May 17, 2009

Kevin Baxter wrote about the hitting instructor from the LA Dodgers: “It has been a different story this season. Nearly a quarter of the way into their
schedule, the Dodgers are second in the majors in hitting (.289) and runs (210) and tied for first in on-base percentage (.373). And while the addition of
Orlando Hudson and the return of Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake has contributed to that, perhaps a bigger reason for the turnaround is the fact hitting
coach Don Mattingly has been with the team every day since spring training.
“It’s been huge,” Manager Joe Torre said. “He just seemed to simplify things for players. And he isn’t that far removed from playing to know what worked
for him.”                                                                                   
Although Mattingly is quick to credit the players for the Dodgers’ offensive success, he acknowledges being around them every day has helped him develop
a rapport.
“It’s trust,” said Mattingly, a .307 lifetime hitter and six-time All-Star in 14 seasons with the Yankees. “You don’t just come in and start telling guys what to
do. You’ve got to build a trust with them. They’ve got to see that you’re going to stay with them if they’re going good or going bad.
“You have to build that relationship with each guy. And that takes time. You don’t just get instant respect and credibility with a guy until you’ve been here
and proven it.”  

Nick Cafardo has been listening to some of the MLB-Owners and said in the Boston Globe:  “Don’t be shocked if a few owners lead the charge to ask for
a re-opener of the drug policy or try to negotiate a stiffer policy when the current CBA expires on Dec. 11, 2011.                                                                                                                                 
The Manny Ramírez suspension has a few owners scratching their heads on why there’s a three-strike policy as opposed to a two-strike policy. Most
reasonable people are willing to give players a second chance if they’ve messed up with steroids. But three chances? If you’ve been foolish enough to take
steroids and test positive once, shouldn’t one more chance be enough?                                                                                                    
Another issue is that owners can’t recoup or void a contract of a steroid offender. That will become an issue as well in the next negotiations.                                                                      
While Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will get about $7.7 million in salary relief for the 50-game suspension, he gave Ramírez a $25 million salary based
on an extraordinary performance over the final 53 games of last season, and then the playoffs, not knowing whether Ramírez was juiced up on steroids at
the time.                                                                                                           
The Dodgers will probably have him next season, as well. The $20 million option will likely be exercised by Ramírez, whose suspension has likely hurt his
chance to earn more than that in free agency. That means if Ramírez returns and isn’t the player the Dodgers thought he was, they’ll have to pay him another
$20 million anyway. Of course, he could always return and continue to hit on a torrid pace.                                                                                                                   
There seems to be a flaw in the system in that Ramírez knew about his positive test in April, but the team didn’t for more than a month. While the policy is
designed to protect the players’ privacy, Ramírez was still paid for several weeks after he knew of a positive test.                                                                                                                                   
The Dodgers want full accountability, so they expect Ramírez to go face-to-face with the media and the fans. They’re also expecting that he will rejoin the
team at home in Los Angeles early this week and participate in workouts with the team.”   
Calgary blogger Derek Wilken said that the only drawback to a new drug that increases the memory functions of test mice: “The mice refuse to admit they
were injected by their trainers.”


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