- Posted: 1:58 PM, February 28, 2012
The former Yankees first baseman and current Dodgers manager defended his team against those who think the Angels’ recent success and hyped offseason makes them the No. 1 team in his new town.
"It's kind of like Mets-Yankees," Mattingly told ESPN.com before the Dodgers' first full-squad workout of spring training.
"The Yankees are the team. (The Mets) are going to have their years when they play well, but the Yankees are still the team. I don't want to badmouth the Angels at all. (Angels owner Arte) Moreno has done a great job down there in Anaheim, and (Angels manager) Mike (Scioscia) does a great job. But we're the Dodgers, and that isn't going to change."
Mattingly was with the Yankees through some lean times from 1982-1995, the best player on a team that did not make the postseason until his final year. And Mattingly was in The Bronx when the Mets emerged in Queens as a National League force in the mid-'80s including a World Series title in 1986.
Mattingly could be facing a similar situation in Los Angeles as the Dodgers deal with ownership issues and the Angels are among the favorites in the American League after adding Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson to a team that went 86-76 last season.
"We're still going to need to play good baseball," Mattingly, who went 82-79 in his first year as Dodgers manager, told the website.
"But at the end of the day, if we do things right, worry about ourselves and take care of business, we don't need to worry about what another team is doing. I don't mean this as a negative, because (the Angels) have done a tremendous job down there. But at the end of the day, the Dodgers are still the Dodgers."