Yankees legend Don Mattingly is back in town - as manager of the LA Dodgers. Before the epic rivals started their their two-game set on Tuesday, I had a chance to chat with "Donnie Baseball," as many New Yorkers still affectionately refer to him.
Here are some highlights:
On managing players:
"They’re worried about their careers. My job is to enhance their careers, but also put it all in a team format. That’s the toughest part and that’s my job."
On dealing with adversity and losing:
"You go back to your roots. You persevere. Don’t use injuries as an excuse. Figure out how to win a game that day. Think about chipping away. 'Let’s hang in and get a game here, a game there.' So when we get our guys back, we’ll be within striking distance."
"The buck stops with you. At times when you’re losing, you feel like you’ve forgotten everything you know about baseball. That’s something you learn about managing – no matter what decisions you make, they’re not right if you lose."
On learning from Joe Torre:
"Watching Joe prepare his teams helped me set the standard for how I wanted to get my team ready. His patience for the length of the season, and his trust in his guys. I remember one year, we had a guy who seemed to not want to play that year. Everyone on staff said, ‘Joe, how can you put up with that?’ Joe told me, ‘Donny, we’re gonna need him to win.’ His patience with that guy was all about getting the best out of him somehow, some way. He weathered that storm and by the end of the year, the guy flipped and was ready to roll again and got his joy back. And he helped us a lot. That was a great lesson for me."
On highly-skilled players vs. leaders:
"You get different guys. You get guys who are really good players, but that’s where it ends. They’re just good players. Then you’ll get guys who are lower-tier players but are better leaders because they play hard, they battle, and they fight. Those are the guys you want, but they don’t have the same impact in your locker room. I always go back to Derek Jeter as an example: When your best player plays harder than everyone else, the other guys don’t have any excuses."
On returning to New York:
"I’m excited. When I fly into New York, I feel like I’m flying home. I’m from Indiana, but since I played my whole career here and coached here, I always feel like this is home."
On playing in New York:
"New York was a great place for me to grow up as a player. I was kind of a quiet person, from a small town, and was a little intimidated coming here. But I loved to play. Here, they see that love of playing, and that's great because I got attention just for that; I didn’t have to do anything extra."
Please visit Don's charity > here. <
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