Every kid that loves baseball loves to play catch. Every kid that has played catch at one time or another has dreamed of playing catch with a MLB player. Well Monday night Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu made that dream come true for a little boy we”ll call Deuce for all intents and purposes. Before the Dodgers Monday night game against the Nationals, Ryu and Deuce played catch. The look on the face of Deuce is one of excitement and pure joy, and why not it’s not everyday you get to throw the ball around with a Major League baseball player.
To me not only does it show just how cool Ryu is, but it also shows the true awesome effect baseball has internationally. Ryu can’t speak English, and Deuce can’t speak Korean, but baseball knows no language barrier. All you need is a couple of gloves and a ball for friendships to be made, if only it was that way in all aspects of life. Also, we should probably keep tabs on Deuce in the future. From the looks of the video the kids got a pretty good arm on him.
Thanks to dodgerfilms for the video.
The Dodgers find themselves in the middle of a eight game losing streak. The are in last place in the NL West with a 13-21 record. Many of the fans have become tired of losing in a season in which they had high hopes to make the World Series before the season started. Many of the frustrations have been directed towards manager Don Mattingly, and many have vocalized the fact that they think he should be fired. That poses the two questions. Should the Dodgers fire Don Matttinly, and if they did would it really even matter? The answer to both questions is no.
The saying is that a manager gets too much credit when a team wins and too much blame when it loses. I think that’s true to a certain extent. The manager makes some strategic decisions that matter and can affect some outcomes, but doesn’t win or lose many games. Mattingly can be a stabilizing influence on the team, but again, he can only do so much once the game starts. Hitters still have to hit, pitchers have to pitch, and fielders have to make plays. Mattingly is doing the best he can with what he has. Injuries have hurt the Dodgers lineup, Matt Kemp has lost his power stroke, the back-end of the rotation and most of the bullpen has been horrendous.
To me Mattingly is doing a great job at managing the Dodgers, as a managers primary job is clubhouse and player management. Like it or not, managing 25 pro athletes is no an easy job, as every one of them has an ego that needs to be massaged, and teams can and do go off the deep end and implode if improperly managed. Players are known to openly voice their displeasure against really bad and incompetent managers, like the Red Sox did with Bobby Valentine last season. The Dodgers moral, despite their struggles, seems to be a pretty positive one. They seem to understand that they themselves hold their own fate. Most of the team hasn’t been playing together that long but the unity and respect for each other seems to be at an all time high, and the players seem to really have high admiration for Mattingly.
The only reason the Dodgers would have to fire Mattingly is you the fans. The front office reads your opinions more than you think and rather than fix the team they’ll just give you what you want. In a great paper written by John Charles Bradbury he stats,
“Even if managers have no direct impact on improving team performance, the perception that managers do impact performance may be sufficient to justify replacing the manager on a struggling team. There is a strong correlation between winning and revenue among Major League Baseball teams thus, losing teams typically experience fan attrition. A failing team may not be able to acquire talent quickly enough to keep fans interested in the team. By replacing the manager, the team can signal that the team has replaced an ineffective manager with a more productive one who will “cause” the team to win more games. Even if the perception of improvement is mistaken, the shift in expectations generated by replacing a manager may increase team revenue, at least in the short term.”
So you can fire Mattingly and have high expectations on winning a World Series again, but if the players on the field continue to get hurt and underperform, you’ll be bitching in about a months time why the Dodgers hired whoever it is they decided to hire as the new manager. Instead of wondering if Mattingly should be fired, I think there is someone else whose job performance should be looked at with a closer eye.
Ned Colletti in my opinion is the one whose job should be in jeopardy. Why did it take a month for him to finally put Chad Billingsley on the 60-day DL? Why did it take so long to put Mark Ellis on the 15-day DL knowing that the Dodgers were desperately short-handed? Why did he call up Elian Harrera for a few days just to send him down for Scott Van Slyke? hy not just call up Slyke from the beginning? Where is the trade for a solid third basemen? Why hasn’t Luis Cruz been sent down yet? Why the fuck is Ramon Hernandez still on the team?
To me these are more important questions then lineups and pitching changes, but I’m just a fan like you. This is my opinion and I’m sticking to it.