Thom Loverro: Same ol’ Manny, different uniform

Manny Ramirez was in the Dodgers‘ clubhouse early yesterday afternoon, and I wanted to make sure I was one of the first to welcome him to the District.

This was his first time here as a player, and though he had been to Baltimore many times with the Red Sox, I get the feeling that Manny is a homebody and doesn’t stray too far from the center of his universe.

I was going to offer some suggestions while he was in town. I figure that Manny is more of an Air and Space kind of guy than a Hirshhorn fan. But when I tried to ask Manny about coming to the nation’s capital, he said, “Washington? I don’t want to talk about it.”

OK, then let’s stick to baseball.

“Nah,” he said.

Manny didn’t want to answer any of my questions, but he did have one for me.

“How’s Wily Mo Pena doing?” he asked.

Not good, I told him - recovering from shoulder surgery.

I should have said, “Wily Mo Pena? I don’t want to talk about it.”

He didn’t even give me a chance to get to my best stuff - “Manny, would you consider signing here next year?” He might have gotten a good laugh out of that. Then again, he at least would be able to play with his former Boston teammate, Wily Mo.

But you get the feeling that even if Wily Mo was in the same clubhouse with Manny, he might ask you, “How’s Wily Mo Pena doing?”

The Dodgers weren’t doing too well when they limped into Nationals Park last night for a three-game series, having lost four straight and six of their last seven and falling three games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.

If you have no particular rooting interest in this race, then you have to pull for the Dodgers to win the division. They are a far more interesting postseason story than the Diamondbacks with Joe Torre in the dugout and the Manny show on the field and off. A Dodgers-Red Sox World Series would have enough story lines to sustain it for 14 games.

Manny had done his part since he arrived in a trade from the Red Sox four weeks ago. He is batting .361 with six home runs and 21 RBI since the trade, but has slumped recently, batting .208 in the six previous games before last night.

It’s clear that as Manny goes, so go the Dodgers.

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