Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is Donnie Doing a Sutter, or is Donnie Asking to Get Fired?

You're probably wondering, "Who the heck is Sutter?"

Well, Darryl Sutter is the current LA Kings coach who has been credited with bringing his own kind of homespun logic that borders on in-your-face honesty to transform the once addled Kings into Champions.  He has an ingenious way of being direct, and it had made believers out of a group of players who were just not doing enough.

The situation Sutter came into last season (before their rise as Stanley Cup Champions) was not an easy one.  The Kings were not unlike the Dodgers of today.  They were filled with many players that were arguably superstars in their sport.  Heck, like the Dodgers they made some huge trades to get them.  And like the Dodgers, they didn't immediately perform the way you would expect.  It was like they were getting crushed by the expectations.

Founds familiar, don't it? 

Then, in comes Sutter and he provided an honest intensity that was embraced by the team.  He told it like it was, and we all knew deep down that he was right.  More importantly, the team responded because they knew it too.

Well, as reported by Bill Plunkett of the OC Register this morning (Hat Tip: Craig Calcaterra at Harball Talk) Dodger skipper Don Mattingly made some direct comments that some folks find too critical.  Too honest.  Too in-your-face.

But you know what, he's right.  See what Plunkett wrote below.
Must-read strong comments from #Dodgers mgr Don Mattingly pregame seemed to point finger at not only lack of "mental toughness" from his players but also at poor construction of the team.
"We gotta find a team with talent that will fight and compete like a club that doesn't have that talent," he said, pointing to last year's team which led the NL West by 5 1/2 games at the end of May despite a far less-talented lineup.
"I felt we got more out of our ability (last year). I don't know about being tougher but I felt we got more out of our ability.

"There has to be a mixture of competitiveness. It's not 'Let's put an All-Star team together and the All-Star team wins.' It's finding that balance of a team that has a little bit of grit and will fight you. And also having talent to go with it.

"All grit and no talent isn't going to make you successful. But all talent and not grit isn't going to get you there either."
The only problem I have with Plunkett's description is the part about involving the construction of the team.  I don't think Mattingly was questioning who was signed or who we traded for.

I do think Mattingly does question the players will.  I think he questions their willingness to fight.  And as he puts it, "all talent and (no) grit isn't going to get you there either."

So Dodgers, can you muster the energy, the will, the grit to win?

On the other hand, maybe the pundits are right and Mattingly is not long for the job.  Maybe he has thrown his arms up the air and said, "screw it!"  Maybe Mattingly has made an unconscious effort to sabotage his job as manager.

I dunno.  I guess anything is possible.


I know sometimes it might seem that I have a huge crush on the Kings and how they do things.  Well... ya know what?... I do.  I've witnessed their transformation and I hope for the day when the Dodgers can emulate it.

I know they can and I really believe the Kings are a great model to learn from.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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