Let’s be clear about this: Kevin Kennedy isn’t campaigning to be the next manager of the Dodgers.
Can you blame him?
The perspective he has on a day-to-day basis looking down from the Dodgers press box and then having to hop on the air to co-host the “DodgerTalk” postgame show on KLAC-AM 570 gives him an extremely viable platform to do such an underhanded thing.
Instead, imbedded as a media member for the last 14 years since his two stints managing in Texas and Boston came and went, Kennedy isn’t going to grab the mike after watching another Dodgers implosion and say, “If I were managing this team, I would . . .”
“I’m not about that, and I’m not about to go there,” Kennedy said this afternoon. “I have my own ideas and feelings about what a lot of managers do, and I can talk about that sometimes (on his Sirius XM radio show). But on Dodger Talk, if a fan calls in, I let him say his piece and then try to explain it from the other side.
“They’re just seeing the end result, not all the other things that go on before and after, the meeting with the coaches. This is all about teaching the fans. That’s what I love about this job.”
The Taft High of Woodland Hills grad (and former teammate of Robin Yount) who was a catcher and manager in the Dodgers’ organization, spent 1993-’94 as the skipper for the Rangers, and ’95-’96 with the Red Sox before ESPN and Fox hired him as a game and studio analyst. That run has led to serving as the DodgerTalk post-game voice the last two seasons when the team’s radio rights moved from KABC to KLAC, teaming with David Vassegh and Jorge Jarrin for every game, home and road.
Kennedy’s approach to the role is far from being a Mattingly apologist, although he admits “I’m pulling for him” to keep his managerial spot despite speculation all this week that Thursday would be the day that management pulled the plug.
“I don’t like to speculate about someone’s job – there’s only 30 of them out there and it’s tough when the media starts throwing things out there,” said Kennedy, the longtime Tarzana resident who turns 59 on Sunday. “When I went through all that, I couldn’t get caught up in it because it would have got me away from the business I was tending to.”
Kennedy is clear that he’s not against ever managing again, it would just have to be the right situation with the right people at the right time. Even when he was under a Fox contract, he’d get approached for his interest but usually say that he would rather honor his current deal than jump back onto the field.
National media refocused on the Dodgers and their bloated payroll at this point in the season seems to be taking more liberty with sourced conjecture about Mattingly’s future as the Dodgers squirm to outlast Houston and Miami for fewest wins to date.
USA Today national columnist Bob Nightingale suggested the Dodgers “invoke the mercy rule” and fire Mattingly. The Mattingly Watch will likely continue when FoxSports.com national writer Ken Rosenthal, whose sources several times said Mattingly would be fired on today’s off day, visits Dodger Stadium for Saturday’s Fox regional telecast (4 p.m., Channel 11) of their game against St. Louis, with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on the call.
“The media (in L.A.) is much more fair than in other places, but I also believe people in the national media who don’t cover the team on a day to day basis can be the best evaluators,” said Kennedy, who has been in that position before at Fox.
“You can’t just pick up a story, see the team’s looking bad and put two and two together. It’s not that simple. There’s a lot more to it. I know from my experiences as a manager, you can also say things in the media to try to light a fire, not to try to get yourself fired, as some have tried to position it with Don.
“I think I can relate to a lot of things Don is going through. I’ve walked in those shoes. I feel he’s a strong guy and he’s handing it as well as he can. But I can empathize with him.”