DENVER -- Don Mattingly said goodbye to Frank McCourt Saturday when the outgoing owner of the Dodgers made a final pass through the clubhouse area.
"He just said goodbye," Mattingly said. "He seemed kind of down, really. Things obviously worked out financially, but didn't turn out for what he came for. In the end, you want to win a championship."
McCourt gave Mattingly the chance to manage, three years after the Yankees legend was passed over by his former club, which hired Joe Girardi. Now Mattingly, in his second season, has the Dodgers in first place.
Asked if he was glad the club was on the road with the $2.15 billion sale about to be completed, Mattingly for the umpteenth time insisted that the off-field drama hasn't impacted his club on the field.
"They've been pretty good so far with all of it," he said. "It shouldn't have that much effect on us. I've been saying it all along. But the biggest thing for us [with the sale] is the energy from the fans. They've been energetic and have turned out. The fact that we've played well is important, too, but there's been positive energy this year."
Mattingly has said that one noticeable negative last year with the ownership drama was the lack of leadership at the top.
"You're a player and you say, you're just playing, oh, they're the owners, we've got to do it down here. But there is a force up above, I think -- you know the players, the manager, the general manager -- that says, we're going here. And that's the ownership," he said over the winter. "And that's the one thing I really felt like the first time I really had an understanding of that force that I think that ownership causes, because it's a driving force that says we're going here. This is our mission. This is how we're going to get there. You guys are entrusted to make that happen, but this is where we're going. ...
"I know there was a lot of trouble with everything that was going on, and Mr. McCourt didn't want to be a distraction by being down in the clubhouse or any of that type of thing. And he had a lot to deal with, obviously, and obviously it's still going on. But I think that's what we missed last year more than anything is that driving force that says we're going here as an organization.
"You feel like there has to be -- there's something that's pushing the ship. And that's what I felt like we missed last year ... that push that says we're going here. We're going to keep making decisions, we're going to keep moving in that direction."