Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier

Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier

There seems to be a breakdown of communication between Andre Ethier and Don Mattingly. And I think I know why. In fact, it’s quite similar to certain situations I have found myself in at times.

Ethier, whose birthday is April 10, is an Aries: The ram, a fire sign, ruling planet Mars. Mattingly, born April 20, is a Taurus (on the cusp, but still a Taurus): The bull, an earth sign, ruling planet Venus.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly

These two astrological signs are nearly diametrically opposed personality-wise. The Ram pushes, and the Bull stands his ground, stubbornly. Fire is bright and hard to control, earth is grounded and solid. Mars and Venus, well, those two are as different as male and female. See what I mean, exact opposites.

It is very tough for an emotional, talented Aries to be subject to a pragmatic, stoical Taurus’ methods. First of all, no one will ever be as hard on an Aries as he will be on himself. “Underneath the strong, independent surface may lie insecurity,” writes Zodiac Signs Astrology.  “This is due to the intense drive to succeed, and Aries put too much pressure on themselves, thus resulting in self-doubt. However, the natural optimism and enthusiasm overtakes this, and the underlying insecurity may never be known to others.”

Tauruses can’t fathom the seeming incongruity of this arrogance/insecurity dichotomy. According to Skyscript they have “a very simplistic mental outlook that translates everything into that which is solid, reliable and practical — and therefore real — and that which is not.” They just can’t understand the emotional volatility inherent in Aries, and when involved in a relationship, they strive to bring Aries back down to earth. That can be both good and bad. The Taurus can feel like he’s helping Aries to focus on what’s real, and the Aries can feel like he’s being smothered and tamed.

In today’s L.A. Times, there is an article about how Mattingly benched Ethier because he thought he was underperforming. It’s a classic Aries-Taurus conflict.

“At the end of the 2011 season,” Dylan Hernandez writes, “Mattingly estimated that Ethier squandered 100 at-bats because of his inability to control his temper. Asked if that remained a problem with the two-time All-Star, Mattingly replied, ‘Yeah, at times.’ ”

What Mattingly doesn’t get — just simply doesn’t get — is that Ethier’s temper is part of his mental and physical makeup. For the most part, it isn’t something he can ever totally control. And it is the thing that drives him to do better.

“Obviously,” Hernandez quotes Ethier as saying, “when things are going bad, I’m trying even harder to figure out how to make things go right.”

Ethier’s passion and emotional investment in the game are inherent traits that make him an exciting player. Mattingly’s pragmatism prohibits him from appreciating that it’s not simple to control emotions as he thinks it should be.

Sometimes, being confronted with a Taurus’ criticism can spark a rebelliousness in an Aries that will push them to achieve the sublime. Other times, a heaping of dirt will only extinguish the fire.