He’s Baaaaaaaaaaack

And you thought the fireworks were scheduled for tomorrow? No, no no.

Anyway, Manny Ramirez makes his return to the Dodgers tonight against the San Diego Padres, and everyone has an opinion. Some more explosive than others.

Lee Jenkins at si.com wonders how the Dodgers will handle the circus.

Ken Rosenthal at foxsports.com predicts a love fest between Manny and Dodger fans.

USA Today explains why some fantasy owners will be rewarded for their patience.

Finally, Jayson Stark at espn.com can’t understand why so many people are celebrating Manny’s return.

Obviously the Dodgers are in for a strange experience today when they arrive at Petco Park in San Diego, and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.

Having observed the club the last two weeks, I honestly get the feeling the players are prepared for Manny’s return and the circus atmosphere it will create.

The roster is a nice mix of young players and seasoned veterans, and it seems like the young guys are just anxious to get their teammate back, regardless of the scrutiny it might create, and the older guys are just focused on what’s happening on the field, not the distractions off it.

It also helps that the experienced, battle-tested Joe Torre is at the helm, steering the club away from any potential land mines.

As for Manny himself, that is what’s so intriguing to me. The other day Torre described Manny as being somewhat shy behind the scenes.

“When he first got here he told me all he wants to do is play ball and go home,” Torre said.

That isn’t an option today, or in the near future. The media is on a quest for answers and explanations, and Manny needs to be upfront and contrite about what happened.

It will be interesting to see how he handles things, because his initial meeting with reporters today will likely set the stage for how long the controversy sticks to him.

The quicker he meets things head on, the faster he can get back to focusing on just playing the game.

If he tries to sidestep things, the scrutiny will only linger.

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