THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

Putting the pieces together

MANNY RAMíREZChanging image? MANNY RAMíREZChanging image?
By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / July 9, 2009
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Picked up pieces while waiting for ’Sheed to pick up his first “T.’’

Until I saw the Dos Equis commercials, I thought Schill was the most interesting man in the world.

Wonder how many of the Tour de France leaders are cheating?

The price for Roy Halladay will be too high, but the Sox better hope the Toronto ace doesn’t end up in the Bronx this summer. It would alter the balance of power in the American League. Big time.

I love the way NBA superpowers are loading up for next season. Shaq to Cleveland. Vince Carter to Orlando. Ron Artest to the Lakers. Rasheed Wallace to Boston. Maybe Grant Hill, too. Feels like those Red Sox-Yankees winter wars.

Manny Ramírez returned to New York this week. Manny grew up in the same Washington Heights neighborhood that spawned god-of-all-broadcasters Vin Scully. “I talked to Manny about it once,’’ said the voice of the Dodgers. “I mentioned that I was from 180th Street and he said he was from 168th Street and that was it. There was no response from either of us. But my school was on 175th Street, so his house was on my route. The neighborhood was 99 percent Jewish in my day. Now it’s probably 100 percent Hispanic.’’

Ramírez homered in the ninth last night off Mets closer Francisco “K-Rod’’ Rodriguez, but the Dodgers still lost, 5-4.

Have the Red Sox ever started a regular-season game with a weaker infield than the one Terry Francona was forced to play Monday night? In case you missed it, the Sox had Aaron Bates at first, Nick Green at second, Julio Lugo at short, and All-Star first baseman Kevin Youkilis at third. Test your memory and feel free to submit entries.

Rodney Harrison to SI’s Dan Patrick: “ . . . we’re in Houston for the Super Bowl. The offense wasn’t practicing particularly well, and Tom [Brady] was really having a frustrating day. I think I picked him off twice, and I was dancing. Tom got so ticked off at me that he chased me all around the practice field throwing footballs at me, yelling obscenities at me.’’ Love to see videotape of that.

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, author Zev Chafets (“Cooperstown Confidential’’) wrote that there’s no reason to keep baseball cheats out of the Hall of Fame because, “On any given day, the stands are packed with youngsters on Adderall and Ritalin and college students who use Provigil as a study aid . . . Like it or not, chemical enhancement is here to stay. And it is as much a part of the national game as $5.50 hot dogs, free agency, and Tommy John Elbow surgery.’’ Good logic there, Zev. You forgot to mention there’s probably a few tax cheats in the crowd.

Get ready for that Dodgers-Red Sox World Series. Dodgers-Red Sox connections are endless. You drive up to Dodger Stadium on Elysian Park Avenue. “Elysian Fields’’ was the name of John Henry’s band back in his post-college days. Henry was the bass player. Bet his vocals were tough to pick up.

Including sportswriters and other flotsam, Don Orsillo has been paired with 22 color commentators this season. Steve “Psycho’’ Lyons could be next to sit in the chair while we wait for the return of the one and only RemDawg.

Who will be the media’s go-to guy now that both Harrison and Ellis Hobbs are gone from the Patriots locker room? Christian Fauria, who once filled the role, is cohost of “Dirty Water TV,’’ which airs on NESN Saturday nights at 11:30.

When Manny played for the Sox, my favorite play was when he’d take second base without drawing a throw and the official scorer would announce “defensive indifference.’’ It was the only time in baseball that we had defensive indifference and offensive indifference on the same play. Alas, the new Manny is trying to change his carefree image. We witnessed two demonstrations of Manny anger in his first four games after returning to the Dodgers. He was ejected for tossing equipment after a called third strike Tuesday in New York (horrible call by umpire John Hirschbeck). On Saturday, Manny got into a jam with a first base ump when he was called out on a close play. Looks like Manny is attempting to show teammates and fans he actually cares. Either that or it’s ’roid rage.

Put Larry Tye’s “Satchel’’ on the summer reading list. Ditto for Jeff Pearlman’s “The Rocket That Fell To Earth’’ and Bill Ballou’s “Behind the Green Monster.’’ Also check out HBO’s new documentary, “The Kid: The Life And Death Of Ted Williams’’ (produced by Margaret Grossi), scheduled to air Wednesday night at 9:30.

Bumped into top NFL draft pick Matthew Stafford when the Sox were in Detroit. He knows Dustin Pedroia and Youkilis from winter workouts at Athletes’ Performance in Scottsdale, Ariz. Stafford also remembers coming to Boston when he was in junior high school in Texas. The QB was a sportswriter wannabe when he was in middle school and spent a weekend in the Hub at a journalism convention for students. He said the highlight of his trip to Boston was a speech given by a guy named Bob Ryan.

NBA insider Marc Spears is soon leaving the Globe for another venture and we are going to miss the big fella and all his sources.

Casey Kasem shut it down last weekend. His “American Top 40’’ was an original countdown concept later applied at ESPN and just about everywhere else. Kasem went to high school in Detroit and dreamed of becoming a big league baseball player. Glad he wound up in radio.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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