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Manny's Missing Mouthguard

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What happened to Manny's mouthguard? AP File Photo

Post by Zack Jerome/Special to LAist

Last night after the game, I was listening to Dodger Talk with co-hosts Ken Levine and Josh Suchon. I was trying to get any added insight to the retaliation pitch Dodger reliever Guillermo Mota bounced off of Milwaukee Brewer Prince Fielder’s sizable gut. During the broadcast, a caller shifted gears and asked the hosts, “Why doesn’t Manny wear his custom mouthguard anymore?” I knew the answer and decided I’d call in.

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Manny was wearing something called the Pure Power Mouthguard. This product was developed by Dr. Anil Makkar and supposedly can, “naturally align the athlete’s jaw, enhancing strength, balance, endurance and oxygen flow during training and competition, allowing them to maximize their performance,” according to the website. Right on.

Whether you believe it or not, Manny was not alone in using this product. The site lists Terrell Owens and Michael Redd as other supporters. How much do these badboys cost? Although the site just lists a phone number, a little searching on the web showed the ballpark figure to get a PPM is around $1600. I guess Manny can afford it.

Neuro muscular dentistry aside, I knew why Manny hasn’t been wearing his PPM on the field. It’s not as obvious at the stadium, but if you watch enough road games on television, it’s pretty easy to pick up: Manny is back to chewing tobacco.

He chewed in Cleveland. He chewed in Boston. When he came to Los Angeles, he had in this wild half-blue mouthguard and I figured it was a smoking cessation aid. It wasn’t. It was a robotic performance-enhancing mouthguard that must have aided in his freakish display of power and average. This season, Manny has been chewing what appears to be exclusively tobacco.

When I got on the air, I explained that Manny was chewing again and perhaps he had formerly been using to the mouthguard to try to quit. Ken and Josh got a kick out of it. I closed by adding that Manny might have tried to quit for a while, but with a year of steroids-related scandal and a fifty-game suspension, maybe the guy got stressed out. Maybe he did what most of us do with vices we’ve quit when the going gets tough.

He fell off the wagon.