This game was too good to miss because of one player

How much fun was that?

But now I worry about Times’ columnist Steve Lopez, you know the guy stuck on page 2 in the serious section of the newspaper, and while I certainly don’t want to start an argument with his eminence, Cardinal Mahony, I like what the guy usually writes.

Without question, though, Lopez needs your prayers.

This week he just lost it, making a considerable error, and as Matt Holliday could tell you, sometimes you just drop the ball.


The other day Lopez writes a column about our heart-thumping Dodgers, making a big deal out of the fact he has the money to buy a pair of World Series tickets for $500.

I guess we know who gets all the raises at the paper.

Before the Dodgers take on the favored Cardinals, Lopez writes that he’s going to give away his World Series tickets. And you know why he’s proposing such a thing: He doesn’t think our heroes are going to make it to the World Series, so what’s he giving up?

But he writes he will give them up because he doesn’t like Manny Ramirez, suggesting Manny’s lazy, and Lopez writes two columns a week.


Now I would have thought Lopez was more of a team player, but I forgot about “The Soloist.”

In his column he focuses his attention on Manny at the expense of every other Dodger, claiming he can no longer bring himself to sit in Dodger Stadium if Manny is also going to be there.

Imagine missing Thursday night’s incredible game in Dodger Stadium because you have something against Jeff Weaver.

No one likes Weaver, yet everyone sucks it up and still hopes for the best knowing he’s on the roster -- Casey Blake, Ronnie Belliard and Mark Loretta coming through and delivering the kind of chills that had Russell Martin saying later, “It was so loud out there, it was like the ground was shaking.”

You miss Game 2, for example, and you miss the chance to watch Larry Bowa go absolutely bonkers with joy after the Dodgers come back to win in the bottom of the ninth, every limb going a different way, the old grump maybe as happy in a baseball uniform as you will ever see him.

This game is so good even the Dodgers’ in-game entertainment crew backs off and makes it all about baseball.

This game is so good, Manager Joe Torre turns to one of his coaches at one point to express his admiration for the opposing pitcher, Adam Wainwright. “Just good, old-fashioned baseball, the starter kept in the game to get the job done,” he says.

Are there two more unlikely Dodgers heroes than Belliard, who was playing for a team that finished 200,000 games below .500 before joining the Dodgers, and Loretta, 0 for 15 against the Cardinals’ relief pitcher assigned to get him out?


“I had no idea of the numbers,” says Torre when asked about Loretta’s dreadful history against closer Ryan Franklin, and how good is that?

Now as much boring stuff as Lopez has to write at times, is he really going to miss this kind of drama and these kind of heroics because of Manny?

Come on, almost no one plays a bigger role in the Dodgers’ victory in Game 2 than Manny.

If Manny doesn’t hit a ground ball to the shortstop, a ground ball to the first baseman, take a called third strike and fly out, James Loney is not up to the plate with two out in the ninth and lining a ball to Holliday in left field.

You think Lopez is going to give Manny credit for sacrificing himself for the good of the team?

Clayton Kershaw isn’t saying later, “That was just awesome,” if it’s not for Manny doing nothing again. Casey Blake never gets the chance to be so “giddy,” wiping out at home plate while scoring the winning run.

If Manny isn’t almost invisible with a bat in his hands these days, Matt Kemp doesn’t hear “the loudest crowd I have ever heard at Dodger Stadium.”

“Nothing like L.A. baseball fans,” Rafael Furcal exclaims, and he isn’t talking about Lopez, who apparently doesn’t care what Furcal, Kemp, Blake & Co. have to offer.


You see that kid Kershaw pitch? Bring on the Yankees.

When is the last time Lopez wrote a whole column about Hong-Chih Kuo? Is Manny the only one he cares about?

“That’s pretty good stuff,” Torre says after the Dodgers’ comeback, and he’s seen a lot of stuff in his career, and what great stuff it will be if the Dodgers go on to play the Angels in the World Series.

Too bad Lopez will miss it, inviting everyone to write a sermon in 50 words or less aimed at Manny, the very best sermon getting his World Series tickets.

Now just for the record, I’ve already entered his contest, no cheering allowed in the press box -- so I’d be happy to take Lopez’s place in the stands.

It would give me the chance to root like crazy for Manny to keep on doing nothing just like he’s been doing because it’s working so well for the boys in blue.

Can’t remember a time when I’ve had more fun at back-to-back baseball games, a long list of just great stuff and contributions from so many -- and that’s before even thinking of mentioning Manny’s name. The Dodgers might even have something special going on here.

Maybe it’s just Lopez’s thing to be negative.

I don’t know. I’ve just never understood that.

THE ENTERTAINMENT capital has apparently run out of singers, the Dodgers throwing a pall over Dodger Stadium with a saxophonist to play the national Anthem in Game 1. For Game 2 they went with Slash, an electric guitarist, to remind everyone what one of those sounded like 30 years ago.

STEVE GARVEY said he had a chat with Ramirez recently, urging him to hit the ball to right-center. Garvey said Manny appeared very interested.

Knowing Manny, he probably waited until Garvey left the room before asking, “Who was that guy?”