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ST. LOUIS -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball right now but manager Don Mattingly said he came very close to being fired after his team's 30-42 start.
The 52-year-old Mattingly said Tuesday night that Dodgers president Stan Kasten met with him in late May and told him that he would be forced to make a change if the team didn't turn their season around.
You take it personal that your team is not playing well but you understand it's a business. I understand that's the way it is. If the team doesn't play well, the manager usually gets it, and when the team is going good the guys are playing great.” -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly
"Stan was really honest. He didn't want to do anything but he said, 'Donnie, at some point I got to do something,' " Mattingly said. "I understood it. I was fine with that. I understand. At some point you need a change of voice, a different voice. If they're not listening and it's not going good, you got to be make a change just to make a change. You could be doing the best job you could possibly do and it wouldn't make a difference. I get it. I got that."
Mattingly didn't remember when the conversation took place but recalls it happening "when this was rearing its ugly head" and when speculation about his job security was at its height after the Dodgers returned home from a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 22.
"I told him I understood," Mattingly said. "It was good. I didn't mind it because it was honest and he wasn't trying to make me feel better. He was basically telling me the truth. I just understood. I understand baseball."
The Dodgers actually sunk to a season-worst 12 games under .500 on June 21 before turning their season around. Since then, they have won 32 of their last 39 games, the franchise's best 39-game stretch since 1953. They have also won 15 straight road games, the longest winning streak away from home by a National League team since 1957.
Asked if he ever worried about getting fired on his way to the ballpark during the team's early season troubles, Mattingly laughed.
"Other than when my door was locked and I couldn't get in," he said. "I didn't really think of it like that. I really felt like you just got to do your job and keep making decisions and not let any of that get involved with your decision."
Mattingly is obviously not worried about his job these days but said he doesn't hold any grudges for basically being a losing streak away from losing his job two months ago.
"It wasn't that much fun but it's OK," Mattingly said. "Being able to compartmentalize it and not taking it personal. You take it personal that your team is not playing well but you understand it's a business. I understand that's the way it is. If the team doesn't play well, the manager usually gets it, and when the team is going good the guys are playing great."
Mattingly is currently working in the final year of his deal with a 2014 option but said he is not worried about next season right now.
"I'm not worried about any of that right now," Mattingly said. "I'm just worried about winning games. That's not even an issue."