Surrounded by roughly 25 reporters and several television cameras, Don Mattingly's pre-game news conference in the Citi Field visitor's dugout Friday looked a lot like one of Joe Torre's bloated daily media sessions from the Yankee years.
And that wasn't the only comparison between the two. As Mattingly spoke, it was hard not to see Torre's influence at work.
Peppered with questions about his owner's financial problems, Mattingly patiently answered each one, talking for more than 10 minutes and not leaving until there were nothing left to ask him. For a first-year manager presumably still getting used to his daily responsibilities, it was a fine display of media relations, especially given the topic at hand.
One of Torre's greatest strengths during his Yankee tenure was his availability to the media, which is exponentially larger in New York than any other market, including Los Angeles. Torre realized early that the more questions he answered, the more pressure he potentially took off his players from doing so, and Mattingly appears to taken that lesson to heart.
Mattingly once told me his biggest regret from his playing days -- besides not playing in a World Series -- was not getting a chance to play for Torre. But after watching Mattingly do his best Torre impersonation with the media Friday afternoon, those seven years coaching for him with the Yankees and Dodgers sure seemed to have left an impact.
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