BALTIMORE – The Los Angeles Dodgers pay their first visit to Baltimore since 2002 this weekend, and it will be an emotional time for Buck Showalter.
Showalter and the Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly have known each other for more than 30 years. They were minor league teammates, and Mattingly played for Showalter when he was Yankees manager from 1992-95.
“I’ve known Donnie since he was 20, 21. He helped my career a lot by I knew I wasn’t going to be a left fielder or first baseman for the New York Yankees when I saw him. He was going to be,” Showalter said.
“He was very easy to embrace.”
Mattingly retired after the 1995 season, and Showalter left the Yankees then, too. In the mid-1980s, Mattingly was an outstanding hitter, but in 1990, he hurt his back. He somehow played four more years, but not at the standard New York was used to.
“I wish I’d gotten to see him when he was right,” Showalter said.
After some years out of baseball, Mattingly returned to the Yankees as a coach for Joe Torre, followed him to Los Angeles, and replaced him when he retired in 2010.
“Donnie just had a great presence about him. He had a real pure heart. He’s real sincere. I think players see that. He’s got no agenda,” Showalter said.
“It does not surprise me that he’s managing, and he’s a good one.”
In his pre-game news conference, Showalter spoke about his former player for 12 minutes and finally forced himself to stop.
“I can talk about him forever. I’m very fortunate to have had him pass your way, and I didn’t even see much of him in his prime,” Showalter said.
“So, I like him. I’m not going to like him for three days.”
Jason Hammel (2-1, 4.34), Wei-Yin Chen (0-2, 4.00) and Jake Arrieta (1-0, 5.40) will pitch for the Orioles this weekend. Hyun Jin-Ryu (2-1, 2.89), Josh Beckett (0-2, 3.26) and Chad Billingsley (1-0, 3.00) are the Dodgers’ pitchers.