boras began talks with Dodger management about signing Manny to a deal that could potentially have him end his career in Dodger Blue. Without exaggeration, it is fair to say that Ramirez electrified Los Angeles for two months this past baseball season in a way no hitter ever has. His MVP-like production both during the season and the playoff run left Dodger fans in awe and begging for more.

Ramirez had his contract adjusted when he was traded by the Red Sox so he could opt out of a contract that would have guaranteed him 20 million dollars over the next 2 years in hopes of a longer, more lucrative contract. Manny has openly stated he has serious interest in remaining in Los Angeles and perhaps finishing his career in LA, and the possibilities have fans dreaming of something even more than just their first post season series win in 20 years. Considering all of this, what do the Dodgers offer to open negotiations? A 2-year deal at 30 million per year.

Now who am I to mock anyone's offer of 30 million per year? Except anyone with a brain knows that Manny is not looking to cash in on a short term contract. He wants long term guaranteed money befitting a person of his career accomplishments who generates unique fan excitement. How can anyone who objectively looks at his career numbers, suggest he doesn't consistently produce? An offer of 2 years has to have Dodger fans wondering what Kevin Brown, Darren Dreifort, or Jason Schmidt did that made management believe they were more bankable than Manny.

Put simply, unless the Dodgers seriously improve their offer, Manny Ramirez will take his bat back to the east coast and sign with the Mets or Yankees. If this happens, it will be an absolute slap in the face of loyal Dodger fans by management.

Dodger fans show up in respectable numbers in bad times and in huge numbers, like over 4 million per year, in good times. Ned Coletti and Frank McCourt seem to be relying on this fact in their negotations. After all, if Manny isn't signed, you can expect the same tired excuses about the efforts that were made. Don't buy them.

If this isn't a "call your Congressperson" moment for Dodger fans, I don't know what is. Dodger fans must give management an ultimatum: If you don't sign Manny and we believe that in any way you botched the negotations, we will boycott the 2009 Dodgers. Too long have we waited for a winner again in Los Angeles and if we are not convinced you are as serious as we are, you will not get a dime of our hard earned money in this tough economy.

If fans entertain any other ideas, then they might as well stop complaining and act like the mindless sheep management thinks they are. After all, as our brilliant outgoing 43rd President once said, "Fool me once, shame, fool me twice..., well, just don't get fooled again!" Let's see who's learned that lesson.

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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