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T.J. SIMERS

Torre acting as if he's been bound and gagged

August 26, 2008|T.J. SIMERS

PHILADELPHIA -- I'm worried about Joe Torre.

This is no time to sound clueless, the Dodgers going flat against the Phillies again, the manager asked what he might say to his team, and Torre appearing befuddled.

"There's nothing I can tell them," he said.

I don't get paid by the Parking Lot Attendant, and for that matter a lot of the Dodgers don't either, but I know what I'd tell our heroes.

"OK, guys, gather around. We're on our way to Washington. Those clowns have lost 14 of their last 16. An automatic sweep -- no reason to even use Jonathan Broxton, so everyone can rest easy.

"We don't play anyone with a winning record the rest of the season other than the Diamondbacks, and they're not much. We've got a good chance here to really give Vin Scully something to talk about. Sorry, Jeff.

"We've got 19 games on the road against teams with a combined record of 108 games below .500. Keep in mind we're only one game below .500, so when it comes to losing we're nowhere near as big losers as these other losers.

"We just have to show up to make the playoffs so Ned Colletti and Frank McCourt can take a bow. And they will. By the way, would someone please wake up Russell Martin; I know he's tired, but what am I supposed to do -- play Danny Ardoin?

"Listen, we go home for 12 more games and play teams with a combined record of 42 games below .500. We could play Juan Pierre every day, but don't worry, I'm not nuts.

"Arizona has to play eight more games against the playoff-hungry Cardinals, and those guys kicked our butt four out of six. We get four against the Pirates, three against the Nationals and will probably never have to use Mark Sweeney as a pinch-hitter.

"Things are really looking up. We'd really have to gag now not to make the playoffs."

IF THIS was New York, and Torre had done what he's done to Manny Ramirez, just imagine the headline in the New York Post: "Butcher!"

Just imagine George Steinbrenner's reaction, his search to find the barber who cut Ramirez's hair and then have him fired.

The Dodgers were playing like a powerhouse after Ramirez's arrival -- until the Dodgers' hair-challenged manager insisted on Samson cutting his dreadlocks, Ramirez complying and hitting .250 ever since, the Dodgers going 4-7 in that time.

"Get on Torre," Ramirez said with a grin. "Don't blame me."

Casey Blake came to the Dodgers, his beard a little shaggy, and as soon as he got a trim to better blend in, he went into the dumper, hitting .125 in his last nine games.

"I didn't tell him to cut his beard," Torre said, too late now to help Blake.

It might be time to check those before and after pictures of Andruw Jones. Wouldn't be surprised to find out Torre's the one who had the guy shave his head just before he joined the Dodgers.

"That's something about discipline," Torre joked after getting Ramirez to snip an inch off his dreadlocks. "You sacrifice wins, the season and everything else to have it."

Yeah, the Dodgers' new motto: "Take an inch and drop a mile back in the standings."

Ramirez said he's not sure if he can grow his hair back in time for the September stretch run. "He better," Torre said. "Now the pressure is on him."

What's wrong with Manny being Manny? Ramirez was hitting .466 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in his first dozen games in a Dodgers uniform. He has one home run and five RBIs in his last 11 since his buzz cut.

"You don't think I don't know that?" Torre said.

Joe Scissorhands, clearly failing to grasp the hairy situation the Dodgers find themselves in because of his own actions, said it was everyone else's fault that Ramirez is no longer hit- ting.

He said if the guys ahead of Ramirez don't get on base, pitchers can pitch around Ramirez.

As for Manny's haircut and Torre's role in ruining the Dodgers, he said, "I have trouble sleeping at night -- more my age, though, than his hair."

Then he paused, and added, "How long did he say before he can grow it back?"

--

THE MOVIE "8 Seconds" was playing before the game in the clubhouse -- interesting, because that's about how long the Dodgers have been in first place this season.

Blake called it one of his five favorite movies, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" his top choice, although the title could also be used to describe his stay with the Dodgers before he moves on to sign with another team next season.

--

THE CITY of Norristown, Pa., honored Rick Monday on Monday, of course, and gave him a flag that once flew over Valley Forge -- something about the guy who put it up should be the one to get it when it comes down.

--

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com.

To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.

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