On Manny

How does a team go from breaking a major league record—-13 straight home victories, a record that has stood since the days of the players wearing those “Flintstone” three fingered gloves……to sadness?

The news of Manny’s suspension hit the Dodgers and all our fans right out of left field, so to speak. And it wasn’t anger, or fear or even disappointment that I felt—after the shock. It was sadness.

Let’s say right up front that what Manny did is a big no-no it the world of pro sports. And the only person that has to live with those consequences is Manny, himself.

How will he be perceived? His career numbers, his legacy and place in the game—-the Hall of Fame. Is it all gone except the money?

I’m not mad. I’m not disappointed, because I’ve come to realize that this is a very common “mistake” that many players have made. And I will stand and cheer loudly on July 3rd when Manny steps into the batters box again for the first time after the suspension.

But now, I’m just sad.

Maybe it’s because I work for the Dodgers or because I got the chance to watch Manny play everyday and hang out with him occasionally, but like many of you, I love the guy. I like the enthusiasm he brought to the entire team. I like his carefree attitude combined with fierce concentration at the plate. I like that he got paid 25 million dollars to play the game but acted like he was 12 years old all day long.

In less than a year, Manny did things that Dodger fans had never seen before. He was finally a player that brought the kind of excitement when he came up to bat that had been reserved for Cardinal fans watching McGwire and Pujols. Or Giants fans with Bonds.

There hasn’t been a hitter to come close to compare to him in Dodger Blue since Piazza.
I’ve even heard the whispers that in this short period of time, Manny may be the most popular Dodger…..dare I say….ever!

Let me be sad. I know you all are too. We’re gonna miss him.

But only for one day, because there are 49 more games that have to be played without Manny and nothing will change that. And the team that is still on the field, led by O-Dog and Raffy, and the emerging stars that are “The Tinkle Guy” (Kemp), Loney, Ethier and Russell have learned how to play hard and have fun at the same time.

Billingsley is on the mound tonight. Your Ace is supposed to get a big win after a loss. Sure he’s pitched in playoff games but this will be one of the biggest starts of his career because tonight he’s going to be asked to go out there and begin the healing process….and make the sadness go away.

— Steve Lyons

12 Comments

Thank you for sharing, Steve. This has been a difficult time for those of us who love the Dodgers. The mean, hurtful, accusatory language coming from all sides has been hard to handle. I appreciate Manny’s contributions to the club, and will miss him. However, I know that we’ll get through this with our young core leading the way.
.
Again, thanks.

The Tinkle Guy?

Hey Steve,
Nice commentary, but I liked the one you did on Prime Ticket last night a lot better. And that was you saying that Manny still has to address his team and address the City of LA, because, really he needs to come clean. Right now he’s been even more accusatory than A-Rod was when he was caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
I know you feel the same way, but I also know that the official club memo is saying what a commendable job Manny has done by accepting blame and responsibility.
If you’re like me, we are anxiously awaiting Manny to come out of hiding and “Manny”-up. If he doesn’t, and he stays low and wallows in his mistakes, I really will fear for this guys sanity and well-being, as well as his stature in the community as a respectable human being.

Sttteeeeeevveeee! 🙂

Psycho, I feel your pain, and have felt it since waking up to the morning report saying “50” game suspension. My biggest concern is Manny’s return. Watching the game tonight I felt a gloomy, and an almost prideless, ambiancefrom tonight’s crowd. The other thing that’s troubling to me was the lack of Manny wigs, head bands, and Dodgers clothing all together. I think this situation is a double edge sword which no side is favorable to anyone. I’d hate to think of Manny getting booed upon his return, however, the Bonds scandal in its self has hit too close to home. We will just have to wait and see where the next couple of weeks takes us, but I think this is just a classic tale of the best of times and the worst of them. Go Blue!

G. Schafe

Hey Psycho, I’m so glad you and the newbie Eric have a blog!! I have to say, that like every dodger fan, I was pretty sad to hear about Manny, but at the same time we really can’t dwell on that anymore. We as fans have to move on and I know that when #99 comes back I will support him the same way I support all the players on the team, with a round of applause and a smile. I’ve loved the dodgers as far back as I can remember and that’s not gonna stop anytime soon! I bleed DODGER BLUE!!

Thursday evening I couldn’t’ve been in a better mood and one big reason was that the Dodgers, my favorite team for the past 62 years had just set the post 1900 record of 13 consecutive home wins at the start of a season, it broke a record that stood for 98 years. Pride filled my soul.
I just got on line and I was staring at the home page of the Dodgers’ Web Site. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
It was like falling off the Empire State building.
I’m still a Dodger fan, nothing can change that and I know I’ll still root for Manny but the feeling inside me is still a little annoying but I know I’ll carry on.

Steve….I will feel a lot better when Manny addresses the team and the fans. I think if he tells all and doesn’t hold back, all will be forgiven, at least from me. Originally I did not want the other 100 or so names of the other MLB players who tested positive to have their names released, but now I think I do. This would scare all future cheaters from ever breaking the rules again. Since I haven’t heard Manny’s real story yet, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. This road trip back East will be very telling on how the Dodgers stick together and move forward. If Manny could clear the air before they go to Philly, it could lift a lot of the sadness and start the healing. Great Blog!

It is not important to me, what story Manny will tell, as long as he comes back and apologizes to his teammates and to Dodger fans, for causing himself to be suspended for 50 games.
And then I want to see everybody forgive him and I hope he learns a lesson and does not repeat his actions.

Hey Eric, I’ve been listening to the game today and I thought I’d tell you some things I’ve been hearing.

1. Avoid using the first person. Granted, it doesn’t happen all that often, but it just seems out of place.
2. Don’t let the game control you. Just take it at your own pace and be smooth.
3. When an exciting play is happening, your voice gets kind of throaty; it sounds something like a revving engine. You may not even notice it, but it’s noticeable from this end.

I also had a tip. I know, I’m spoiled by the greatness of Vin Scully, but it’s the vocabulary. Just finding creative ways to describe plays so that you’re not repeating yourself every time works wonders. I’m not saying get poetic since it is very difficult, but some creativity really draws you into the game.

And I’ll leave with this: when your announcing, make it sound like you’re talking to the people watching on tv, not like you’re announcing. Fans in LA are just used to this style.

You know what’s really sad? The number of times that i’ve tuned in to watch a game, and had to hear you, Mr. Lyons, go on and on about what you think, and what you would have done, etc. The team is not called the Lyons. Its called the Dodgers. Its not all about you. I realize this post may very well get deleted, but I know i’m not only fan who must feel this way. You’re a commentator, you don’t originate this material, it comes from the game and the players. Since most of your playing experience comes from playing on teams that most Dodger fans despise, one wonders why you were even hired to call our games at all. I realize it may be difficult for an old dog to learn new tricks, but may we please have a bit more focus on the game and a bit less on your ego? Thank you.

Steve:The last comment from Chillicat is insane. Your insight into the game is spot on most of the time. The “What-If”s in baseball commentating is what makes the next play all the more exciting. By pointing out how a player should have handled a play, not only does it make the viewer appreciate the player when he finally does it right but I think it also helps teach the kids who are watching the correct way to play. Kudos!I remember watching Johnny Bench on Saturday morning television when I was a kid giving pointers on how to field the baseball and hit the baseball and I really enjoyed it. By the way, the explanation you did the other night about what the difference was between a forward slash and a back slash was CLASSIC. You had my wife cracking up when Collins entertained the idea that you draw Slash from Guns n Roses. HILARIOUS!

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