With his first swing of a bat last night Manny Ramirez laid
to rest the loitering demons of doubt and recrimination that have
followed his emergence from suspension. On July 3 he took the field
against San Diego after a 50-game hiatus for having used an illegal
performance enhancing substance. Catcalls and drunken jeers have dogged
him in every city the team has played in since -- and those are just from
the local sports writers.
Even at Dodger Stadium you could hear scattered boos from the stands
this week whenever he stepped in the batter's box. Yet the pinch-hit grand slam he smashed against Cincinnati into the left-field Mannywood seats wouldn't only win the game but
it silenced his critics and, as Vin Scully claimed, unleashed a roar
among Dodger fans that hadn't been heard in 20 years -- a reference to
Kirk Gibson's walk-off pinch-hit homer against Oakland in the 1988
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however, Westside and Valley Time-Warner Cable viewers on the Westside
experienced a different kind of silence when their game broadcast froze
or went to commercials.)