New York Mets fans (or at least the local sports writers) used the Los Angeles Dodgers' three-game visit to mix tradition with self-pity. On the one hand, there was the opportunity to indulge in the area's second-favorite pastime, L.A.-bashing; on the other, the return of Manny Ramirez (and his game ejection for grousing about a called third strike) gave everyone a chance to commiserate about the bleak fortunes of the slumping Mets.
Here's the N.Y. Post's Joel Sherman:
"You are a Mets fan so you spent most of the last 10 years trying to will Manny Ramirez to Flushing. Now you can't believe his steroid suspension ended in time for him to make it to Queens. You boo his at-bats and then cheer his fifth-inning ejection for tossing equipment after arguing a called third strike. You are a Mets fan so you realize your biggest ovation is for an opposing player getting booted from the game."
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The Post, by the way, ran a photo of a spaced-out-looking Manny following that called third strike,
with the caption noting that he'd been suspended "for taking a woman's fertility drug." Post sports writer Brian Costello picked up the theme, referring to the Dodger slugger as "Ramirez, the fertile fielder," and explained his hot-tempered tiff with plate umpire John Hirschbeck by advising readers to "Forgive Manny Ramirez if he's a bit emotional these days. Pregnancy does strange things to your hormones."
There were similar anti-Manny snipes from the Daily News, but none of the snarkasm could change the fact that the Dodgers pounded the Mets 8-0.