“I’ve just seen a tick of it,” Mattingly said. “What I’ve seen, it seems like a Jackie Robinson type thing for one, crossing some barriers. It’ll be interesting to follow.”
Asked about how an openly gay player would be received on his team, Mattingly said, “I don’t know. I think it would be OK. The first time it happens, you’re in uncharted waters. A lot like Jackie, he would be making it easier for anyone else to step forward.”
But might that actually happen in Major League Baseball soon? “I don’t know,” Mattingly said. “I don’t know why not.”
The manager went on to describe how black players during Robinson’s era still had to sleep and eat in segregated facilities from their teammates, among other hardships. If Collins has a hard time gaining acceptance inside and outside the clubhouse, maybe other athletes will be discouraged from coming out.
“It’s not like the floodgates opened” for black players in Robinson’s time, Mattingly said, “but I think (Collins’ coming out) is a step in the right direction that’s going to create change.”
We also would have accepted that each has a contract that expires at the end of the season, as do six other managers, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark. That’s one-third of the league.
It does reflect a change in what once passed for conventional thinking: We can’t hang our manager out there on the last year of his deal. The players will walk all over him.
That may have been the theory once upon a time. But nowadays, says Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, “I think it’s something from out of the past that doesn’t exist in the present anymore. It’s one of those old things that was widely accepted — and then a lot of smart people said, ‘Why?’”
Truth is, many fans haven’t wrapped their heads around this concept yet. The intellectually lazy belief is that a cold seat becomes warm, a warm seat becomes hot, and a hot seat becomes scorching if the manager’s contract is up at the end of the year.
The relationship between each manager and his team is different, but many of the same hypotheses about Mattingly’s job security are probably being applied to Leyland, whose team won the American League pennant a year ago and whose plaque in Cooperstown may have been minted already (hopefully with a cigarette in Leyland’s mouth and missing only the logo on his hat).
After all the Tigers are only 10-10, or one fewer loss than the Dodgers.
Some bullet points to tide you through a Sierra Leone independence day weekend:
Author Mark Simon highlights several things that have ailed Kemp this season; here’s one more: Kemp is getting behind in the count a lot and not making pitchers pay when he gets ahead. According to ESPN’s chart, Kemp is 10 for 37 (.270) when he’s behind in the count and 4 for 17 (.235) when he’s ahead.
Here is ESPN’s “heat map” for balls in play/strikeouts when Kemp was ahead in the count last season:
Matt Kemp was benched to start Wednesday’s game yet still came to bat with a total of six runners on base against the San Diego Padres. He drove in one. (Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)
“We had 10 hits today?” Adrian Gonzalez asked in an otherwise silent Dodgers clubhouse.
“Same old story,” he said.
The Dodgers are no mystery after 15 games. They are putting runners on base (their .337 on-base percentage is fourth in the National League) but not driving them in (their 39 runs scored are second-fewest in the NL, ahead of only the Miami Marlins). They’ve won seven games because their pitching staff is generally excellent. When it’s not excellent, as was the case Wednesday with Clayton Kershaw, they’re in trouble.
Maybe one person at the ballpark knew the Dodgers were in trouble from the outset Wednesday, and that was Kershaw himself.
Carl Crawford is playing his third straight game in left field tonight as the Dodgers visit the Kansas City Royals in Surprise.
The Dodgers didn’t want to pencil in Crawford as their Opening Day left fielder until he passed a threshhold for throwing distance, mentioned previously at 125 feet. He has passed that threshhold “and he’s still got five days of throwing,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly noted Monday. That’s great news for Crawford, who underwent Tommy John surgery just last August and was initially speculated to be out until May.
That’s not great news if you were hoping to see Yasiel Puig in left field come Opening Day.
Former Dodgers outfielderShawn Green was in camp and in uniform as a special instructor this weekend. We got his thoughts on a variety of topics Sunday, including Sandy Koufax, the Hall of Fame, the Dodgers’ new owners, and his playing ambitions.
Green still has playing ambitions — more WBC ambitions than MLB ambitions — but he isn’t pressing the issue. At age 40, he’s content to be a father to his 7- and 10-year-old daughters. I’m saving that story for tomorrow’s editions.
Hanley Ramirez is batting leadoff in the Dodgers’ first game of spring training against the Chicago White Sox. Most of the other regulars in the lineup slotted into a familiar position: Mark Ellis second, Adrian Gonzalez third, Andre Ethier fourth, A.J. Ellis eighth. So what’s up with Hanley hitting first?
“I wanted to make sure I can get him three at-bats without having to play him seven innings,” Mattingly said.
Don Mattingly hasn’t filled out his lineup card yet for tomorrow’s Cactus League opener against the Chicago White Sox. But the Dodgers manager revealed Friday that he’s planning to start Andre Ethier in right field, Skip Schumaker in center field and Jerry Hairston Jr. in left.
Clayton Kershaw is expected to start and pitch roughly two innings, which would give the Dodgers the minimum four regulars that teams must use in exhibition games. “Regulars” has taken on some loose definitions in the past, but at least none of these four players will start the season in Triple-A.
“We’re going to use our guys,” Mattingly said. “We have to get them ready. Our number one objective is to get guys ready. During that, there are rules … within that, as far as pitchers and how we’re doing it, you’re trying to get your team ready knowing that you’ll have guys that are out there.”
There were a number of fresh faces on the major-league fields today who migrated from the Dodgers’ minor-league camp.
“That’s kind of been a plan — just talking about integrating” the two sides, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve tried to hit on the back field early in camp. When the pitchers are doing their work, we’ve had guys hitting back there with the minor leaguers. It was only three days this year, so they lockered over here. During those first two camps they were lockering over there. Where you get the minor league guys get exposed to Matt (Kemp) and different guys. I think it’s nice that we’ve got a little bit of a new program where our guys can work out together.
“That’s been the development-side thinking, trying to integrate those guys. I know we’ve got some guys who are going to go over and talk to the kids. We’re all one. … I had to talk about it this morning, what (team president) Stan (Kasten) has talked about is building the system back. I know that when you bring all these guys in that we’ve brought in at once, that’s big, bold splashes right away to kind of get the team on opportunity right away. But you listen to Magic (Johnson) and Stan and these guys, they want to try to win every year. To do that, that side over there has got to get strong, where that’s coming through. We need to keep integrating. The idea of having the clubhouses closer, having them all together. When those guys know it’s not that far away it’s a good thing.”
Mattingly added that the minor-league players aren’t missing out on anything they wouldn’t be doing otherwise by switching sides, as both camps have integrated new training methods this year.