The two chatted about many things, including their dinner in March. Mattingly said that Williams persuaded him to be more selective at the plate, especially against lefthanders, and Boggs says he took with him the lesson of hitting the ball "hard up the middle" against lefties. (Significantly, Boggs hit .352 against lefthanders, and Mattingly raised his average against them from .288 in '85 to .358 this year.) They both agreed that the toughest lefthander they face now is Teddy Higuera of the Brewers. The subject of the work ethic also came up.
Said Boggs: "I talk to a lot of players who say, 'Hitting is easy for you.' They think I walk out there and get my hits without any preparation. But to me, batting practice is a time to work on things as if it were a game. Every swing you take in BP should have a purpose."
"Yogi used to tell me he took extra batting practice something like twice in his whole career," said Mattingly, "and both times he was like oh for 30. That was his way, and I don't argue. That's not my way. I feel that when I'm prepared for a game, then I can relax and have fun. I want to improve every day in every facet of the game. I hate to hear that a guy's not a good defensive player. There shouldn't be any bad defensive players, not if they work hard enough. It's as simple as that. There are tons of players who could be a lot better. I'd like to have some of the talent of those guys. Give me their talent and I'll do some really big things."
As for the batting title, Mattingly said, "One guy wins a batting title, one guy wins the MVP, but that doesn't mean they're the only guys to have good years. If Jim Rice wins the MVP, does that mean Joe Carter hasn't had a great year? Of course not. The year Cecil Cooper hit .352 and George Brett hit .390, Cooper didn't lose." And neither did Mattingly this year.
The fans in Boston understood perfectly. On the last day of the season, not once but twice did they rise to give the player from another team—and another planet—a standing ovation.