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Thursday, March 27, 2014

ESPNLA: Dodgers, Yasiel Puig clear air

Yasiel Puig is always going to be a story. The Los Angeles Dodgers just don’t want him to be the only story anyone ever talks about on a team with World Series aspirations.

So before the latest controversy with Puig had a chance to mushroom, manager Don Mattingly called a team meeting Tuesday to clear the air, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.

A source described Puig as “very open” during the meeting and receptive to what was said.

“I asked them to please keep helping me,” Puig told ESPN. “Specifically with baserunning and hitting my cutoff man. I want them to help me with everything they can.”

The meeting previously was described as being between the second-year outfielder and the manager, but Mattingly wanted the entire team to have a forum to address the subject in-house, rather than have frustrations boil over or leak out through the media. Veterans Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe were the most vocal players during the meeting, sources said.

“It was good for everybody. Donnie just wanted to squash this, and it did,” one veteran, who asked not to be named, told ESPN.

Puig said he understood his teammates “wanted to help me get better” and encouraged them to approach him directly anytime they had something to say to him.

“Puig’s a good kid. He just didn’t come up through the system like we all did,” a veteran teammate said.

Afterward, Mattingly addressed the media and said of Puig, “We’re good. I’ve got no issues with Yasiel.”

 

 

Tripon Posted: March 27, 2014 at 12:59 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers

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   1. john_halfz Posted: March 27, 2014 at 07:43 AM (#4677683)
I keep waiting for this story to turn into an Al Campanis quote. I get that the Dodgers would rather have Trot Nixon out there. But still.

I really like Don Mattingly because he homered after Ruben Sierra during the 1995 ALDS and made my year. But this whole thing is not redounding to his credit.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2014 at 08:01 AM (#4677684)
i am a less of a pr8ck than I was in my younger days but even back then I wouldn't have a group meeting to discuss a singular individual's perceived issues.

it will be some kind of achievement if this turns out well for both the player and the team.

between the culture differences, possible language confusion, younger player/veteran player, writers agitating mix the puig matter could well go kaplooey

really think don would be better served taking the understated approach.

but I think that train has left the station.

good luck to them
   3. Lassus Posted: March 27, 2014 at 08:23 AM (#4677688)
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4677696)
It's possible that Mattingly is overreacting by having such a meeting but this suggests to me that his teammates are equally frustrated with his mistakes. If Hanley Ramirez is the guy standing up during a meeting to discuss work ethic type issues that's not really a great endorsement.
   5. zonk Posted: March 27, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4677700)
“I asked them to please keep helping me,” Puig told ESPN. “Specifically with baserunning and hitting my cutoff man. I want them to help me with everything they can.”


The scene in American Beauty where Chris Cooper beats the crap out of his kid suddenly pops into my mind...

Beyond that, I agree with HW -- I don't understand why the Dodgers as an organization seem so comfortable, even desirous, of seeing this all play out so publicly. Obviously, an MLB dugout with media at the gates is a wholly different animal than a faceless workplace... but the few occasions I've had to deal with a subordinate that was a little off track, the last thing I'd do is turn it into some sort of event. You have the discussion - and it's better as a discussion than a lecture - in private, one-on-one, and it's no one else's business. I've been lucky enough that in all of the few occasions such circumstances have come up, it's always been with someone talented and I wanted to hang onto as a colleague, and I've never had to escalate anything beyond the private one-on-one.

Like I said, I get that sports are different -- but it seems to me that if you've got someone who does really valuable work that you want to keep, it shouldn't be about making a big show of pounding them into place, exerting some sort of domineering authority, etc. You try privately, quietly, and much more discreetly to help the person understand that doing X/stop doing X is best for everyone... and yes, sometimes you have to accept that not all flaws can be fixed - a Puig that misses cutoff men and gets tossed out too often on the bases is probably more valuable than more than half the other OFs in baseball, so also have to be ready to accept limitations.
   6. eddieot Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4677702)
The way Mattingly and Sandberg conduct team business through the media leads me to believe that maybe it's not a good idea for HOF or near HOF players to go into managing.
   7. BDC Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4677704)
Why don't we see how it works out? After 2013 I'd give Mattingly the benefit of some doubts about his managerial ability.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4677716)
bdc

i don't think it's unreasonable for folks to wonder about the likelihood of successfully using 'public shaming' as an employee management tactic

maybe puig will generate the desired behaviors but from experience most others from whatever culture/background would not respond to this approach
   9. The Good Face Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4677720)
i don't think it's unreasonable for folks to wonder about the likelihood of successfully using 'public shaming' as an employee management tactic

maybe puig will generate the desired behaviors but from experience most others from whatever culture/background would not respond to this approach


My bet is that this was a move born out of desperation; they've tried everything else and they're just not reaching the guy. It's the only thing that makes sense to me, for the reasons you've already given.
   10. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4677721)
good

awful quick. the ugy has only been with the major league club for less than a year.

and to be clear i am NOT saying the young man doesn't need constant coaching, mentoring, disciplining.

   11. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4677723)
Obviously, an MLB dugout with media at the gates is a wholly different animal than a faceless workplace... but the few occasions I've had to deal with a subordinate that was a little off track, the last thing I'd do is turn it into some sort of event.


I agree with you, but it's worth noting that a major league player is not a subordinate to the manager in anything like the sense a corporate employee is a subordinate to the department manager. In the professional sports world the players make various multiples of the manager's salary and that matters. In theory the manager is the players' boss, but in practice his most important job is persuading the players to respect his decisions and the only players he has what we think of as managerial authority over--the only players whose options are do whatever the boss says without ######## or find another job--are rookies and marginal middle relievers.

Being the nominal superior of people who make a lot more money than you do is unique to professional sports*, and I think it's a big reason why successfully managing a professional sports team requires such a rare and specific skill set.
   12. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4677732)
The public airing of dirty laundry may be unwise, but it seems from the quotes that Puig is being a gentleman about it. Or maybe he's a bullshtter, and that's what the team is tired of?
   13. The Good Face Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4677736)
awful quick. the ugy has only been with the major league club for less than a year.

and to be clear i am NOT saying the young man doesn't need constant coaching, mentoring, disciplining.


Yeah. That's what makes me believe they're desperate. Either that or they're making an unforced error here, but this sort of thing is really rare by MLB standards. Hyper talented young players typically get a LOT of rope.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4677761)
i don't think it's unreasonable for folks to wonder about the likelihood of successfully using 'public shaming' as an employee management tactic

Given what Paste says here:

I agree with you, but it's worth noting that a major league player is not a subordinate to the manager in anything like the sense a corporate employee is a subordinate to the department manager. In the professional sports world the players make various multiples of the manager's salary and that matters. In theory the manager is the players' boss, but in practice his most important job is persuading the players to respect his decisions and the only players he has what we think of as managerial authority over--the only players whose options are do whatever the boss says without ######## or find another job--are rookies and marginal middle relievers.

this may be the only tactic left to Mattingly.

If Puig doesn't give two shits about what management thinks of him, you have to hope he cares about what his fellow players think.
   15. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4677777)
So, here my problem with the newest "Puig" fiasco..

Donnie would have been totally justified in calling Puig out for his baserunning follies the other night. Instead, he chose to go with the "faking" injuries card. Donnie had a bad night himself, so maybe he should just keep his damned mouth shut until they get home.
   16. Captain Supporter Posted: March 27, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4677781)
Its amazing how people with no experience managing anything feel so certain that they know better than people who do. Not to mention that the Dodgers collectively, and Don Mattingly individually are also actually familiar with the facts related to the situation, the individual involved, the reactions of his teammates.

But people here feel so comfortable making assertions based on little knowledge and no experience. Its laughable, really. But humorous to read.
   17. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4677784)
I keep waiting for this story to turn into an Al Campanis quote. I get that the Dodgers would rather have Trot Nixon out there. But still.

In the real world, the Dodgers now have one of the most diverse rosters in the game. Heck, the diversity now even extends up to ownership, as you may have heard that Magic Johnson is African-American.

But as always, facts never get in the way of BTF's massive legion of dipshitts throwing out their accusations of racism and general all-around bullcrap, no matter how unwarranted.
   18. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 27, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4677789)
Its amazing how people with no experience managing anything feel so certain that they know better than people who do.


Aren't you making a similar assumption? That the people on here have no experience managing anything?
   19. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4677801)
I kind of sympathize with Captain's point; I have plenty of experience managing a business with employees, but it's practically irrelevant to the job of managing professional athletes.
   20. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 27, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4677809)
I kind of sympathize with Captain's point; I have plenty of experience managing a business with employees, but it's practically irrelevant to the job of managing professional athletes.


In that sense you are correct, there are a small amount of folks that have ever managed a major league baseball team and it is a very unique job. But that doesn't mean that your experience managing and dealing with people is irrelevant to the discussion.
   21. base ball chick Posted: March 27, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4677859)
let's ask this:

can anyone think of cases in which public shaming - meaning that the manager/GM/"sources" publically criticizing a player for not only bad play, but immaturity AFTER the player has received a nice multi-year contract - worked in a positive way?

seeing as how the manager no longer has the authority to send someone down or even really determine playing time as the stat geeks in Management make that decision (everywhere but Philly, i guess) and seeing as how the player is gonna get his money whether or not he plays, sits on the bench or is sent down, IF he won't listen to either the manager or teammates, what else can be done?

this all reminds me of the enormous media hostility to barry lamar bonds, like from day 1, far back as i can remember
   22. john_halfz Posted: March 27, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4677866)
...as you may have heard that Magic Johnson is African-American.

But as always, facts never get in the way of BTF's massive legion of dipshitts throwing out their accusations of racism and general all-around bullcrap, no matter how unwarranted.


Wait. Magic Johnson is...black? I think you're confusing him with someone else.

I guess maybe my quote implied a belief that sinister racial machinations guide the Dodgers. But it'd take a "dipshitt" to be offended by that.

I was really just reacting to the team's apparent thought that letting Bill Plaschke be their mouthpiece is a good idea. And call me a "dipshitt" if you must, but the ethnic composition of the Dodger roster has nothing to do with my feeling that the Plaschkes and Bill Dwyres and John Paul Morosis of the world, of whom there are many, lean on this guy pretty hard. And I'm assuming that someone other than Earvin is pushing this narrative at Dodgertown.

If Bill Plaschke thinks the team is better off without a guy who sulks when he strikes out, a guy who sometimes throws over the cutoff man, and a guy who takes some reckless chances on the basepaths, I'm sure some other team in the league could find a use for the 6 WAR that Puig is going to provide this year.
   23. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 27, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4677871)
This meeting should have only occurred after numerous one on ones with Puig & Donnie baseball. As a manager you don't let stuff fester, you give constant feedback to problem team members to guide them on the right path, and you don't blow up about them to other people in or out of the organisation (except maybe your boss and maybe only before their final warning).

If Donnie did all these things, a group meeting is a reasonable next step, esp. given he doesn't have hire/fire control over Puig, just playing time control.
   24. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 27, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4677877)
I'm sure some other team in the league could find a use for the 6 WAR that Puig is going to provide this year.

No doubt plenty of other teams would want Puig, but 6 WAR is incredibly optimistic, for a variety of reasons.
   25. zenbitz Posted: March 27, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4677878)
My only concern is that I hope whatever happens makes the Dodgers play bad as a team.
   26. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 27, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4677883)
This meeting should have only occurred after numerous one on ones with Puig & Donnie baseball.

How do you know they haven't taken place?
   27. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 27, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4677886)
If Donnie did all these things, a group meeting is a reasonable next step, esp. given he doesn't have hire/fire control over Puig, just playing time control.


He probably doesn't even have that. Which Puig knows.

Somewhere Ned Colletti is shaking his head and muttering, "See, this is why you should never let anyone under 30 play..."
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: March 27, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4677892)
I kind of sympathize with Captain's point; I have plenty of experience managing a business with employees, but it's practically irrelevant to the job of managing professional athletes.


The problem is that the Captain's point is just another in a long line of people saying that other people should never ever discuss a situation in which they aren't clearly connected.

From ball players telling writers and analysts that they don't know anything about baseball and shouldn't talk. To people with kids telling others "you don't know if you don't have a kid", To people telling celebrities that they don't know crap about politics and should shut the F up....

These are public people in a public job, and they are going to be criticized and critiqued...to think that an observer can't make a valid critique from afar is ridiculous. Obviously they could be just as wrong, but, there is also a good chance that just because Mattingly has had this experience as manager, that he still makes the wrong action and it's very probable that an observer can see that, even if they never spent one single day in a management position.
   29. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 27, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4677913)
Call me old fashioned but I am a fan of "praise in public" and "criticize in private", and since professional athletes are people I am pretty sure that is the right way to manage them, despite having never managed professional athletes.

I just have never seen anything positive from public shaming. It happens a fair amount in all industries, but it is a bad idea.
   30. PreservedFish Posted: March 27, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4677914)
The meeting previously was described as being between the second-year outfielder and the manager, but Mattingly wanted the entire team to have a forum to address the subject in-house, rather than have frustrations boil over or leak out through the media.

This is the other thing that people are ignoring here: it's not merely an issue that concerns Mattingly and Puig. It's also about how the entire team reacts to it, both internally and with consideration to the rabid pack of journalists, just outside the door, trying to foment controversy.

If the entire meeting really did have the positive and supportive attitude reported in the article above - Mattingly and the managers stressing that they were there to help Puig improve, and not to discipline him - well, I really don't see how we can criticize the approach. There isn't a word about public shaming here.
   31. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4677967)
pf

of course mattingly is going to frame it as positive because to HIM it was positive

and maybe to puig it WAS a helpful experience

but in the vast history of talent management putting one person's professional failings as the agenda to be discussed in an open forum with co-workers has not generated positive results

I am a bit surprised you are taking this as face value. you are typically pretty quick to poke holes in such things (and rightfully so)

again, the phrase above was not meant as a criticism. just an observation.

   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4677972)
as a clarification I want puig to succeed because having more good/great players is good for the game

I also support any effort to get a player to maximize the player's abilities.

but this approach, as described, just strikes me as likely generating at best no improvement and quite possibly a retreat into even worse performance. and worst of all, the player (puig) now can place a face (or in this case faces) to his internal critics.

having worked with talented but challenging young men and this being the athlete world it would not surprise me to read sometime in the future of puig coldc9cking one of the guys who spoke up at this meeting.

hope I am wrong. hope I am WAY wrong
   33. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 27, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4677977)
If the entire meeting really did have the positive and supportive attitude reported in the article above - Mattingly and the managers stressing that they were there to help Puig improve, and not to discipline him - well, I really don't see how we can criticize the approach. There isn't a word about public shaming here.

And going back to Mattingly's comments from the other day when he mentioned Puig's "possible injuries" - from the video Mattingly seemed more bemused than angry or even irritated, which didn't come across in the article and comments posted here.
   34. PreservedFish Posted: March 27, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4677985)
but in the vast history of talent management putting one person's professional failings as the agenda to be discussed in an open forum with co-workers has not generated positive results

Maybe this is why I'm taking it at face value. Mattingly is probably a smart enough guy to realize that a public shaming of Puig would be counterproductive. And, like I said above, it sounds like Mattingly thought that he had a message that he needed to deliver to the entire team. It's very easy to imagine Mattingly taking Puig aside, telling him what he needed to work on, and after that involving the entire team, trying to stress solidarity and teamwork as a way to both help Puig (and everyone else) and to try and squelch the pernicious influence of the media. The whole thing makes sense to me.
   35. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4677991)
pf

I hear you. I hope so for all involved. the dodgers are a good team and puig ahs the chance to be pretty special

but the flip side is that there have been managers who did some high profile event like to brag it up to the media

this is very Durocher like. and that is not a compliment
   36. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 27, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4678032)
Can I think of a player who, after signing a long-term contract and then receiving public criticism, then responded in a positive way?

Absolutely. Reggie Jackson in 1977. Reggie was publicly criticized by his manager, Billy Martin, among others, for his behavior and attitude throughout the season. He ultimately responded by leading the Yankees to the world championship.
   37. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:54 PM (#4678045)
Alternate interpretation: Reggie! got away with being a dick to everyone because he was an awesome player.

I predict that Puig will continue to get away with being a dick to everyone for precisely as long as he continues to be an awesome player.

"Rose, Bench, Morgan and Perez can do whatever the hell they want, the rest of you are turds, and if you want privileges like them you have to produce like them" isn't wisdom Sparky Anderson invented, it's just the way life is.
   38. Squash Posted: March 28, 2014 at 02:18 AM (#4678072)
The way Mattingly and Sandberg conduct team business through the media leads me to believe that maybe it's not a good idea for HOF or near HOF players to go into managing.

I actually think there is something to this, particularly when the HOF to near HOF guys are still pretty young. A lot of former players who become managers at a young age seem to feel they have to prove themselves to a certain degree, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Then you add in that former stars are used to it being all about them, and now suddenly it's about someone else. They're also getting paid a crap ton less than everyone else for the first time in a long and are probably poorer than the team's #3 starter, even though they were a star and this guy's just a bum, which has to grate a little. Not that all them aren't/won't be successful which is obviously not true, but there are some bugaboos.
   39. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 28, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4678128)
I was really just reacting to the team's apparent thought that letting Bill Plaschke be their mouthpiece is a good idea.

You're full of crap. You played the racism card and even harkened all the way back to Al Campanis, and now you're trying to pretend that you didn't really mean what you very clearly said.
   40. Hal Chase School of Professionalism Posted: March 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4678171)
Absolutely. Reggie Jackson in 1977. Reggie was publicly criticized by his manager, Billy Martin, among others, for his behavior and attitude throughout the season. He ultimately responded by leading the Yankees to the world championship.


Cripes, Reggie got yanked from the OF in the middle of the inning for lack of hustle. Then, he had it out with Martin in the dugout in front of the whole country.

I guess there are two directions to go after that: suck it up or Operation: Shutdown. To Reggie's credit, he sucked it up.

In those early days of free agency, I don't think guys really thought (on the field) about how much more stroke they ultimately really had than the manager. It was new money, but still the old mindset.
   41. booond Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4678270)
To compare Reggie and Puig is off the mark. Their situations aren't comparable in any manner outside of both playing the outfield.
   42. flournoy Posted: March 28, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4678280)
Andruw Jones was pulled from the outfield mid-inning by Bobby Cox in 1998 (as a 21 year old). I think that's a lot more comparable to Puig than Reggie Jackson.
   43. base ball chick Posted: March 28, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4678300)
you could ask braves/jays fans oldern me, but i disremember bobby cox EVER saying anything negative about one of his players to the media

i disremember hearing about team meetings that were JUST abouot the manager and the rest of the team piling on some player (the rocker situation was different, i know, but ah DO remember bobby saying on the record that he never had ONE second of trouble from that boy)

and ah DO remember the game that andrew jones got pulled - and he deserved it, and bobby did NOT discuss it with the media except to talk aout the usual hustle, blahblahblah. none of this Team Cancer shtt
   44. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 28, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4678321)
I think one of the huge problems is that the national writers (the usual suspects) or the columnists like Plaschke that don't spend much time in the clubhouse like to pile on whenever a Puig thing comes up. It seems like someone from the organization (I could be way wrong) is giving them insider info. And we know that a few years ago that Ned had no problems throwing Matt Kemp under the bus during a radio interview.

At least the dude that Calcaterra was having a conversation with on Twitter said straight up "yep, he's an ass and not alot of the guys like him" (paraphrased). It was perhaps the most honest thing that has come from a writer during the Puig mess.
   45. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 28, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4678455)
Last season, Donnie called out Ethier. Seemed to work out OK with no lasting damage.
   46. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 28, 2014 at 10:15 PM (#4678484)
The Puig and Jackson situations have several points in common. Although Puig is younger now than Reggie was at the time, they are (were) both immensely talented star players who were lightning rods for attention.

Both players have been called out by their managers and have received criticism for a failure to put out full effort.

Puig does not seem to be well-liked by his teammates, while Jackson was generally hated in the Yankee clubhouse (at least in 1977). Jackson had only one real friend with the Yankees (backup catcher Fran Healy); I don't know if Puig has any real friends on the Dodgers.

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