The honeymoon in Chavez Ravine, as they say, is over. I'd say the writing is on the wall, but for some time, the writing has actually been removed from the left field wall: Manny Ramirez is leaving Los Angeles after leading the team to the promised LCS for two straight seasons and heading eastbound and down to the second place White Sox. I'd like to call this a trade, but with no players heading west, it's a complete and total salary dump. It's four point three million dollars that the McCourts can put towards some more useful expense, like phrenology.
Along with general manager Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen, Manny fills out the third slot in the South Side triumvirate of crazy minorities; he replaces owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who could never truly approach the level of "what's he going to do next?" questioning. All Reinsdorf ever did on that dumb White Sox reality show on MLB Network was share a bowl of matzoh ball soup with Bud Selig. Boring. Manny is here now to up the wackiness and sell some grills.
Odd, isn't it, that on the same weekend the Manny Ramirez trade to Chicago was getting the final touch-ups and signatures that Jim Thome, the former White Sock spurned by Kenny and Ozzie who signed instead with the division-rival Twins, was pulled from two games with a bad back. Thome's been nothing short of magnificent for the first place Twins this year. But it is not outside the realm of possibility that Manny, at DH in a tidy hitters park in Chicago, makes up for five Thome-less months in just four short weeks.
Because after choosing not to sign Thome, the White Sox instead have marched out a series of crappy DHs that rivaled anything the weak-hitting Royals could produce. When "Mendoza Line" Mark Kotsay is getting the plurality of DH at-bats for your favorite team, you begin wishing that American League pitchers would just start hitting again. Manny needs the designated hitter position as much as the DH needs Manny. It just makes sense.
Manny Ramirez brings no guarantees in his carry-on luggage from L.A. and the White Sox make no promises to their fans. They're four and a half games behind the Twins and possess but a mere 8.6% chance to make the playoffs. Fortunately for the ChiSox, they have three remaining games left against the Twins. Unfortunately for the ChiSox, they have seven remaining games against the Red Sox. Fortunately for the ChiSox, they have thirteen remaining games against the Royals, Tigers, and Indians. Unfortunately for the ChiSox, the frogurt is also cursed.
Conclusion: all I want to see is a close race in the AL Central, and Manny at DH in Chicago might make that happen.