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Don Mattingly goofs again while managing the Dodgers

Jul 21, 2010, 9:25 AM EDT

For a guy who is supposedly Joe Torre’s heir apparent, Don Mattingly hasn’t exactly distinguished himself the couple of times he’s had the chance to manage.  You’ll recall that the Dodgers batted out of order the last time Mattingly was in charge. He blundered again last night.

Both Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer were ejected following a series of plunkings, and that put Donnie Baseball at the helm. Mattingly came out to talk to his closer Jonathan Broxton. After the chat, he left the mound to walk back to the dugout but then turned around to say something more, treading on the mound a second time.  Bruce Bochy realized this was, technically speaking, a second mound visit, and it required that Broxton be removed from the game. You can see it all go down here, complete with Vin Scully voice-over.

That meant the recently ineffective George Sherrill had to come in.  Sherill promptly gave up a two-run double to Andres Torres, which
made it 6-5 Giants. They ended up taking it 7-5.

Is the two-visit rule a dumb rule? Maybe when it’s applied in the case of a simple about-face like Mattingly did (the rationale for the rule is clearly to speed the game along, and Mattingly’s second “visit” lasted mere seconds). But it’s not something guys get caught up on very often. Bochy certainly knew the rule. According to the game story the Dodgers players did too, because they were telling Mattingly to stop before he stepped foot back on the mound.  It’s really something Mattingly should have known.

Maybe this has no bearing whatsoever on what kind of a manager Don Mattingly will be some day, but when you don’t have a track record of managing to fall back on, this kind of stuff is going to stick out in everyone’s mind when it comes time to make the decision of who replaces Joe Torre.

  1. YankeesfanLen - Jul 21, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    Donnie Baseball will always be admired around these parts as a player. Among some fans this translated to support to replace Torre when Girardi was appointed.
    Unfortunately, as a job description, this does not necessarily translate into managerial ability. There is a certain concentration level and a degree of finesse required to manage and Don csn get caught up in certain heat-of-the-moment emotional decisions that show lack of focus.
    Was the initial trip to the mound even needed? Maybe he’s trying too hard.

  2. RichardInBigD - Jul 21, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    I don’t think one gaffe like this would keep a team from naming Mattingly manager. In fact, it might help the decision. Remember when T.S. Garp made the decision to buy the house he was looking at, immediately after a small plane crashed into it? “What are the chances THAT will ever happen again?”

  3. Ben - Jul 21, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    From the linked story, it sounds like the home plate umpire – and not one of the Dodger players – was yelling at Mattingly to not go back to the mound. Heck, it was James Loney who apparently had an urgent questions that prompted Mattingly’s return.
    I credit Bochy here for making a heads-up argument. Having said that, I think the rule is it a little silly in that it refers specifically to a mound visit. Mattingly’s second visit, as you note, lasts only a moment. Maybe MLB could change the specifics to the infield foul line – call it the Moonlight Graham rule.

  4. Ditto65 - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Now I’m no lawyer (though I believe one lurks on this blog), but this incident certainly was not the reason the rule was created and did not break the spirit of the rule. You can clearly see that a player was continuing a conversation started during a short trip to the mound. Stupid interpretation of a rule meant to keep managers from visiting the pitcher after every at-bat. And I hate the Dodgers.

  5. Nic Geerz - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:45 AM


  6. easports82 - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    Remember in Little League when the coach would only come out to the foul line and the pitcher would have to go to him? By how the rule is being repeated (I say this cause I haven’t had time to actually look it up myself) couldn’t teams go back to that and never be charged a mound visit?

  7. Joe - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    “That meant the recently ineffective George Sherrill had to come in.”
    I’ve read/heard this sentiment several times. But it’s not true that SHERRILL had to come in, is it? The Dodgers had used Kuo and Broxton already, but that meant there were still 4-5 other pitchers available in the pen. Mattingly made the choice to use Sherrill, who is the worst pitcher in the Dodgers bullpen.
    I guess this choice was made bacause Torres is better batting lefty. This year, anyway. Career splits suggest otherwise.
    Not a shining inning for the manager any way you look at it.

  8. Steve A - Jul 21, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Maybe Craig left out the word “cold” at the end of it. From what I understand, Sherrill was only allowed the 8 warmup pitches allowed from the mound when a new pitcher is brought in. Thus, if Sherrill wasn’t up in the bullpen (which I don’t believe he was), he only had 8 pitches to get loose.

  9. geoknows - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    You’re right, Sherrill wasn’t up. Maybe they brought him in because he can get warmed up quickly? Some guys need more pitches than others and some can actually do it on eight pitches.

  10. Rohan Sadagopal - Jul 21, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    Interesting related article:

  11. john j pileggi - Jul 22, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    Bochy is one sharp manager. He knows the rules better than most and uses it to his advantage.

  12. john j pileggi - Jul 22, 2010 at 7:26 AM

    Two things; Contrast Scully’s eloquence and economy of words to Miller’s usual too-much-talk, too-much drama.
    Secondly, the link regarding the umpires misapplication of the rule was interesting. Bochy was the catalyst for the matter, and the umpires did not know the rule. Sounds like some umpires need some schooling.

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