Mattingly Is Out, But Is It a Good Call?
October 26, 2015

There are two ways to look at this. Don Mattingly did something no other Dodgers manager has ever done. He took his team to the playoffs three straight seasons. Walter Alston never did that. Tommy Lasorda never did that. Mattingly's predecessor Joe Torre never did that. On the other hand, with a 300-million dollar team payroll, Los Angeles was expected to more than just make the playoffs. They were at least supposed to make it to, if not win, the World Series. Mattingly lost his job this week.

In the weeks ahead, this might be a 'be careful what you wish for' scenario. That is, if you are on the side that thinks he should be gone (I am). Mattingly made some weird decisions, mostly with lineups. You could maybe understand going with an all right-handed batting order against the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, but if your best hitter (Adrian Gonzalez) is left handed, you would think he should play. If you are on the side that Mattingly got a raw deal (I'm not), you can look at management's failed attempt to improve the relief pitching, and using the Oklahoma City shuttle numerous times to alternate between a lousy right-handed hitter (Chris Heisey, 182 average) and a sixth starter when Mat Latos, Alex Wood, or before that Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias, Scott Baker, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Beachy, Joe Weiland, David Huff, Zach Lee, or Ian Thomas were hurt or just weren't getting it done.

Neither the Dodgers nor the exiting skipper would say Mattingly was fired, instead calling it a “mutual parting of the ways.” Donnie Baseball will likely manager again, and it may be as soon as next season. A few other teams have openings, with the loudest rumors having Mattingly go to the Miami Marlins. As for the Dodgers, we've learned quickly that we have no idea how management's collective mind works. Andrew Friedman and company have said that previous managerial experience is not necessary. They have not said whether or not they will commit to hiring from inside the organization.

The list of candidates is longer than the number of fans returning their unused World Series tickets. Those within the organization would include bench coach Tim Wallach, third base coach Ron Roenicke, and farm director Gabe Kapler. Outside? Guys with managerial experience include Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire, and maybe even Dusty Baker. Those with no experience mentioned are Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez, and former Tampa Bay Ray Rocco Baldelli. Uh huh, you read right. Rocco Baldelli.

Now many of those who are happy that Mattingly is gone (meaning me) didn't like him because not only did he make weird moves, but he wasn't a Dodger. Joe Torre wasn't a Dodger either, but Joe Torre was Joe Torre, and that was fine. Wallach may interview elsewhere, but he seems like the best guy. Played for the Dodgers, worked in the farm system, and has paid his dues. Roenicke has managed in Milwaukee, and also played for the Dodgers. There doesn't seem to be much buzz about Davey Lopes, but he managed too, in Philadelphia. If the Dodgers don't hire Wallach, he could be the next Mike Scioscia—the one that got away.

It's a big choice here, and it could be a month or so before the decision is made. New management got rid of the likes of Brandon League and Brian Wilson, and instead gave us Joel Peralta and Juan Nicasio. Hopefully they won't ignore the likes of Tim Wallach and Ron Roenicke, and give us Rocco Baldelli.

We'll be right back: I had to work Friday night, so I recorded Blue Jays-Royals Game Six, and watched it Saturday morning. Because there was a rain delay of about 45 minutes, the recording ran out just as the game was going to the ninth inning. I listened to the end of the game on on the Royals radio network, and within seconds after Kansas City recorded the final out and clinched the American League championship, they went to a commercial break. One of the reasons people watch (and listen to) sports are for moments like this. I know they needed to transition into their postgame show or whatever, but the occasion called for several seconds of just crowd noise. There were over 40-thousand people going crazy at Kauffman Stadium, and it would have been nice to hear some of it.

Oh say, Can you sing?: If you are my age, you probably don't know who Andy Grammer is (I didn't). Major League Baseball announced that he will be singing the national anthem prior to game one of the World Series. If it helps, Grammer is the singer of the pop hit 'Honey I'm Good'. Catchy tune if you check it out on YouTube. At least with the game being on Fox, they didn't pick another American Idol winner.

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