Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mattingly stakes his claim for Los Angeles

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly spent his playing career with the New York Yankees, so he should be well versed in "crosstown" battles. Not battles on the field, but for fans and a certain market share. The Yankees and New York Mets share the Gotham headlines, but the Yanks are the far more dominant team. It's hard for a Yankees fan to convert to a Mets fan.

The Los Angeles Angels have been around for awhile. They were known as the California Angels and Anaheim Angels, before going headfirst into the Los Angeles market. They share the area with the Dodgers and have made the biggest splashes. Namely in free agency. To Mattingly it doesn't matter. Los Angeles will always belong to the Dodgers in his mind.

"It's kind of like Mets-Yankees," Mattingly said just before the Dodgers' first full-squad workout of spring training. "The Yankees are the team. [The Mets] are going to have their years when they play well, but the Yankees are still the team. I don't want to badmouth the Angels at all. Mr. [Angels owner Arte] Moreno has done a great job down there in Anaheim, and [Angels manager] Mike [Scioscia] does a great job. But we're the Dodgers, and that isn't going to change."

"We're still going to need to play good baseball," Mattingly said. "But at the end of the day, if we do things right, worry about ourselves and take care of business, we don't need to worry about what another team is doing. I don't mean this as a negative, because [the Angels] have done a tremendous job down there.

"But at the end of the day, the Dodgers are still the Dodgers."

With the signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in the off season coupled with the Dodgers looking for a new owner, the Angels are gaining ground quickly. The Dodgers do have the name recognition and historical significance, but their product on the field has been lacking recently. They have to produce on the field to reclaim the market they held by themselves for so long.  

No comments: