LOS ANGELES -- After news of Major League Baseball's takeover of the Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt, general manager Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly gathered players and reminded the team in an afternoon clubhouse meeting that they still had a game, and a season, to play.
In fact, both cited the World Series run of last year's Texas Rangers as evidence that the season remains very much alive.
"I told them, look, this doesn't affect you guys," Colletti said. "It's your responsibility to play hard, to concentrate and to focus on what you're doing. I'm sure Major League Baseball isn't trying to hurt the franchise or derail the Dodgers. They certainly didn't derail Texas."
Mattingly echoed his boss, citing specifics.
"I watched the Texas situation last year, see them get Cliff Lee, [Bengie] Molina, [Jorge] Cantu," he said. "They were acquiring players."
Colletti said he had not spoken to McCourt or anyone from MLB, not even new MLB officials Joe Torre, his former manager, or Kim Ng, his former assistant GM. He said he didn't know how the changes would impact the baseball operations department. He conceded that he had considered the possibility that MLB might take over the club, but was caught by surprise when it actually happened and the emails started flying.
"I try to deal with what I have control over," he said. "This is beyond me. It's certainly a historic day. I don't claim to know everything. I assume people that make these decisions know far more than I do."
Colletti declined to say whether he felt any financial issues in building this year's roster, which came in at about $100 million.
Mattingly stressed to his players that they still have a job to do.
"I was surprised, but honestly, it shouldn't affect us at all," he said. "It's my understanding there's really no change for us, for what I'm trying to do and what we're trying to do as a ballclub. Someone will oversee operations, but I don't know what that means. It stays exactly the same is the way I look at it. I've got to perform and we've got to perform.
"Things happen in our lives every day and we've got to go out and play. This is part of doing what we do. We've got to perform. Fans pay to see us play and want to see us win, that's our job."
Mattingly said the current situation doesn't change the stature of the franchise.
"Obviously, it's a great franchise and you don't want to see anything bad happen to it," he said. "It's a great franchise and it's going to be a great franchise. No question. And we have an obligation to make sure we carry forward in respect for the game, to give people what they come for and honor the game. That's our side of it, the field side of it."
The events hit catcher Rod Barajas, who grew up in Los Angeles, harder than most.
"It's definitely disappointing," he said. "For me, it's the best franchise in all of sports. Growing up in L.A., for this to happen, it's tough. You don't want see this team go through drama. But it's not going to affect us as players. We've still got to go out there. They didn't change the team, the manager, the field staff. It's the same situation baseball-wise. It's tough on the management side, but as players, it doesn't affect us and it won't be an issue in the clubhouse."
Outfielder Tony Gwynn was with the Padres, whose owner was going through a divorce not unlike McCourt.
"It didn't really affect the players. We'd get the news from you guys," he said. "The difference there was that because of the divorce, they were trying to cut payroll and names were mentioned for trades. Anytime that happens it has an effect in the clubhouse. That hasn't happened here. The only distraction has been answering questions."
"There have been distractions last few years and we have to find a way to put it aside," said right fielder Andre Ethier. "It's unfortunate."
Center fielder Matt Kemp said he wasn't worried about the change affecting his play.
"All I'm worried about is driving in runs, stealing bases and helping the team win," he said. "This is definitely a great franchise. Things happen. It's not going to be a distraction. We're going to continue to play baseball. Frank is a good guy. Got nothing bad to say about him."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.