Dodger manager Don Mattingly addressed the media in his pregame press conference today reiterating his beliefs and expectations.
“I haven’t wavered in anything I came in here believing,” Mattingly said. “I’m not backing off of my beliefs of how the game of baseball should be played. You’ve got to respect the game, respect your teammates, respect the fans. The game of baseball should be played with a certain grit. It should be played with a certain determination. It should be played with a certain toughness.”
Before Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee, Mattingly spoke of how he put together his lineup, saying he wanted players who compete and give his team the best chance to win. Absent from that lineup was Andre Ethier.
Some interpreted it as a public thrashing of the Dodger right fielder; Mattingly saw it differently.
“I didn’t publicly criticize anyone,” Mattingly said. “I basically put a lineup out and answered questions. It’s not about Andre. It’s about how we prepare and go about our business.”
The Dodger skipper said Ethier and all of the players were clear on the message.
“Andre and I talked for probably 20 minutes before the game,” Mattingly said. “He knows exactly where I’m coming from. Guys in that room (the clubhouse) — they know who they are — they play the game the right way. They’re not worried. I can’t come close to backing off anything I’ve said.”
Indeed, since becoming the manager in 2011, Mattingly’s message has been consistent.
“I’m pretty damn simple,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve said anything different the whole time. It’s about the way you play the game of baseball. Now it’s time to get ready to play. It’s time to keep your nose down and do your job.”
Public reaction to Mattingly’s comments in Milwaukee has varied. Some fans have been pleased that the third-year manager is showing fire, while others see it as evidence the Dodger manager is panicking. There has been widespread speculation that Mattingly’s job is in jeopardy.
“I can’t worry about that,” he said. “I need to focus on what I can control, how we prepare and go about our business. I just want to see my club be the best we can be.”
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