The Blue Fire…Don Mattingly Must Win With The Dodgers In 2013

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Thursday, January.24/2013

Don Mattingly has a Managerial Record of 168-155 (.520) in his 1st 2 years as Dodgers Skipper.  Will he flame out in 2013 - or will he start a Tommy Lasorda or Walter Alston like Career for lonetivity?

Don Mattingly has a Managerial Record of 168-155 (.520) in his 1st 2 years as Dodgers Skipper. Will he flame out in 2013 – or will he start a Tommy Lasorda or Walter Alston like Career for longetivity?

By Aaron Roberts (Dodgers Correspondent):  

The Blue Fire…

Everyone knows that the blue part of a flame is the hottest part, right? Well someone should tell that to Don Mattingly because he’s just gone from the frying pan into the fireplace, but this isn’t just any fire. This is the hottest kind of fire. This fire is hotter than regular blue fire. Don Mattingly has just jumped into the Dodger Blue Fire.

Entering his third year of managerial duties for the Los Angeles Dodgers, pressure couldn’t be higher for the former Yankee slugger to lead his team into the promised lands of the post-season. Since taking over for Joe Torre, Mattingly has perpetually been on the hot seat. He’s avoided unemployment by squeaking out just enough wins to maintain the front office’s interest. Mattingly’s first two seasons with the Dodgers weren’t failures by any means, but “success” might be too strong a word. Both years the Dodgers had an above .500 winning percentage but neither yielded the fruits of October.

Don Mattingly’s thoughts on the 2013 Version of the Dodgers:

Mattingly guided the Dodgers to a nice NL West ion 2012 - before injuries crippled their chances to continue.  2013 will be a fresh start with the biggest payroll in the game and lots of ALL-Star talent.  Can he unite the players to gel?

Mattingly guided the Dodgers to a nice NL West Division lead after the 1st couple of months in 2012 – before injuries crippled their chances to continue their dominance. 2013 will be a fresh start with the biggest payroll in the game – and lots of ALL-Star talent. Can he unite the players to gel and do some damage in the Post Season?

He did do some amazing things though and did them under extraordinary circumstances. The Dodgers woes over the past half-decade have been well documented. Mattingly kept his players out of all the drama and made sure it didn’t seep onto the field. He’s well liked in the clubhouse and has a reputation for being a player’s manager, having been an all-star player himself. He gets it. He understands the rigors of playing every day with a big market club. Players relate to him and marketing loves the name recognition.

In 2012, the Dodgers went down with a serious string of injuries early in the season and were fielding one of the worst line-ups in recent memory. What did Mattingly do? He coached them to the best record in Baseball well into June. That’s no small feat when you have the likes of Juan Uribe hitting cleanup. Not throwing in the towel when things looked bleakest is a testament to Mattingly’s mettle. Some come to Mattingly’s defense claiming that he’s never had a chance at the playoffs because Frank McCourt never gave him the proper tools to work with. He took over leadership duties right when all of the McCourt madness was blossoming. Even after all of that disappeared last year, his supporters claim that he still has never had a full season with the right players to prove himself. Well, all of that changed in the off-season.

With all of the past years trades, signings, star names and numbers with 9 zeroes after them, the expectations for the Dodgers have transcended the realm of “winning record” and gone straight into the uncharted territories of “championship season.” Since the Captain of the ship is responsible for whether the ship reaches its destination, he becomes the fall guy if his ship doesn’t make it. Well Don Mattingly is the Captain of this blue ship and if the Dodgers tree doesn’t bear fruit, then someone is getting the axe. That someone is Don Mattingly. He’s the head honcho whose head is going to roll if he doesn’t produce.

It’s do or die time for Donnie. Sink or swim. It’s a classic make it or break it situation. Whether or not he needs to lead the Dodgers to a World Series title to keep is job is a little unclear but post season Baseball is a must. The stakes couldn’t be higher and the front office has made that apparent with their actions. Mr. Mattingly has an option on the 2014 season that the Dodgers refused to prematurely pick up even though Mattingly requested they do so before the start of the 2013 season. Was this a message to him? Absolutely it was.

Win and you’re in.

Lose? It’s a balloon to the moon for Donnie Baseball.

Don Mattingly has had the worst timing in his two stints as a MLB Player and on the coaching staff.  As A player, he played from 1982-1995 (Just missing the 77. 78 WS Champs and 81 WS Appearance.  Then he retired 1 year before the club went to 6 out of 7 World Series and winning 4 of them from 1996-2003.  He returned as a coach from 2004-2007.  2 years after he left with Joe Torre to LA, the Yankees won yet another WS.

Don Mattingly has had the worst timing in his two stints as a MLB Player as a coach for the New York Yankees. As A player, he played from 1982-1995 (Just missing the 77. 78 WS Champs and 81 WS Appearance. Then he retired 1 year before the club went on to appear in 6 out of 7 World Series – and win 4 of them from 1996-2003. He returned as a coach from 2004-2007. 2 years after he left with Joe Torre to LA, the Yankees won yet another WS in 2009. Will 2013 see Mattingly appear in his first ‘Fall Classic” in 24 years of MLB Baseball?

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Dodgers Correspondent’ Aaron Roberts for preparing today’s featured article.   “Berts” as his friends call him, has been a True Blue believer since before he can remember. It hasn’t always been easy, but he’s stuck with the Dodgers through thick and thin and things are finally starting to look up! Cut him open and you’ll see that he bleeds blue. Growing up in the outskirts of Los Angeles, he now resides in Orange County. He attends as many Dodger Home games as he can and scoffs every time his girlfriend drags him to an Angel game (but secretly he enjoys it because any Baseball is better than no Baseball!) A passionate student of the game, he cherishes the legacies and traditions that are intrinsic to Baseball. his life goal is to visit all 30 ballparks and purchase a hat from each one. So far he’s checked 9 off his list with plans to conquer 6 more this upcoming season. Every Spring, he travels to the Arizona desert to catch a glimpse of the upcoming season and the stars that light up the diamond covered in dirt. You can find his rants and musings here and come be his twitter friend.

a  aaron roberts

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Posted on January 24, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Big plus that Mattingly kept a bunch of rabble in first place for much of the year.

    Big minus that the team collapsed when the stars started to arrive.

    And how about batting one of the league leaders in OBP 8th. Why? Because he’s a catcher? It’s tradition that catchers hit 8th?

  2. HI Walter,

    Thanks for commenting. The Dodgers hit A.J. Ellis 8th because he doesn’t hit well anywhere else in the lineup except for 7th. Ellis only hit .240 in the 2nd, 5th and 6th spots combined in 22 games. A team full of ALL-Stars needs time to gel together. Take a look at the other LA Angels team, who started 8-17 last year, before finishing 81-56 once Trout arrived and Pujols figured out AL Pitching. The Dodgers will be one of the best teams in the MLB In 2013. Crawford, Ethier, Kemp, Gonzalez and Ramirez for a full year should net better results. You add Zack Greinke to that rotation and the team will prosper.

  1. Pingback: Who Is Thomas (Aaron) Roberts?: He Is A Top 52 Finalist For The 2013 MLB FanCave! « MLB reports

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