Dave Hansen was the fall guy for the Dodgers hitting woes, but there is a whole lot more to this story. The story isn’t that Hansen was fired (but offered another job in the organization), but rather that the Dodgers will somewhat move away from the hitting philosophy propounded by Don Mattingley. The Dodgers are happy with Donnies’ managerial and communication skills, but they need a new hitting culture on the team and must try and get a strong-minded, self-confident hitting coach. The system doesn’t need overhauled – just tweaked. There isn’t one big thing that results in a culture of winning – a culture of clutch. It’s lots of little things. The devil is in the details.
By the way, I would not characterize what happened the Nationals and A’s as choking. They are young teams – they have lots of room to grow. Choking is when they do the same thing over and over. Failing in the clutch is something that everyone does. Repeated failures in the clutch are what I call a choke. With some players, it becomes part of their persona. Some end up trying so hard that almost always fail (A-Rod in the playoffs). I would call what Alex Rodriguez has done in the playoffs a “choke.” I wouldn’t necessarily call James Loney “choke” as he is always bad!
Choke is what someone who should do better, does over and over again in pressure situations. It’s going to take a new approach for the Dodgers to introduce a culture of winning- a culture of clutch, and I think they are serious about it. The coach is not currently in the organization. Could it be Rudy Jaramillo? Maybe…. That’s a strong maybe!
I think Dave Hansen would be wise to stay with the Dodgers – they like him. This was just a move that had to be made. Do any of you have a suggestion as to who might be a good hitting coach?
Mark Saxon of ESPN/LA wrote and excellent summary of the state of the Dodgers’ pitching. Check it out. BTW, the staff got an “A.” It was the hitting that failed them in 2012. Pure and simple. With better support, Kershaw might have won 20 and Capuano and Harang might have won 32 games instead of 22 games (which wasn’t bad anyway). Hitting (especially in the clutch) was the culprit. That needs to be changed in 2013. I think it will.
By the way, Brooklyn Dodger said he wanted to hug a Badger. Here’s what you do with a Badger: