Red Sox have fan in Manny
Dodgers slugger says he is pulling for his former teammates
LOS ANGELES -- Three days away from playing in his new franchise's first National League Championship Series in 20 years, Manny Ramirez had no reason to believe the Dodgers could not continue to win with the loose clubhouse atmosphere he's helped create.After all, he's still on vacation. "That's right," Ramirez said. "The Red Sox are paying my salary."
As long as that's the case, Ramirez spent his Sunday night off watching the Red Sox in Game 3 of their American League Division Series against the Angels, rooting on his former teammates with whom he spent so many grueling playoff runs."I've got my boy David Ortiz and [Mike] Lowell and all those guys," Ramirez said. "I'm pulling for them." Although Ramirez would only say "anything's possible" to a potential World Series matchup between the Dodgers and Red Sox, with the left fielder noting both clubs have to first beat some tough opponents, he joked around about the trade that sent him packing to the West Coast in a three-team deal that landed Boston left fielder Jason Bay. Bay has made a Manny-like impact on the Red Sox in the playoffs, hitting a pair of homers, while also doing his part in the field by throwing out a runner in Game 3. "That was a good trade," Ramirez said. "I think it was the right move. [Bay] can run, play the outfield. He's got six tools. I've got five." Although a potential Dodgers-Red Sox World Series matchup would likely focus on Ramirez, that would be only the start of the story lines. The Dodgers' roster includes a pair of former Red Sox in Derek Lowe and Nomar Garciaparra, while J.D. Drew opted out of a big-money contract with Los Angeles to sign with Boston.
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Then there's the coaching staff intrigue of manager Joe Torre and his former Yankees coaches Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa going up against their former nemesis, and a potential showdown of Japanese pitchers between Los Angeles' Hiroki Kuroda and Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka."It's a long way away, but I think you just start hearing people speculating because of the obvious three guys on our team and our manager and coaching staff, but it's a long way away," Lowe said. "It would be a lot of fun if it happened." When Ramirez arrived in Los Angeles on Aug. 1 for the final two months of the season, the last thing he was thinking about was a World Series showdown against his former mates. "When I came here I wasn't thinking about how great the team was," Ramirez said. "I was just trying to see the opportunity to come and change my image, just to show people all the [stuff] that was in Beantown wasn't true. I came, I did my job, and I'm just blessed to be here." Now that he's in Los Angeles, Ramirez's idea of vacation centers around leading the Dodgers' attack on a deep playoff run, the type of thing he did year after year in Boston.
"This is what it's all about," Ramirez said. "You give all you got and see what happens. We're confident, everybody on this team. [Philadelphia] also has a great team. Let the best one win."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.