He gets it, and understands how it works.
"It's certain people's job to sound the alarm," Mattingly said.
And he's not talking polite wind-up alarm, but a five-alarm, civil-defense-siren, panic-in-the-streets alarm. And, come on, we are good at it.
So June calls and the talent-laden
If Mattingly is not interested in sounding any alarms himself -- that job is taken -- he is nonetheless hardly in an accommodating mood over the team's 29-28 play.
"What I don't want to do is just accept where we're at," he said. "I like the thought of maybe making sure we're playing with a sense of urgency. That's important to me that we're playing with a sense of urgency, that each game is a game that we need to win and it's not like, `Oh, we'll wait for the second half and then we'll go on a run.' "
Meanwhile, as he waits for that spark, he has to look at the newspaper every day and see the Dodgers slipping further behind San Francisco.
"I don't like it, but at this point I don't think we worry about the Giants, we worry about us," he said. "If we don't start taking care of ourselves and winning the games we're capable of winning. It doesn't matter what everybody else does."
Actually, of course, it does. The Dodgers could go on a tear, but if the Giants are playing almost equally well, they won't be caught.