ESPN.com’s Buster Olney told Steve Mason and John Ireland on 710-AM yesterday that “If they [the Dodgers] lose to the Braves in the first round or lose to the Cardinals in the first round, I don’t think he’s going to survive. … I think they would make a change.”
Olney’s prediction was based on how the industry regards Mattingly’s in-game managerial skill. In that area, there’s room for criticism (or improvement, depending on how you choose to look at it). But room enough to not renew Mattingly’s contract?
FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi wrote that Matt Kemp is “sure” that Mattingly will be back next year no matter what.
Our Tom Hoffarth caught up with team president Stan Kasten recently, and Kasten offered nothing less than a ringing endorsement. “I’m glad we had him at the start, glad we had him in the middle and glad we have him now,” Kasten said of Mattingly.
If there is any uncertainty about Mattingly’s future with the Dodgers, Kasten and general manager Ned Colletti are doing a tremendous job hiding it from players and the media. While that might be the case, it seems unlikely that Mattingly’s job depends on the Dodgers’ playoff performance.
There are skills that go into the manager’s job that can’t be taught. As Morosi points out, Mattingly’s background as a player and his demeanor as a person fit almost perfectly with the Dodgers’ roster as currently constructed. That will count for a lot. In-game strategy? That can be learned in time, and it’s reasonable to guess the Dodgers will give Mattingly more time.
Some bullet points for a New Zealand Dominion Day:
• Olney reported this morning that Robinson Cano is seeking a 10-year, $305 million contract. That would take him to age 41 (Cano turns 31 on Oct. 22). Kasten has said in the past that he is not in favor of these kinds of free agent deals, and there’s probably a team other than the Dodgers that would open its doors to Cano. The Yankees would like him to stay put.
• Yesterday’s brawl between the Braves and the Brewers wasn’t crazier than the Dodgers-Dbacks brawl from May, but seriously: When was the last time a catcher physically stopped a home run hitter from touching home plate?
• Todd Helton received a horse before Wednesday’s game at Coors Field. The retiring first baseman will finish his career in Los Angeles when the Rockies visit this weekend. Dodger fans, keep it classy whenever referring to the horse he rode in on.
• Many retrospectives of the 1992 National League Championship Series between the Pirates and Braves are being written these days. If you were too young to remember the series and how it ended, read this piece about Sid Bream and Stan Belinda, and flash forward to their remarkable present.
• Sprinkle Me by E-40 and The Click properly demonstrates the proper way to rhyme “Floyd Terrace” with “esophagus” — that is, by changing “esophagus” to “esophagarus.”