Yankees top list of contenders in race for Holliday (cont.)
Dodgers quite a contrast to Torre's Yankees teams
For good or bad, the Dodgers are one loose bunch. Nobody's quite as loose as Manny, of course. But their entire young nucleus seems fairly carefree, as well. "Ain't nobody worried. We all good," the chatty, peppy Orlando Hudson said, using broken English for emphasis.
One exception could be closer Jonathan Broxton, a quiet guy who seemed sullen the day after allowing Rollins' game-winning hit that put the Dodgers on the cusp of elimination. (Torre said he talked twice to Broxton to let him know he has faith in him and he's going to keep getting the ball.)
The everyday nucleus is a fun bunch, though. The 20-somethings in their everyday lineup aren't maybe quite as relaxed as Manny, but they aren't going to let the situation spoil their day, either.
It has occurred to Torre how different this group is from his young Yankees nucleus in the '90s, and he wasn't surprised to be asked about that dichotomy. Torre called those Yankees teams "intense" and "very good baseball tight." While suggesting this group is quite different, he praised this one, too, saying "the core group of young players is very confident."
With those Yankees teams, Torre said he even often had to remind them to have some fun. He gave such a speech to them with the team down 2 games to 1 to the Indians in 1998. After listening respectfully to Torre's speech about enjoying themselves that year, Paul O'Neill came up to him in the meeting and said, "It's not fun unless you win, skip."
For good or bad, these Dodgers don't appear to have that same issue.
A couple of their young players earned a bit of a late-night rep in 2008. "Last year early in the year we sort of had to reel them in a little bit," Torre said. "But they never really lost the fun of playing the game, which is good. Yeah, we keep an eye on it, there's no question."
Those Yankees, "intense" and "a lot more serious-minded" according to Torre, won four out of five World Series.
The Dodgers will try to win one with a totally different demeanor.
The Dodgers rewarded GM Ned Colletti with what everyone described as a "very long" contract after an excellent year of work in which he obtained several useful pieces, including their Game 5 starter Vicente Padilla for $80 grand. Nobody would say exactly how long. Josh Byrnes, GM of the rival Diamondbacks, is believed to have the longest current contract of any GM; he's signed through 2015.
Before the Dodgers gave new Padres owner Jeff Moorad permission to interview Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng, Colletti tried to make sure Ng wasn't being used as a non-serious token minority candidate. So Colletti asked Moorad beforehand if this was a serious interview. After Colletti received an assurance it was, Ng went for the interview. Serious or not, others characterize her as a longshot in the derby that also includes Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer.
Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly had a phone interview with Indians GM Mark Shapiro and is expected to have the option to talk more about their managerial job. The Nationals also contacted the Dodgers about him in their search for a new manager. However, Mattingly is considered the heir apparent to Torre, and it's hard to imagine him giving up his chance to become Dodgers manager, even if it means starting a year earlier. "The Dodgers have been great to me," Mattingly said.
Worst October? A) closers, B) base runners, C) umpires, D) weathermen. (My answer below.)
Alex Rodriguez has made up for Octobers past. He and Ryan Howard have had an RBI in all eight of their postseason games.
The Rockies haven't taken any action yet but are going to offer new deals for GM Dan O'Dowd and manager Jim Tracy.
Matt Stairs noted how he saw that Broxton, who walked Stairs on five pitches in the winning Game 4 rally, said he was trying to make him chase pitches out of the strike zone. But Stairs said, "It's kind of hard to chase when he's throwing 100 mph." Stairs, who hit a game-changing homer off Broxton in last year's NLCS, also said that his goal every at-bat is "to see how far I can hit it." Stairs added, "It might not be the smartest approach. But it's worked pretty good. I'm not going to change at 41."
Phillies closer Brad Lidge revealed that there are two differences that have enabled him to regain his form: 1) with his knee feeling better, he was able to get back to his old mechanics (for a while, he altered his windup to lessen the knee pain, he said); and 2) Stairs detected a flaw in his mechanics that enabled hitters to see the ball too well and soon.
My order for "Worst October": 1) base runners (awful), 2) umpires (putrid), 3) closers (blowups by Huston Street, Joe Nathan, Ryan Franklin, Jonathan Papelbon, Brian Fuentes and Broxton) and 4) weathermen (they occasionally get it right).
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