Don Mattingly called Tuesday from Evansville, Ind., just a few minutes after rehearsals for a local production of "The Nutcracker." He'll play Mother Ginger, just as he did last winter. With one eye on the dancing children and another on the news of the offseason, he awaits spring training and an unrelenting season.
Sure, he said, the stakes are higher. The money spent is remarkable. The expectations are warranted. It's on him. It's on all of them.
"None of that really matters," he said. "The expectation is you have to win. That's just the way it is. You could fight it. You could try to defuse it. But I don't think there's any defusing this bomb, no matter what we do. We just might as well look at that and take it head on right away. We're supposed to win. There it is. If we lose, we're failures."