The Grand Slam.
In nine seasons of covering baseball, I’ve seen several dramatic moments but Manny Ramirez might have topped them all.
One pitch. One grand slam. A 6-2 Reds loss.
And on Manny Ramirez bobblehead night, no less.
Ramirez was not starting because of a bruised left hand that was struck on Tuesday night by a Homer Bailey fastball. In a 2-2 game after Bronson Arroyo loaded the bases with two walks and a single to load the bases with one out in the sixth, 56,000 fans licked their chops with anticipation.
Dodger Stadium roared when Ramirez appeared from the dugout to pinch-hit. It was even louder after he demolished Nick Masset’s first-pitch sinker. The ball even landed in the “Mannywood” section. Everyone knew it was gone on contact.
Mannywood, yes…but it was pure Hollywood. No script could be written better – for Dodgers fans. Rarely have a heard a ballpark be louder. They say they have laid back fans here, but definitely not on Wednesday night.
“That’s stuff I had seen out of Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You go home seeing what you came to see.
“It’s about as dramatic as you can get — a grand slam on your own bobblehead night. First he was in the lineup and then they scratched him. He came in, saw one pitch and hit a grand slam. You don’t get more dramatic than that.”
Arroyo, who played with Ramirez on the Red Sox, wanted to face him. They had never faced each other before.
“I played with the guy long enough that I probably have an insight on his mind than anybody else here for sure,” Arroyo said. “But it’s Dusty’s call. It’s his job, not mine. … I feel like I would have got a double play ball and we would have been out of the inning. That’s the way you think about it. I don’t think anybody was worried about his hand. I know Manny. He’ll take a day off if he gets hit like that even if his hand is perfect. Don’t ever think when he goes to the plate that Manny Ramirez is hurt, because he’s not. If he was, he wouldn’t be standing in the box.”
From Masset, who was trying to induce an inning-ending double play.
“That’s pretty much where I wanted to put the ball,” he said. It just didn’t sink the way it normally does. It was middle-in. I was trying to jam him, get a groundball and get out of the inning. I basically tried to go at him with my best stuff and it didn’t work out.”
The only good news to come out of the sweep in LA (0-12 record since 2006), was the Cardinals have also lost three straight. The Reds lost no ground on first place and remained 5 1/2 games back. But at 44-50, they are a season-high six games below .500.
I’m off for the Cubs series….plenty to discuss I’m sure. Have at it.
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