Ramirez is a big hit with his generosity

SAN FRANCISCO -- Another home run, and the guy is amazing. He makes every play, and the Dodgers are so much better with him on the field.

He runs out everything, even gets his hair cut, and while Blake Mania might not catch on, how about that Casey Blake?

Who did you think I was writing about?

OK, so we’re learning some more things about Manny Ramirez too, although I fear the day might be coming when Joe Torre gets the Andruw Jones treatment in Dodger Stadium.

First of all, Ramirez is going to get a trim next week because Delilah remains intent on cutting Manny Mania short.

Torre agreed a few days ago to say nothing to Ramirez about his dreadlocks before Monday, agreeing to make a donation to Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA if Ramirez didn’t meet a barber before then.


But Thursday Delilah reneged. “Once I asked him again when he was going to get his hair cut, I lost the bet,” Torre admitted. “But there’s no question I feel better about myself for admitting [he reneged]. I could have kept it quiet.”

Ramirez said he will get his dreadlocks cut -- probably to shoulder length -- when he returns to town.

And if Ramirez goes something like 0 for 7 after that, “then I’m going to get run out of town,” Torre said.

Say it ain’t so, Joe. Just the talk alone of having him get his hair cut next week resulted in Ramirez going 0 for 5 against the Giants.

NOW THERE was some thought of using Torre’s donation to buy the kids on the cancer ward the new Dodgers dreadlock bandanna that will go on sale next week.

But Ramirez asked for a moment before Friday’s game to talk about his grandmother, who had her own cancer scare and what he might do locally to help.

He said he would like to buy each of the 44 youngsters on the cancer ward at Mattel the new Dodgers dreadlock bandanna -- at $25 a shot.

“I was going to get Frank McCourt to donate them,” said a Dodgers spokesman, who looked a little relieved that it never came to that.

Ramirez said he also wants to donate $1,000 -- of the money the Red Sox are paying him to play for the Dodgers -- to the hospital for every home run he hits, and another $300 for every RBI. He’s already talked to a couple of teammates, and asked for help in setting up a visit with the kids.

“That’s really great,” Torre said, although there’s some concern now the kids won’t recognize Ramirez once he gets his hair cut.

THINGS WE have noticed about Ramirez on this trip. He not only has run out every ground ball, he considered stretching a single into a double.

“You noticed that, huh?” said Ramirez with a grin.

He’s worked his way around the Dodgers’ clubhouse, pulling up a chair to spend time with different players -- one team employee saying “I don’t think he’s missed anyone.”

The other day he hugged James Loney and suggested they get something to eat together. He began the clubhouse rounds the day he arrived with Jeff Kent, talking to him about the National League and the media.

First base coach Mariano Duncan said he got to the gym early in the morning only to find Ramirez already working out.

“He works hard but doesn’t want anyone to know it,” Duncan said.

He spends time in the batting cage, and more time in front of a computer studying opposing pitchers. And like an entertainer keying himself up for a performance, he’s all energy before a game, a drip when it’s over.

Some media members were speculating the other day in St. Louis that he was boring on purpose -- Manny finally being Manny.

Maybe so, or maybe the media is looking for something to go wrong when the guy’s just spent after giving it his all.

I can hear the Boston rebuttal: The guy’s just spent after giving it his all, all right, because he’s not used to doing it.

Around here we’ve got no problem with that -- knowing now Ramirez was just saving himself for the Dodgers.

AS FOR Blake, the focus has been on Ramirez, “and that’s fine with me,” Blake said.

He said Ramirez’s arrival has allowed him to settle in, and that hasn’t been easy.

“It’s tough, it’s a whole new group to impress,” Blake said, a .333 batting average in 13 games doing wonders for introductions. “There are certain anxieties to getting traded, and I just want to kind of blend in.”

Blake has lived his whole life in Indianola, Iowa, and sympathy cards should be sent in care of the Dodgers.

“I haven’t found a place better to live,” said Blake, a two-month rental like Ramirez who will be searching for a new baseball home next season. “I had so much fun with Cleveland last year in the postseason and I would like to do that again.”

No reason to rush back to Iowa.


T.J. Simers can be reached at