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Don Mattingly on the Dodgers: “Basically, we’re sh**ty”

Jun 5, 2014, 8:12 AM EDT

St Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

The Dodgers lost again last night and are eight games out of first place. Manager Don Mattingly is disgusted. Here’s what he had to say after last night’s loss:*

“Basically, we’re sh**ty,” Mattingly said. “We’re just not that good . . . Home, away, whatever. I don’t know what that has to do with it . . . I really think you should talk to [the players]. I’m tired of answering the questions, honestly.”

Last season the Dodgers hit a low point when they were nine and a half games out. Mattingly was almost fired then, partially because when you have a $200 million roster you can’t really replace the players, partially because he seemed to be in a personal funk, disgusted with what was going on. We saw his displeasure on display at the end of last season too, when his friend and bench coach Trey Hillman was fired and Mattingly had issues with Ned Colletti.

I’m not advocating for the dismissal of Mattingly — I think he deserves a lot of credit for last season’s turn around — but a manager’s job is usually to be the one who calms everyone down when they get frustrated. Not to be the public face of the team’s frustration.

*The Times story censored that quote more, but multiple Twitter sources noted the particular expletive used by Mattingly. Which, laughs aside, I think is kind of important. Those of us who are passionate users of profanity know the subtle differences between various curse words in various contexts. Or at least I hope we do.

  1. southpaw2k - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    “All this has happened before, and will happen again.”

    • moseskkim - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      I think it starts with the glut of ~20 mil/high ego outfielders. The team can’t have good chemistry if u have 4 (5 including van slyke) starting caliber outfielders. These guys need to get consistent at bats vs righty lefty and build chemistry as one unit. But when u have a few of them (not puig) who don’t know when they’re gonna play next, how can u build rhythm/ confidence/ chemistry? Especially if they’re individually scrutinized for their lack of success with respect to their high salary.. Get rid of one (ethier, Crawford, kemp) and build some offensive continuity. The starters will be good.. Kersh, greinke, ryu, haren, Beckett look fine. Offense just needs to step up

      • kaleidoscopictreats - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        Ah, yes, The appeal to that ineffable quality of “rhythm/confidence/chemistry” as if these aren’t guys with quite literally thousands of at-bats under their belts and thousands of hours in the field.

      • geejon - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        If anyone of them besides Puig would distinguish themselves then there’d be no issue. Kemp got regular at-bats but struggled both at the plate and in the field. It was only Crawford and Ethier who were really splitting time and neither did anything to convince Mattingly he should stop splitting their time until Crawford recently got hurt and Ethier still hasn’t done much playing everyday. The problem isn’t that there’s too many it’s that other than Puig none of them are playing well whether when rotated in or playing everyday.

      • ghawks78 - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        True to a point, but wth is wrong with everyone else (Gonzo, Ramirez) to name a couple, what’s there excuse

      • fpstratton - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        A big part of the Dodgers’ problems has been that Kemp and Ethier have regressed from what they were several seasons ago. If Puig hadn’t come along last year, the Dodgers would have been a .500 team.

      • ultimatehitcoach - Jun 7, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        guys,guys,guys!! it’s all relative.

        #1-this is the only endeavor in the whole wide world where you can fail 3 times out of 4 and still make an average of $3MILLION/YEAR!! which is more than 99% of the people on the planet make in their entire lifetime!! so it’s a very unusual situation indeed.
        #2- 95% of all players fail to understand: THERE IS ONLY ONE THING IN ALL THE WORLD YOU HAVE CONTROL OF: T H E N E X T P I T CH. if players can lose all the excess baggage they carry to the plate on every AB.. AND SIMPLY RE-EVALUATE THE CONDITIONS & ADJUST.. THEN FOCUS ON THE NEXT PITCH.. EVERYTHING ELSE WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF. it’s only when you think about 2,3, or 6 other things that have no relation or value to the specific task at hand, that players fail themselves. like every other person on this planet in every other endeavor, players are ultimately responsible for:
        #1) identifying their greatest skills and using them to their best advantage
        #2) IDENTIFYING & ELIMINATING THEIR OWN SELF-DEFEATING, SELF-DESTRUCTIVE, SELF-SABOTAGING TENDENCIES. of which there are MANY!

        it is only when coaches make players aware of what these items above, do they actually improve. unfortunately, it doesn’t happen anywhere near often enough. bad. sad. it’s the reason that the MLB BA has fallen from .268 to .253 over the last 15 years. players AND moron coaches have no idea what is required to improve. they are mostly focused on things that will ultimately not make much difference in their progress & improvement. lotta that goin’ around. it’s the culture of baseball. fartoomany young players are blown up by pisspoor coaching. the entire culture MLB hitting and coaching is hilariously bad. 95% of all coaches are teaching things which consistently oppose natural UNBREAKABLE laws of both logic and physics. get all 30 MLB hitting coaches in one room. ask “everyone who has completed a college certified course in both LOGIC and MECHANICAL PHYSICS.. raise your hand.” if one coach raised his hand, I would be SHOCKED BEYOND BELIEF. so logic dictates that VIRTUALLY EVERY MLB COACH IS TEACHING ACTIONS WHICH DIRECTLY CONTRAVENE NATURAL UNBREAKABLE LAWS OF BOTH LOGIC AND PHYSICS TO THEIR PLAYERS!! if you don’t know the rules, what are the chances you will violate them? if you are teaching players things that cannot possibly work.. what chance do they have to make the grade? close your eyes, tell me what you see.

        conclusion: the entire mindset of coaching needs to be blown up and reconstructed from square one: COACHES AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE TO #1 LOGIC AND #2 PHYSICS, NEVER MIND THE POLITICAL BALONEY

    • moogro - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      There is the theory of the Moebius, a twist in the fabric of space and time. Where time becomes a loop. Time becomes a loop. Time becomes a loop.

      • dcarroll73 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:25 PM

        As Lee Van Cleef would say, “Blast it out of existence!”

  2. bfunk1978 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    I wouldn’t advocate for his release either, as there are a couple of NL teams with a ton of talent that are just not very good. Dodgers and Cardinals. Of the two teams, the manager most responsible for losing extra games is probably Matheny. But like you said, canning a manager can have a stark impact on a team. So fire them both – they’ll still get paid the rest of their contracts, and maybe these teams will get turned around.

  3. happytwinsfan - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    The team with the highest player payroll is one game above 500. The team with the second highest payroll is at 500. A team with an advantage like that in football would probably go about 14 – 2. In basketball they’d probably be on the verge of their third straight championship.

    Gotta love how small and fleeting are the differences between the top players, top teams and the rest in baseball, more than any other sport.

    • antaresrex - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      The NBA team with (by far) the highest payroll this year lost in the second round of the playoffs. The teams with the second-highest and fourth-highest didn’t even make the playoffs. The team with the 20th-highest payroll is favored to win the Finals. The two teams that lost in the conference finals had the 10th-highest and 16th-highest payrolls.

      • happytwinsfan - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Interesting, I didn’t know that. I assumed that Miami with Lebron and whoever their couple other big name players are had the highest or close to it payroll. interesting info, thanks.

      • jlovenotjlo - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        The salary cap pretty much makes what you said completely moot. If a team could give Lebron James, Keving Durante, etc all free market salaries they’d win the championship every year. They can’t, so highest payroll doesn’t matter in salary capped sports.

      • mikhelb - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:07 AM

        $14 million is the difference between payroll #4 and #20, just about $700,000 per player.

        If we were to use that amount per player in MLB, the total would be $17.5 millions of difference.

        In MLB the difference between #4 (Boston Red Sox with $163 millions) and #8 (Texas Rangers) is $27 millions.

        Difference between #4 and #20 is $72 millions ($2.88 millions per player in their 25 man roster).

        #4 Boston Red Sox $163 millions
        #20 Chicago White Sox $91 millions

        Heck, in MLB the difference between #1 (Dodgers) and #2 (Yankees) are $32 millions.

  4. 18thstreet - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Assuming your twitter sources are correct, the LA Times did a bad job with the quote. They changed it to: “Basically, we’re … ,” Mattingly said. “We’re just not that good.”

    It sounds like he self-censored. He sounds level-headed. I think they could have done a better job. Even if you want to be strict in your use of ‘naughty’ words (sorry, I’m a dad; can’t think of a better word), you could write “‘Basically, we’re [lousy], We’re just not that good,’ Mattingly said, using an expletive.”

  5. clydeserra - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Why does he deserve credit for last years turn around? It seemed like getting healthy pitchng and finally getting hitting turned it around.

    • genericcommenter - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Sure, but then you can’t really blame him for when guys were hurt and not hitting. Managers get too much credit and blame.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        Bingo,

        Adding to that point, GM’s and players get too little blame.

        Not saying Colletti should get his walking papers, the same core group of guys tore up the league for 2/3 of the schedule last year.

        This, as in most cases of underperformance – is on the players.

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    • brianincbus - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:43 AM

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      • jimeejohnson - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:16 AM

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    • 18thstreet - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:21 PM

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      Ask her out already.

  7. kaleidoscopictreats - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    “I’m not advocating for the dismissal of Mattingly [...] but a manager’s job is usually to be the one who calms everyone down when they get frustrated. Not to be the public face of the team’s frustration.”

    Then what are you advocating, exactly? Because it sure does sound like you’re advocating for Mattingly’s dismissal, if anything.

    Firing Mattingly isn’t going to make Hanley start hitting again, nor will it make the bullpen more consistent. Keeping him around to be the face of this team’s frustration, however, might actually embarrass these players to try a little harder.

    Rooting for this team is about as frustrating as it gets, given how much these scrubs are being paid.

    • genericcommenter - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      Well, you can disagree with someone’s approach to their job without necessarily thinking they should be fired.

      • kaleidoscopictreats - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Hence, my asking for what Craig was intimating at, exactly. After all, the term ‘but’ does conventionally function to signal a contrast with the claim proceeding it. I’ll leave it to the reader to guess what the natural contrast to “I’m _not_ advocating for the dismissal of Mattingly” is…

  8. yahmule - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    I’m not a Mattingly fan. Seems like a decent guy, but I think his personnel decisions in particular are shaky at best. I don’t blame him for not performing better despite the payroll. You could make an argument that no front office gets less bang for their buck than the Dodgers. The Dodgers do have perennial managerial bridesmaid Tim Wallach at easy reach if they do decide to make a move.

    • happytwinsfan - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      It’s not that the Dodgers or Yankees are badly run, it’s that the more you spend the less bang you get for your buck.

      • yahmule - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        IMO, they squander the financial advantage they hold over many other teams by being unnecessarily reckless.

      • mikhelb - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:15 AM

        If the measure is wins and championships, then for sure spending billions upon billions is ludicrous, but these teams are run like businesses where a championship is welcomed but they measure their success in the amount of revenue they create.

        Look at how the Yankees “lost” money last season, and i say “lost” because it was not money they had already earned but money they did not make compared to the previous season, and that was because their fanbase felt they were penny pinching, so their attendance number fell, their ratings fell, merchandise sales fell and in their goal of lowering the payroll $20-$30 millions they ended up “losing” about $60 millions compared to prior years. Now they went all in and again are raking the money.

    • thetoolsofignorance - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      I detest the “spend to win” philosophy. I prefer to grow talent, draft well, develop young players and have smart contracts that pay off long term. The way the Rays and the Oakland Athletics are run are what I mean so its kind of hard for me to root for my team when they do precisely what people like me who own businesses try to avoid. Buy high, sell low is a losing philosophy so for now I’m enjoying Puig and Dee Gordon, 2 players who I see as the embodiment of what I value. The rest of it is pretty hard to bear including Mattingly at the moment

      • fpstratton - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        As much as people detest the “spend to win” philosophy, it does occasionally generate world series champions. The Rays and A’s are admirably run, I agree, but neither one has won a world championship in recent memory. As for the Dodgers, Puig is a great talent, but his mental errors cost the Dodgers in important games. Dee Gordon is starting to come back down to earth after a great start. None of the Dodgers, besides perhaps Kershaw, are appealing to me at this time. The stadium atmosphere stinks, the team is underperforming and unexciting, and I think the fans know it. That’s why it’s necessary for all this extracurricular stuff at games…stupid videos, prompting for the fans to make “noise”, et al. The Dodgers have been in decline for a long time now.

      • mikhelb - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:33 AM

        “they do precisely what people like me who own businesses try to avoid”

        I own a business and agree that buying high to sell low is downright dumb, but, they also do what business owners have to do: invest to grow and to generate more money.

        Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, conduct a similar procedure to wholesale retailers who spend 80% or more of their revenues to grow and avoid similar businesses to gain an advantage on them.

        The A’s, Pirates, Rays are like ma and pa stores.

  9. 4d3fect - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Basically, he’s right.

  10. renaado - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Their pitching is good bein 7th overall in the MLB at 3.46era, batting is also good bein 8th in the MLB with runs scored( tied with their rival Giants) based on that category, not to mention a decent .252 ba avg.

    It’s the managers management that’s sh**ty not the players performance. You’ve got nothin to blame but yourself there Matt…

    • fpstratton - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      I don’t think Mattingly is a great strategist or manager, but he can’t be blamed for 25 years of mostly inept management and underperforming teams. The Dodgers, as an organization, are has beens……..oh, well, better than being a “never was.”

  11. aceshigh11 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    He sounds like a guy who wants to get fired.

    • El Bravo - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      That’s what I was thinking.

    • echech88 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      Yep. Maybe there’s more going on behind the scenes but it sure sounds like he may be sick of the Kemps and Hanleys on that roster.

    • happytwinsfan - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      He should realize how lucky he is that he can afford to get fired.

      • baberuthslegs - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        Maybe he does.

      • dcarroll73 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        Not meaning to be snarky, I would just mention that if any of us had half the talent to play baseball that Don had, we wouldn’t be worrying about finances either. I think the jury is still out on his managerial talent. I am saying this as a fan of both the Yanks and Giants, and so obviously I have divided loyalties with a ex-Yank managing the Dodgers. I think he is getting blamed for a lot of things that wouldn’t be an issue if the players were performing well (while I will grant that he’s made some gaffs.) I remember when Torre went from being “Clueless Joe” to a managerial genius so I will withhold judgement for a while.

  12. koufaxmitzvah - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    When the heart of the order is streaky, and the bullpen has sprung its leaks, and the starting pitching is a bit inconsistent, then stuff like this happens. They are not clicking on all cylinders. If two work, the third doesn’t.

    When 2-0 in the 6th inning seems insurmountable at home, then whose fault is that? Money has never equaled wins. It’s always on the field. His decisions haven’t hampered the Dodgers as much as the Dodgers have hampered themselves.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      Just a matter of time before this team makes a huge run toward another pennant.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        I hope so. I’ve been doing what I can at home. Wear hat. Don’t wear hat. Place hat on hat rack. Place hat on TV. Place hat on DVD player. Put hat on dog and sprinkle chicken blood in the air.

        I hope I’m not doing any of that wrong. Wait a minute…..

      • renaado - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        Don’t ever put a hat on your dog unless it’s a poodle sandy…

      • fpstratton - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:00 PM

        Another pennant? When was the last one?

      • mpzz - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

        Nah. The owners and front office are idiots. They paid nearly twice what the team was worth, which required them to demand so much money for a TV deal that no one will pay to show or watch the games! They threw huge money at several players who had just finished sinking the Red Sox and have now started in on sinking the Dodgers. Then they leave Mattingly hanging when all he’s done is return the team to contention the last two seasons, despite all the bungling by the front office! They’re going nowhere fast, and Mattingly is the only one who ISN’T part of the problem.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 6, 2014 at 6:16 AM

        They didn’t throw huge money at players the Red Sox got rid of. They picked those contracts so the Red Sox got rid of them.

        I know it sounds like a minor distinction, but it’s rather huge considering the basis of your analysis.

  13. moogro - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    Small things in baseball make big differences. If Adrian and one or two other guys were even slightly more dangerous, it could be 5-6 more wins, and no panic.

  14. chargrz - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Fire Donny! He’s Sh**y.

  15. fpstratton - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Aside from last year’s incredible 50-or-so game run and some excitement generated by Manny Ramirez several seasons ago, the Dodgers have been the biggest ripoff in baseball…exclusive TV contracts where the hardcore fans can’t even watch their own team to ridiculous ticket prices to inane entertainment at Dodger games to stupid video “kiss cams” and footage of players most people in the stadium were too young to even remember, everything associated with the Dodgers, save for the great Vin Scully, is one big fraud. The players have little passion, care more about themselves than the team (read Matt Kemp, for example), and have become unwatchable. I don’t blame Mattingly for being disgusted, and I don’t think it’s all his fault either. Zero championships since 1988. Enough said.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      Nail hit on head. GO GIANTS!

  16. enchantedbeaver - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    If Donnie would replace “we’re sh**ty” with “I’m sh**ty”, we might make some progress. Donnie’s passive-aggressive call-you-out in the media is exactly what a weak leader does. A strong take-charge leader would have a closed clubhouse butt chewing air-it-all-out in private. Mattingly has a history though of using the media to air dirty laundry, whether it was with Either a couple years ago, or Ned last fall to finally get his extension. All I see is someone trying to pass the buck instead of taking responsibility AS THE MANAGER for what happens on the field and in the clubhouse. His open complaining in the media I’m sure doesn’t win any points with the players, and in fact hurts his credibility as a leader even further. I’m not seeing a whole lot of respect going either way here, and something needs to change.

    • fpstratton - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      I don’t think that would help this team. They are adults. They know what to do. He has been very restrained in his comments up to now. Mind you, I’m not a huge fan of his as manager, but I don’t blame the current losing ways on him. These players just have to perform better.

  17. ch0psuey - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    It’s freaking hilarious that a team with this money is not owning the league in first place. What a joke of an organization.

  18. ch0psuey - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    It’s freaking hilarious that a team with this money is not owning the league in first place. What a joke of an organization.

    • ch0psuey - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      Sorry about double comment. This site isn’t exactly the speediest on the net.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 6, 2014 at 6:17 AM

      Not as much of a joke of a fan who can’t figure certain things out like how there’s 4 months to go in the season. But, sure, go ahead and repeat yourself.

  19. Minoring In Baseball - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    It could be worse. He could be Ausmus managing the Tigers right now. They’ll be out of first place soon enough with they way they have totally calapsed, and they way Cleveland is playing.
    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

  20. Fantasy Football Consultant - Jun 6, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    The problem with the Dodgers is a lack of effort, focus, and professionalism . May tingly deserves some blame, but these are grown men who need to be motivated beyond there professional commitment and there financial gain. The real question is why??

  21. chaseutley - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:40 PM

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