Twenty-two home games remaining, the Phillies are in town, and these are hairy times for the Dodgers.
Brad Penny got his cut, the team's barber, Russell Martin, giving him a Mohawk, but making no move to approach Manny Ramirez.
"Wouldn't know where to start," Martin said.
It's Monday, and Manager Joe Torre lost his bet and will make a donation to Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA -- Ramirez still looking like Samson before messing with the ladies.
A deal has apparently been struck, though, with Fantastic Sam's, Ramirez getting it cut sometime this week and a Dodgers charity benefiting.
Hair today, and maybe gone tomorrow, and it's all anyone wants to talk about.
"You see what you started?" Ramirez joked. "Now Orel Hershiser wants to talk to me about my hair."
IT WAS the return to Dodger Stadium for Ramirez, a week after electrifying the place.
Fans arriving at the stadium eager to be a part of Manny Mania, though, were surprised to learn the dreadlock bandannas they had heard about had not arrived yet.
At each concession stand the answer was the same from the salesperson: "Everyone wants them."
A Dodgers spokesman said, "They probably won't be here until the weekend."
It takes Ramirez three to four years, he said, to grow his dreadlocks, and maybe just as long for the Dodgers to make their own.
Now for some reason I pictured Frank McCourt sitting in his garage all weekend cutting up old Dodger Stadium mops, the Screaming Meanie gluing some of her scarves to them and then rushing to the stadium to cash in.
At the stadium, Ramirez took batting practice and, as always, remained loose. "That would be a home run in Philadelphia," he said as he walked by after hitting a ball off the wall. "But we're not in Philadelphia."
Two hours later, Ramirez came to the plate with the bases loaded and doubled to the wall -- a double in any park -- driving in two runs to key a six-run uprising, the fans getting everything they wanted except the bandanna dreadlocks.
A Dodgers spokesman, meanwhile, said McCourt was not at the game, still leaving open the possibility he really is sitting in his garage and working as fast as he can -- especially if he's with the Screaming Meanie.
RAMIREZ STOPPED by to say he had been fined $40,000 for "that incident," the one where he had pushed the Red Sox traveling secretary a few months back.
When a player is fined, the money is donated to charity, and Ramirez said he was going to divide it four ways -- $10,000 going to Mattel's.
I suggested next time he get in the kind of trouble that might draw a larger fine, and from the look on his face, he has some ideas. I don't think arriving late to the field in the ninth -- shirt unbuttoned and apparently thinking he'd been removed from the game -- was one of them.
I WROTE about the Choking Dogs the other day, but only Juan Pierre complained.
"You called me a shrimp in the paper," he said.
"I strive for accuracy," I told him.
I apologized. I said, "I should have used a capital 'S.' "
Obviously I don't believe in letting sleeping dogs lie.
TORRE SAID there's some thought of putting Andruw Jones on the disabled list to make room for the return of Nomar Garciaparra. "That knee is still sore," Torre said of Jones. "We'll see what the doctor has to say."
Ten minutes later Jones was spotted in center field trying to catch a fly ball -- hurdling the 3 1/2 -foot white fence used to hold back fans before the game, and looking like an Olympic hopeful.
IF GARCIAPARRA returns today, does that make Angel Berroa a pinch-hitter? "Yes," Torre said, while somehow keeping a straight face.
GIVEN THE two disastrous games in San Francisco, I asked Torre if he had given a pep talk to his team, and he said, "I sent them all an e-mail." He said he was joking, but then after batting practice, everyone was called together. Wonder where he got the idea?
TORRE OFFERED only double talk in discussing the team's chances for success given its mediocre record. Getting nowhere, I said, "You're going to have to talk me off the ledge here in a minute."
Said Torre, "I will never talk you off the ledge."
T.J. Simers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.