The baseball standings say one thing. The action of the leadership of the team says something very different.
The Dodgers used to be known as ‘classy’. Now they are viewed as just being crass. You can win, but if you don’t win the big one, you don’t belong.
Don Mattingly is gone as manager, parting ways after a week of meetings, following another uncomfortable season for him. The new leadership of the team, from lead investor Mark Walter, to Team President Andrew Friedman, just continue to walk thru that Stadium, sweeping aside people.
The former GM, lots of name players, all the behind the scenes scouts, all their top minor league managers, heck even the organist, and a lead medical guy.
Mattingly is the latest victim in the swath of removals. All he did was win 3-straight divisional titles, with a patch work roster, a poisoned clubhouse, and a series of injuries. His sin was never getting deep into the playoffs, or taking the historic franchise back to the World Series, a place they have not been since 1988, a whole lot of GMs, owners, and managers-ago.
Yes you can say Mattingly may have been weak in game-time on-the-field decisions. Yes you may say the clubhouse was allowed to run rampant with a bunch of independent personalities. But you also have to say the baseball people above him gave him a flawed roster, an injured roster, a roster full of holes too. And I don’t see any of those above him leaving.
You cannot argue this, Mattingly was not responsible for the continued injuries of Yasiel Puig. It was not his fault, starters 3-4-5 in the rotation went down with season ending surgeries. Probably not his fault the league caught up to young centerfielder Joc Pederson, an All Star the first half, a Triple A-player the second half. Don’t think he is to blame for chronic ailments that have befallen Carl Crawford, ever since he stepped off the plane from Boston, or the age and spiral down stats of Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley.
No, the people above him gave him all those players, with their assorted shortcomings.
Mattingly never once whined nor complained about his plight, dating back to the bankruptcy era of owner Frank McCourt, when he somehow held the franchise and clubhouse together. He stayed out of the fray involving Matt Kemp’s lifestyle, and the demands of former GM-Ned Coletti. He challenged, and so she should, the ups and downs of the immature Puig. Just once he questioned whether it was right to have any manager serving on the final year of a contract, since no-one else in baseball was operating that way..
Maybe Donnie Baseball wasn’t Joe Torre, but then again, I didn’t see any World Series appearance for Torre teams, nor Davey Johnson before that.
Mattingly probably took the best approach, that since he was not a Friedman hire, maybe it was time for a change. Friedman gets to pick his own leader now. Mattingly finds his next managerial job in another city.
He did well. I didn’t think he was treated well.
Still waiting for the Dodgers front office execs to hold themselves accountable for what disappointments the franchise seems to be delivering right now.
But that’s baseball now in this new era, with new owners, and new philosophies, big contracts, big TV deals, and big time pressure from one and all.
I doubt we’ll ever again see the long runs of people like Walter Alston or Tom Lasorda. That was baseball from a different era, and Dodgers ownership who had different philosophies, of how to win, develop players, and more importantly, treat people.