Dodgers Not Missing A Beat
Written by Fred Mitchell
Saturday, 30 May 2009
The Los Angeles Dodgers have proven that there is life without one of the game's biggest sluggers- Manny Ramirez.
Serving a 50-game suspension for the use of a banned
performance-enhancing substance, Ramirez is a member of the 500 Home
Run Club with 533. He is fourth in home runs among the active sluggers.
Still, the Dodgers entered this week with the best record in baseball.
didn’t learn anything (about the Dodgers) I didn’t know before he was
out,” said Los Angeles manager Joe Torre. “I sensed in spring training
that this ballclub was having a lot of fun. They had a whole different
personality. No question, the way we finished up last year by beating
the Cubs (in the NL playoffs)….the best club in the National
League…that did a lot for our confidence and our self esteem."
Torre pointed to the performances of less heralded players who have picked up the slack while Ramirez serves his punishment.
additions of Mark Loretta and Brad Ausmus have been huge. Besides their
ability to come off the bench and their personality in the clubhouse
and their professionalism...they have sort of helped to keep this club
together pretty well,” he said.
was batting .348 with 20 RBIs when he was suspended. Perhaps more
significantly, his carefree attitude helped his teammates learn how to
has been great,” said Torre. “Manny showed these guys last year how to
have fun and play the game of baseball a the same time. And I think it
kind of rubbed off. I think everything is going to be judged on what
the results are. We have the young players who are growing. My catcher
(Russell Martin) is a completely different player than he was last
year. He is probably closer to what he was a couple of years ago. You
have James Loney and Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp who have come a long
way. Kemp is not beating himself up over bad at-bats now. He is helping
us on a more consistent basis.”