A year ago, which also means a 50-game drug suspension ago, Manny Ramirez hit .533 against the Phillies in the 2008 National League Championship Series, with two homers and seven RBI in five games.
LOS ANGELES — A year ago, which also means a 50-game drug suspension ago, Manny Ramirez hit .533 against the Phillies in the 2008 National League Championship Series, with two homers and seven RBI in five games. Remember? Do you think the Phillies remember?
"I don't know," Ramirez said. "I think you've got to go ask Charlie (Manuel, the Phillies' manager) or ask somebody. I'm just going to go and play the game, man."
But don't you think about it?
"I don't live in the past," Ramirez said. "This is new, so let's see what's going on."
Manny drew a crowd of reporters around his locker before the Dodgers worked out Thursday, and you could condense his bilingual offerings down to this: look forward, not back.
He plays a boastful game, but there was no boast in Ramirez' words. After a dismal end of the season — he hit below .220 in the last month of the regular season — there was all of the predictable (and understandable) talk about declining performance and performance enhancers.
But in the Dodgers' three National League Division Series wins over St. Louis, Ramirez hit .308. He had three hits and two RBI in the clinching game.
Yet he looks forward, not back — and especially not at the NLCS last season.
"I wasn't thinking about that," Ramirez said "I'm just here to play the game. What they did last year, that's in the past. We're trying to get past this round and that's what we're going to do. Nobody's thinking about revenge or whatever. We know that they're the champion team, they won last year. We're not thinking about any revenge ...
"It's a new series. Let's see what's going to happen. Whatever they did in the past, that's in the past. That's the good thing about the second round. Anything could happen. Anybody could be the hero."
Did you find your swing in the NLDS?
"I'll let you know with these four games," he said.
Is it a confidence thing? It seemed like you were back ...
"I don't know," he said. "We've got to wait and see."
In Cleveland, Boston and Los Angeles, Ramirez has been to the postseason 11 times. Phillies-Dodgers will be his 23rd playoff series. Tonight will be his 107th playoff game. He has 473 plate appearances, with 28 homers and 76 RBIs.
"Every time you're in the playoffs, man, it's fun," he said. "It's great. And especially when you're one step to go to the World Series, it's a special moment. I'm just blessed. Everywhere I go, I've been in the playoffs. I'm just excited and I can't wait to see what's going to happen."
At which point, he talked about some of his teammates. He pronounced Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp as the stars of the team. He said it would be fun to watch them carry the Dodgers now.
And you, Manny?
Can you still carry the team?
"We'll see," Ramirez said. And then he laughed.