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Magic Johnson has very high expectations for the Dodgers and Don Mattingly

Feb 4, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Don Mattingly AP

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times talked to owner Magic Johnson about his expectations for the Dodgers this season:

We want to go to the World Series. If we don’t accomplish that, yes, it is not a good season for us. Guys should be saying that. As the ownership group, that is what we are saying.

That makes sense in that the Dodgers have added a ton of star players and now boast the largest payroll in baseball history, but as the playoffs constantly prove being the best team–or at least having the best record–doesn’t always mean winning the World Series. It’s much different than the NBA that way.

And if they don’t win the World Series, what happens to manager Don Mattingly when his contract expires after the season?

Don has been in this game. He understands how these things work. He knows, if he does his job, he will get rewarded. Look, everybody likes Don a lot. Nobody wants to put Don in a situation where he is going to be the fall guy. We’re not that type of guys. What we’re trying to do is give Don all the resources necessary to be a winner, be effective and be a champion.

If it’s truly “World Series or bust” for the Dodgers this season Mattingly ought to be very nervous.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    If it’s truly “World Series or bust” for the Dodgers this season Mattingly ought to be very nervous.

    Meh, it’s not like he’ll be tossed on the street and forced to get in line at a soup kitchen. Worse case scenario he retires early or finds another baseball job.

  2. Old Gator - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Seems to me that Magic is saying “If we shtup Don in October it won’t be because he didn’t win it all. It will be for some other reason we haven’t thought of yet.”

  3. manchestermiracle - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Setting your sights and expectations high is what Dodger fans expect, particularly from a winner like Magic. There are myriad reasons a club does or does not make the WS and as long as Mattingly is doing his job I see no reason ownership would dump on him if the Dodgers don’t get there. A .500 season might be an entirely different scenario, but presenting the coming season as a “WS or bust” make-or-break for Mattingly isn’t very accurate.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 4, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      Didn’t the Nats also make a similar comment recently about it will be a bad year if they don’t go to the Series? My expert analysis is that at least one of the two teams is headed for major disappointment.

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 4, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      Hey Magic,one big problem for the Dodgers is San Francisco…………

  4. cur68 - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    This is the dreaded “Vote Of Confidence”, isn’t it?

    Donny Baseball, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. . . .

  5. philliesblow - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Last 2 Dodgers WS championships (1981 & 1988) featured Spartans Steve Garvey & Kirk Gibson. Maybe Magic will have to suit up.

  6. moseskkim - Feb 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    As long as the dodgers win their division and are competitive in the playoffs, mattingly is safe. If they get blown out/there’s dysfunction in the clubhouse.. Then hes probably gone.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 4, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    All the hundreds of millions they have spent and they can’t throw Mattingly another year on his contract so he isn’t managing as a lame-duck? Seems to me that doesn’t work out too well too often.

  8. chumthumper - Feb 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Apparently, Magic thinks throwing a lot of money at it will make it so.

  9. riverace19 - Feb 4, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    The Dodgers added payroll but really how many effective players? Hanley, Crawford, A Gonz are all on the downhill slide… Greinke is solid but the rotation still has holes… Beckett? Billingsley? The Dodgers might sneak in the playoffs as a wild card but, even with the additions, they will not finish ahead of the Giants in the NL West.

  10. djjackson81 - Feb 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Or the Diamondbacks

  11. lemfax - Feb 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    What you expect him to say. I’m just a fan but I always want to see my team on the championship..

  12. jayquintana - Feb 4, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    If the Dodgers don’t go far into the playoffs this year, why would they bring Mattingly back?

  13. koufaxmitzvah - Feb 4, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Hello…. Magic Johnson is a proven champion. And all he is doing is professing the philosophy that all proven champions have professed since I ever began listening to them. Which is that disappointment will set in if the team doesn’t win a championship. Nothing wrong with that.

    I don’t see a guillotine here. If the Dodgers fail to make the World Series but play well enough to compete to be in the World Series, i.e. win the division, then we’ll see how stringent the call for a championship is over team continuity.

    • joegolfer - Feb 5, 2013 at 12:56 AM

      Good point. Magic has always been diplomatic in judging things, at least in public.
      He even compliments Dwight Howard of late, and Dwight hasn’t lived up to expectations yet. And Magic stays upbeat on the Lakers, despite their woes this season.
      It’s too bad more owners/management aren’t as classy as Magic.
      And at least he didn’t become a whiny baby like Phil Mickelson regarding California tax rates (Phil said he backed out of the Padres deal because of it, though he had already been out of it by most accounts).
      Magic just goes about his business, being upbeat, encouraging his team, and if he has negative comments, he says them face to face to the person with whom he is dealing.
      Dodgers should have high expectations. They’ve assembled a terrific team, even if they missed out on a couple of free agent pitchers.

  14. bigharold - Feb 4, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Johnson has a point. Considering the talent they’ve added he should have high expectations. Does that mean the Dodgers get to the WS, .. let alone win it, .. well that is any ones guess. But, no point in being coy about ones expectations.

    Mattingly is my favorite all time Yankee so I’m biased but I think he’ll deliver. And, he’s no stranger to pressure or high expectations. He was after all employed by George Steinbrenner for most of his adult life.

  15. halohonk - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    I know one thing the Angels are the same way but nobody talks about our mgr if we dont get to the series. Im sure the Halos make a move if they dont get there this year. He is a players mgr though and we do have a lot of veteren players. We might see a freeway series here in SoCal.

    • joegolfer - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:04 AM

      That freeway series would be an exciting one for sure.
      I’m not sure the Angels have the pitching though, and pitching often wins playoff games due to the nature of the way a series is set up.
      I think it will come down to the Nationals and the Dodgers in the N.L for the pennant, but one never knows, especially since Wild Card teams have had great success in recent years.
      If Gio Gonzalez gets suspended for PED’s, that’s gonna hurt the Nats, even with Strasburg pitching a full season, but they can survive it.
      I don’t think the Nats hitting will be as good as last year, as some guys had uncharacteristically good years, such as the middle infielders Desmond and Espinosa, and the 1Bman, Adam LaRoche.

  16. halohonk - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    Score more runs than the other team and you win!

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