Throughout his time in baseball, Don Mattingly seemed like Mr. Nice guy. When he played for the New York Yankees during the 1980s, he was Mr. Yankee. He was well respected around the league. Rarely did you see him get into fights or be ejected from games.
Since becoming the manager of the Miami Marlins, his reputation has changed. Mattingly’s clean-cut image took a major hit Friday, July 2, when he was ejected from the Miami/Atlanta Braves game after Ronald Acuna Jr was hit again. by a Marlins pitcher.
Ronald Acuna Jr. has a history with the Marlins
The Braves and Marlins already have a complicated history with each other before Ronald Acuna Jr. joined the team back in 2018. But when Acuna became a Brave, it upped the ante.
Acuna is not only one of the best players in baseball, but he probably is one of the brashiest athletes in sports and he makes no apologies for it.
Just like former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who destroyed the New York Mets when he played, Acuna has dominated the Marlins. In his career, Acuna has 20 home runs against the Marlins according to the New York Post, which explains why they hate him so much.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Mattingly more than likely, told pitcher Pablo Lopez to go after Acuna which did not sit well with the Braves.
Lopez and Mattingly were both ejected from the game as expected. And the Miami pitcher didn’t hold back his thoughts about Acuna:
“We all know Acuna is a superstar.”
“We all know the things he does. You also don’t want to put him on base because he’s a guy that can steal 40-50 bases a year.”
“But that was just a poorly executed sinker.” “The ball just ran instead of sinking, and unfortunately hit him, and that’s not what I want.
Acuna has a target on his back
Acuna is fully aware that the Marlins hate him and it doesn’t seem to bother him.
He said in a Twitter post last year after a Marlins game “They hit me because they can’t get me out.” This occurred after Acuna hit a home run and flipped his bat afterwards.
How many times have the Marlins hit Acuna this season already? Five times according to CBS Sports.
That’s the most from any team he has faced this year so far . One of the most infamous plunks on Acuna probably came in 2018 when Marlins pitcher José Ureña went after the then-rookie on the first pitch of the game.
Since then, MLB fans have witnessed full-on hostility between Acuna and the Miami team .
This goes deeper than Acuna
The tension between the clubs goes beyond Acuna, Mattingly has a deep dislike and resentment towards the Braves, too.
The Marlins manager even stated that he believes Braves pitcher Michael Soroka broke Peter O’Brien’s rib on purpose, according to a Tweet from MLB Network Contributor Craig Mish.
Mattingly swears the pitch was not thrown on purpose, but, come on, given the history of the two clubs, many pundits assumed Acuna would get hit at some point. Even Lopez admitted they didn’t want Acuna on base.
Even the umpires know the history of these teams. Tthey didn’t buythe Marlins’ explanation either.
Head umpire Dan Iassogna told ESPN.
“I think if you followed baseball at all, you understand that there’s history between this team and Acuna specifically, but there was no heads up in place, no formal heads up in place for us prior to this game.”
“And understand this is one of the other things that we’re tasked to do is to keep control of the game.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens not only with the rest of the series but the rest of the MLB season