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Manny-mania has hit Southern California.

With Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers have injected themselves in the ass with a syringe filled with hopes of playing in October.

Friday night the script was written perfectly. The first three Dodger hitters were retired by D-Backs starter Randy Johnson making the video montage of some of Manny’s home runs right before he led off the second inning the perfect elixir to get the crowd into a frenzy.

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MAN-NY! MAN-NY! MAN-NY!

Of course he promptly hit the first pitch to ground out to short, but the crowd was not going to be denied. A roar and a standing ovation to Manny who just grounded out.

And that excitement is exactly what has been missing from the Dodgers ever since they traded away Gary Sheffield.

Sure there have been moments here and there: Steve Finley’s grand slam to clinch the division against the San Francisco Giants in 2004; the 4+1 homer game in 2006. But those moments are nothing compared to the infusion of the excitement Manny has and will continue to generate.

Some of this might be hyperbole – Manny won’t be hitting .615 with an OPS of 1.769 all season – but hell, isn’t it about time the fans had something to cheer about with the Dodgers?

Now with all this gushing about Manny going on, there’s one person who ought to be absolutely pissed: Andre Ethier. After having an awful June, he started getting his bat back in July only to be told he would be benched in favor of Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre. Ethier gets on base more than both and hits for more power than both, yet he gets to ride the pine because manager Joe Torre prefers veterans.

Then again anyone could have seen that move coming.

It’s interesting to note that Frank McCourt was the impetus behind this trade. While he has publicly praised Ned Colletti in the media, USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale went on “The Joe McDonnell Experience” Thursday night right after the trade saying that without Frank McCourt this trade wouldn’t have been completed.

It just further supports the rumors that Colletti will be out of a job once the season ends no matter the result.

But it’s just amazing what this move has done. Even the evil four-letter network has taken to guerilla marketing leaving red socks at area laundromats with tags attached, as our loyal reader Art photographed.

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Missing Red Socks at Lucy's Laundromat at 2134 Sunset Blvd. (Echo Park). Photo courtesy LAist reader Art.

What seemed like a painful boring season of mediocrity has now turned into something very interesting.

Photos Courtesy of LAist Reader Art