A Little Love For Donny Baseball
Much is being written about Los Angeles Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp, who took one more step towards history last night in his quest to become the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski. Many have also written about Clayton Kershaw and his dazzling numbers this season as he takes his place as the front runner for the National League Cy Young award. But nobody is talking about the job that Manager Don Mattingly has done in Los Angeles.
Mattingly, a New York Yankee legend, has done one of the most underrated managing jobs in the Major Leagues this season. Mattingly is the farthest thing from an “LA guy” that you can find. He is quiet, humble, a bit shy and very unassuming. This town normally takes guys like this and chews them up. But, somehow, Don has gotten through it all with his down home Indiana roots and made a winner out of a losing situation.
Donny Baseball inherited a team with low expectations and a very large marketplace. Mattingly is not your typical MLB manager, he doesn’t like to talk a lot and doesn’t want any attention, which makes him a rarity in Los Angeles. He has taken an undersized, under talented and underfunded team through a season filled with concern over the state of its finance and an owner scandal and somehow earned a winning record. The entire team has had to play the season wondering if they were going to get paychecks and yet they will end up over .500. Something teams with major budgets and fans that actually support their teams cannot do in cities like Chicago.
Imagine if your paycheck was in question every single pay period? Would you be able to perform at a high level? Don has been able to harness the attention of Kershaw and Kemp this season and get this team into the positives in the win loss column.
Some would say, so what he has the CY Young winner and the MVP. The question has never been individual talent; it is the team as a whole. No name players dominate the lineup and the best player they could afford to get halfway through the year was Ruben Rivera (a chronic under achiever). Mattingly has gotten every single inch of effort out of this team, he has grown 2 superstars, he has developed a winner out of a loser and I hope someone else in baseball sees this accomplishment even though he will not win any awards this season. Great job Donny Baseball!