The Blue Fire…Don Mattingly Must Win With The Dodgers In 2013
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By Aaron Roberts (Dodgers Correspondent): Follow @Bertsball
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:
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.
*** 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. Follow @bertsball
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Posted on January 24, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @bertsbaseball on twitter, aaron roberts, dodger stadium, don mattingly, frank mccourt, Joe Torre, juan uribe, los angeles dodgers, new york yankees. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.