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Ramirez is an MVP: most valuable pledger

September 25, 2008|T.J. SIMERS

He's not only made an incredible impact on the Dodgers, getting MVP consideration after only 50 games, but consider what Manny Ramirez has meant to the kids at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA.

When he arrived, he agreed to pledge so much money for home runs, RBIs and hits, asking the Dodgers to take the money out of his paychecks -- more than $36,000 already going to the kids at the cancer ward.

That makes more than $70,000 for Mattel's with Steve Soboroff agreeing earlier to match Ramirez's donation.

"Thanks to Manny," Soboroff e-mailed, "I had to take a night job."

Ramirez met with a group of kids from Mattel's a few days ago and received a painting by Ashanti, one of the youngsters who has been contending with cancer.

It now hangs prominently in his locker.

ARIZONA BEGINS play at 11:15 this morning in St. Louis. They lose and the Dodgers will clinch the division title while driving to the ballpark.

So what's the rule on drinking champagne before a game?

RAN INTO Vin Scully, and while talking about what he might say when the Dodgers clinch, he told a great story. What a surprise.

"All year long Willie Davis is being interviewed here and there and telling everyone, 'We're going to do it,' in that baritone voice of his. 'We're going to do it.' Over and over, 'We're going to do it.'

"So the Dodgers clinch, everyone's celebrating and someone puts a microphone in front of Willie Davis, who says, 'I can't believe it.'

JEFF KENT got a standing ovation when appearing as a pinch-hitter, which brought Daily News columnist Steve Dilbeck out of his seat in the press box, shouting, "Vin who?"

THE DODGERS introduced long-time team employees before the game, mentioning each employee's name and their time of service.

"With 49 years of service, Jaime Jarrin," said the PA, everyone giving him a hand, while Jarrin could be seen saying on the big screen, "50, it's 50 years."

"They got it wrong last year too," he said later.

The Dodgers have had a lot of forgettable years, but hard to believe Jarrin had one.

THE IMAGE-minded Dodgers, of course, just can't help themselves. They showed highlights from the Dodgers' clinching win in 2004, Steve Finley rounding the bases, and the camera then cutting and lingering on Frank McCourt. It was reminiscent of Forrest Gump suddenly appearing with JFK, Lyndon B. Johnson, Elvis and John Lennon.

THE PETTY Yankees snubbed Manager Joe Torre by making no mention of him in the stadium's closing ceremonies, and Wednesday Hank Steinbrenner wrote a first-person column in the Sporting News, doing his best to diminish the job Torre did with the Dodgers.

"This is by no means a knock on Torre -- let me make that clear," Steinbrenner wrote, so you know it was. "But look at the division [the Dodgers] are in. If L.A. were in the AL East, it wouldn't be in the playoff discussion."

Torre, while offering no comment other than "I'm here," and "I have more important things to concern myself with," appeared more hurt than miffed. A few Dodgers playoff wins ought to ease the pain.

TORRE, ASKED what he has noticed about Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, praised him for the consistent way in which he handles his team. And said, "He's going to be in this for a long time if he's still hungry."

When has anyone known Scioscia not to be hungry?

A PRODUCER for the Tonight Show e-mailed wanting to contact long-time Dodgers fan Margaret Williams, who appeared on Page 2 Wednesday. Talk about great TV, when Mrs. Williams doesn't like a question, she just stares at the person asking it. The perfect set up for Leno -- if he asks her age.

HEARD FROM UCLA football fans, especially those who repeatedly flunk the Page 2 Test, which is all about pushing their buttons.

There's still hope Rick Neuheisel will wise up, already proving to be a good sport when telling a local TV station, "I got T.J.'d," like so many others before him.

But a number of Bruins fans obviously aren't so quick.

"Why do you insult a coach like Rick Neuheisel by insinuating things like he is lying or giving a deposition?" e-mailed Mark Morrison. "You also call him a scab and Slick Rick. What experience in life have you had leading a group of people or having any responsibility? Your Page 2 Test is a joke."

Well, yes it is.

GOT AN e-mail from sportsbybrooks.com, and a story complete with pictures of Jessica Alba and Clipper Baron Davis in bathing suits together with Brooks apparently more interested in how Davis looked. He said he took grief for that, and seemed surprised.

A day later, People magazine announced Davis joined Jenny Craig, Brooks contending he was ahead of the curve in bringing attention to the fat Clipper. If Brooks were really on the mark, he would've found a way to put Alba and Andruw Jones together in the same picture before the Dodgers started the season.

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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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