Thursday, June 5, 2014

Damn Mattingly Takes Off The Gloves

Wow, did I really see what I saw on last night's post-game interview?  Did I really read what I read all over today's sports pages and blogs?  I've been a Dodger fan a mighty long time, and I don't EVER remember hearing or reading the Dodger's manager saying...and I quote, 

"We're just not that good." 

That's quite a statement - out loud - to the press - in L.A.!! But it hadda be said.

Regular readers here know I'm not a big Mattingly backer, not in the least, but I'm giving credit to the skipper on this one. 

 Mattingly is what they call a "players" coach. I get it, he's empathetic because he was a player too.  Some don't like his easy going attitude, and fault him for not showing more aggression.  Oh, it's there alright, but not like a Billy Martin aggression. Mattingly is apparently a passive aggressive manager.

Although he's clearly frustrated (as are all in the Dodger Nation) with the state of the ballclub, yesterdays's press conferences were not irrational, purging-of-emotions tirades.  They were a calculated move - albeit, a desperate Hail Mary  - to light a fire under the Dodgers' collective rear ends before the season slips away. He just called his players out publicly, and it's a tactic he's used before.

  Last year at this time the Dodgers were in the same whirlpool of suckiness they're swirling in today.  He used this same tactic to call out the team generally and Andre Ethier particularly for not playing with enough "GRIT".  

I'm not saying that tactic caused the team's miracle turnaround from the cellar to the penthouse, as it took a perfect storm of circumstances to arise in order for that to happen.  I'm just not discounting it outright as a factor. If anything, it planted the seeds for his calling bullshite on the team's lack of heart and poor play so far this season.

Mattingly held closed clubhouse meetings, personal meetings, team-wide meetings and did pretty much everything he can do to inspire the team - all to no avail.  

Prima dona Matt Kemp has done his share to let everyone know it's all about him and the Gap.  Other players are feeling uncomfortable. Team leaders haven't fixed things. Rookies are posting notes about togetherness on clubhouse walls and open air arguments are taking place in the dugout as the midway point of the season is fast approaching. It was definitely time for a Hail Mary play by somebody

So Mattingly showed his frustration-furrowed face, called out the troops for not being good enough, and pointed the press in the direction of his players. "Go ask them why we suck."  He's using a backdoor to challenge them to prove themselves as athletes and men.

It was a brilliantly calculated move because today is an off day for the team.  Mattingly dropped his bomb in a way that everyone would feel shock in the clubhouse last night, and then feel the awe when away from the ballpark and alone with themselves today.

The second prong of Mattingly's play involves the Dodgers starting a road trip away from the prying eyes, microphones and tweets of a good chunk of the L.A. press. They'll be away from the comforts of home and in enemy territory.  What better time for a group to come together?

Heck, Mattingly even pulled the Tommy Lasorda card and used Tommy's analogy about the strength of a team all pulling together on the same side of the rope. 

I gotta admit, just for that, Mattingly scored some points with me. But I'm not really the one that matters here.  The question is, how will the Dodgers react?  


  1. Yeah, you never know if that type of outburst will work twice for the same manager...

    1. To be honest, I might bet against it working this time with this group.
      I think personnel changes HAVE to happen at this point.
      Either way - it's gonna be interesting as heck to watch it all play out.

  2. It has been PAINFUL to watch the Dodgers "offense" lately. One bunt single to lead off the game... and then NOTHING until the 8th? Come on. They were never down more than 2-0, and yet it NEVER felt as though they were even in the game last night. It's certainly not too late. But the time to turn things around is NOW.

    1. I fricken HATE when my team is the train wreck.

  3. You know things were getting bad when the Pirates took 3 of 4. That was the first time we had won a series in LA since 2006. I watch a lot of MLB Network and they daily have about a ten minute segment on how to fix the Dodgers. Most revolve around cutting ties with Kemp. All the former player analyst agree that you can never have too much talent, but the Dodgers have too much "high priced" talent. Either way they are damned if you do damned if you don't. No matter what high priced outfielder they choose to get rid of would be selling low. I'm curious to see what happens.

    1. Nothing against the Pirates, but you're right Matt. On paper the Dodgers really should be beating teams like the Pirates, but they're getting spanked by them instead.
      Aint baseball a funny sport?