Why give Don Mattingly one more year?
Got a better resolution at this juncture in the game?
We’ve got our first glimpse of Donnie October Baseball, and a 5-5 postseason performance may be the most accurate measurement of what happened.
Did we see a capable pilot able to use all the navigational devices at his disposal during crunch time? Or did we get sense he could have easily steered this into a premature crash-and-burn mission, with the result of watching Clayton Kershaw drag his left arm off the mound keep our hands over our eyes because of the turbulence?
As a new ownership group trying to establish an organizational gameplan for the future, these Guggenheim Dodgers have already proven they’re aggressive in their desire to win. But at this point, they really have no choice but to retain Mattingly if they want to retain what credibility they’ve built.
Can Mattingly justifiably be canned after a season like this one? Only if Stan Kasten and Co. are trying to send a message that these Dodgers are run by quick-triggered, unrealistic hard-ball barons who don’t understand how this sport works.
Mattingly may not have reached a bar set pretty high in the first place, but he’s probably a just boost away from getting his chin above it. Keep pushing on, and he’ll likely get there.
In Mattingly’s three regular seasons, the Dodgers showed improvement by posting 82, then 86, then 92 wins, the last two with the benefit of front-office stability.
From what we gather by those closer to the situation, Mattingly’s greatest asset has been his ability to measurably mesh a roster of massively-paid veterans, heralded rookies, valued bench players and one particular bearded wildman.
He’s not just player-friendly, but having kids old enough to be in this age-range, Mattingly has figured out how to establish boundaries when necessary. Some of that appeared to have been manufactured as a result of his job being in jeopardy in late May. But that all finally seemed to bring together a Dodger clubhouse that’s about as diverse as you’ll find, one that could easily splinter with someone else in charge.
Where Mattingly also scored points is that he never complained about the Ballpark Frank McCourt circus that swirled around him when he was first handed the reins after Joe Torre’s resignation.
Where could he improve?
The in-game, decision-making process needs more fine tuning. He’s constantly opened himself up for first-, second- and third-guessing.
Still wake up in your sleep with that vision of Juan Uribe struggling to lay a bunt down twice before swinging away to hit a game-winning homer?
Maybe that’s where Ned Colletti’s department of general managing starts an off-season search for more viable bench brain trust, no matter how loyal Matting wants to stick by his current staff.
The Dodgers may see now fortunate they were when Torre brought to the dugout and beyond a man of logical strategy and media-savvy personality who could explain it. But he admits his shortcoming was having trouble communicating well with today’s players.
Mattingly may have that last part of it licked, but the other two job requirements have yet to match up. How much time do you give him for that? Will it ever come?
Count the Angels’ Mike Scioscia as the best in the game today mastering those three distinct areas of expertise. Had the former beloved Dodgers catcher been available this offseason, the result in a lapse of judgment by Arte Moreno, this whole Mattingly-stays scenario could have more intrigue.
As long as Adrian Gonzalez can flash Mickey Mouse ears, and Vin Scully refers to Dodger Stadium as the “Magic Castle,” that Los Angeles team of Anaheim will ironically be left out as the ones having the Fantasyland Envy that the Dodgers just experienced.
In the meantime, Mattingly buys more time. Seems that when you’ve got Guggenheim behind you, buying anything is a little easier.
== Since one came out of the stands and suddenly seized the role during a playoff game, does a dancing “Rally Bear” become bearable in the Dodgers’ future marketing plans?
A petition on Change.org already has 111 signatures that endorse “welcoming the Rally Bear as the Dodgers’ official mascot.” The point made that the Dodgers are one of four in the MLB without a mascot.
First, come to grips that’s a good thing.
Second, if the Dodgers were to submit to such a thing, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have something along the lines of a Bi-Polar Bear (defined however way you choose)?