I don’t want to say they are forgotten, but it seems like the once-proud franchise of the Dodgers has made headlines for all the wrong reasons this year.
With the McCourt divorce battle, which I think will play out for another year or two, plus the postseason failures the last few seasons, Los Angeles finds itself with a head-coaching change.
Former major leaguer and current Dodger hitting coach Don Mattingly was named the successor to Joe Torre in a press conference Friday in front of the omnipresent media circus.
Not being a Dodger fan and all, I honestly believe Mattingly is one of the best things that could happen to the franchise.
When a new manager is hired, the thought process that occurs in people’s minds is a hard one to dissect. People may be optimistic about their team’s future or they may be in the corner crying because it’s the same ol’, same ol’.
Sometimes it may be both sentiments attacking the fans, but bottom line is, coaching changes always create a stir, a vortex of praises, frustrations and anxiety.
One negative is that Mattingly has never managed baseball at any level.
Mattingly, nicknamed “Donnie Baseball,” provides the Dodgers with the needed stability to advance as a franchise that is used to winning, not losing.
There are many reasons Mattingly is a good fit to lead the Boys in Blue.
1. Mattingly has been mentored by one of the best managers in the game, Torre. Torre has given Mattingly the foundation necessary to succeed at any level. I go back to the fact that Mattingly doesn’t have any managerial experience, but he has paid his dues by traveling in Torre’s shadow.
For a manager who has been to the playoffs every season for the past 15 years and earned four World Series crowns and hundreds of wins, Torre knows how to win. I’m sure Mattingly hasn’t been passive about this fact.
There have been numerous experienced managers who ultimately failed in the big leagues, like Kansas City’s Trey Hillman and Baltimore’s Dave Trembley. Some succeed in a big way without any managerial experience, like Chicago’s Ozzie Guillen. Guillen won a World Series championship in 2005 his second year. Managerial experience is important but not necessary.
2. Mattingly knows how to play the game and play it well. He had a Major League career that expanded over 10 years with numerous accolades to his name. Mattingly is known as a player who had an incredible work ethic. He would outwork those around him.
3. Mattingly has a chip on his shoulder. I don’t know if this is just me, but Mattingly is the most famous New York Yankee to never have played in a World Series. This actually infuriates me because he was such a talented and hard-working player, and he never got a ring. Those Yankees were horrible, but it’s not his fault. Him not getting a ring will inconspicuously play a role in how he will lead the team. He will try to do whatever it takes to win and that fire will surely rub onto his players.
4. The Dodgers desperately need continuity and consistency. The team will not benefit from changing managers and owners every once in a while whenever there’s chaos. The team hasn’t had a consistent manager since the days of Tommy Lasorda, who lasted two decades with the team. Mattingly, coming in after Torre’s three-year stay, will provide a smooth transition and allow progress to finally occur.
Mattingly has his critics, and it’s easy to start pointing out what’s bad rather than what’s good. The point is, Mattingly still has to get on the diamond as manager and run his team as he sees fit.