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Don Mattingly talks about Dodgers' ownership issues

December 6, 2011 |  5:13 pm

Manager Don Mattingly said that as a player or coach, he never understood the influence an owner had on a team.

“When you’re a player, you’re just kind of playing and you’re thinking, ‘What’s the owner doing?’” Mattingly said. “It’s, ‘We have to do it down here.’"

As a rookie manager leading a team with major ownership issues last season, Mattingly said his thinking changed.

While Mattingly maintained the off-the-field problems didn’t affect the way players approached their at-bats or fielded ground balls, he said, “That’s the one thing I really felt like I had an understanding of, that force that ownership causes. It’s a driving force that says, ‘We’re going here. This is our mission. This is how we’re going to get there. You guys are entrusted to make that happen, but this is where we’re going.’”

Mattingly said he felt that circumstances forced him and General Manager Ned Colletti to take that responsibility.

“You just can’t do it from those seats,” Mattingly said. “I know there was lots of trouble with everything that was going on and Mr. (Frank) McCourt didn’t want to be a distraction by being down in the clubhouse … and he a lot to deal with … but I think that’s what we missed last year, more than anything, is that driving force.”

Mattingly said he hasn’t spoken to McCourt this winter.

What about Magic Johnson? The former Lakers star is part of a group preparing to bid for the Dodgers.

“Have not,” he said. “I haven’t talked to Larry Bird, either.”

Some other notes from the second day of baseball’s winter meetings:
  • Assistant General Logan White is interviewing for the Houston Astros’ vacant general manager’s position, according to a source.
  • The Dodgers are looking for an offensive upgrade and talked to four or five teams on Tuesday about potential trades. The Dodgers’ ambitions are modest, as the player they are targeting is “not somebody who’s going to hit 25 home runs or anything like that,” according to Colletti. The team is also looking for bullpen help.
  • The Dodgers have not had any trade talks involving Andre Ethier, who is a year away from free agency.
  • The Dodgers will meet with free-agent reliever Mike MacDougal’s agent Tuesday night, a source said. A former All-Star, MacDougal posted a 2.05 earned-run average in 69 appearances for the Dodgers last season.


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Photo: Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. Credit: Matthew Emmons / U.S. Presswire