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Interim manager Mattingly still has a lot to learn

Mar 10, 2010, 6:57 PM EDT

On the day he hinted that he was all lined up to become the Dodgers’ next manager, Don Mattingly had an embarrasing gaffe Wednesday, as his team was caught hitting out of order.
Mattingly, who has never managed at any level, was serving as the Dodgers’ interim manager with Joe Torre off handling half the squad in a series of exhbititions in Taiwan.
The issue today was that there were two different lineup cards, one with Matt Kemp hitting second and Andre Ethier batting third and the other with the two reversed.
According to the AP:
Ethier came to the plate twice in a span of three Dodgers batters. Crew chief Mike Winters wanted Ethier to hit behind Matt Kemp to adhere to the lineup card the Dodgers submitted to the umpires before the game.
Ethier went deep during the second of those at-bats.
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks ended up playing to a 4-4 tie in 10 innings.

  1. Sam Mecum - Mar 10, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    So, baseball players and managers are not all smart, like Norman Einstein

  2. Nasty Boy - Mar 10, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    Donny, maybe now you know why you didn’t get the Yankee job, nothing against you, but it’s called experience . Girardi had it managing the Marlins, and you didn’t. Don’t be mad at the Yankee’s , it’s just that they know what their doing.

  3. evan penn - Mar 11, 2010 at 5:58 AM

    God love him, Donny is not the brightest bulb in the box, although he was one of the most talented. I remember reading a story about Ted Williams having a conversation with Wade Boggs and Mattingly about…what else…hitting. Mattingly didn’t know that ground balls are generally hit by swinging to early, and fly balls too late. That is fairly basic stuff. I knew then, or I thought I knew, that Mattingly would never be a hitting coach or manage. Wrong on the 1st count, probably wrong on the 2nd. You don’t have to be competent to get some jobs, you just have to be somebody.

  4. Morgan W - Mar 11, 2010 at 6:34 AM

    Sure the ‘manager’ gets the blame….but at what point do you expect a professional athlete to recognize he came to the plate twice in a span of three Dodgers batters????!!!!
    My head hurts just thinking about it.

  5. Jonny5 - Mar 11, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    I have yet to see that on my kids little league team. year 5, 6, 7, 8. that’s 4 years of little league I saw without a batter hitting out of order, and to think, twice within 3 batters? GADZOOKS!! An entire team didn’t notice?

  6. doug - Mar 11, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    someone was attempting to prove a point. at least 2 people had to know this was happening. when you start hearing “adhere to the lineup card”…you know that common sense is being ignored..intentionally.

  7. TedW - Mar 11, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    Yes, a little mistake that means nothing. It’s early in spring training and most of the players and coaches are just half awake. Don Mattingly may or may not make a good manager. That certainly can’t be determined by this game. It would seem though that he is a good hitting coach having served in that position for both the Yankees and the Dodgers.

  8. Spice - Mar 11, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    I somehow doubt Mattingly did not know the cause of ground balls versus fly balls. Makes a good story, sounds false on the face of it. Mattingly became a good hitter through hard work and batting smarts, much as Boggs did.
    Mattingly was an effective hitting coach, something he could not be if he didn’t understand the mechanics of hitting.
    A simple mistake that I have seen happen to experienced managers in the regular season should not be seen as indicative of whether or not Mattingly has a long way to go or not before he is ready to be a manager.
    Only an idiot would assume that it make such an indication

  9. jlm - Mar 11, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Must have been a slow day if this story made the news………..

  10. damian - Mar 11, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    So, Mattingly didn’t know that ground balls are attributed to swinging too early and fly balls too late. Ted Williams made that comment about him. What makes you Ted Williams was the brightest bulb around also. I’m sure he talked to earlier hitters in his career and got tid bits of information also, which he is just passing along. Isn’t what a veteran ballplayer should do in any sport? Help the next generation.

  11. RUSure - Mar 11, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    I read that about the ground ball/ fly ball thing in an earlier post and didn’t think anything about it, assuming that it had some validity. Players can try to pull balls into right or left, depending on what side of the plate they are hitting from; or they can hit them into the opposite field. A fly ball comes from hitting under the ball, a ground ball from hitting down on the ball, and a line drive from hitting the ball level. Being early or late on a pitch could result in a foul ball, a pop up, a pitch hit into the dugout, or any combination of possibilities depending on the hitter. A good, intelligent batter can hit the ball where he wants it to go.

  12. evan penn - Mar 11, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    I found the story in SI online, it was from the 1986 SI Baseball Preview Issue. Mattingly was asked if his pop ups were from swinging too early or late, and he replied “Probably early”. I never forgot it because I was a kid at the time and I was amazed I knew something about hitting that Matingly didn’t know. Here’s the link, its about halfway down the Interview.

  13. RUSure - Mar 16, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Just read most of that interview, a conversation between Mattingly, Williams, Boggs, and Gammons. A little BS there from Ted, but a good conversation about hitting. Different hitters have different strengths and weaknesses. A good hitting coach will instruct his players to hit in the way that maximizes there abilities.

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