A little chin music

Don Mattingly was one of my favorite players when I was younger. How can you have been a Yankees fan in the 1980s and not liked Donnie Baseball? I saw his last regular-season game at Yankee Stadium in 1995, and a couple of weeks later I was there for his very last home game, the epic 15-inning Game 2 of the ALDS against Seattle, won by Jim Leyritz’s walkoff home run.

Mattingly batted .417 in that series, his only taste of October baseball in 13+ major league seasons.

When Joe Torre left as manager of the Yankees after the 2007 season, I was a little disappointed that Mattingly didn’t get the job, even though I wasn’t sure that Mattingly was necessarily the most qualified candidate. And I was disappointed again when he decided to follow Torre out to Los Angeles, as though he was somewhat diminished in my eyes by giving up his Yankee For LifeTM status.

Still, some of this seems rather petty:

And so, after nearly three seasons of managing the Dodgers, Torre decided, at age 70, that this would be his last with the team. He will be replaced by Don Mattingly, who has been the Dodgers’ batting coach since midway through the 2008 season …

In his stints filling in for Torre, Mattingly has done little to inspire confidence.

In spring training, while Torre was in Taiwan, the Dodgers were penalized for handing a lineup card to umpires that did not match the one in their clubhouse. In a July game, after Torre had been ejected, Mattingly went to the mound to talk to Broxton with one out, the bases loaded and the Dodgers clinging to a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning. As he turned to leave, Loney called out to Mattingly, who headed back to the mound. That constituted a second visit, and Broxton had to be replaced. George Sherrill, the subsequent reliever, gave up the winning hit.

As batting coach, Mattingly has presided over a group that is 12th in the N.L. in hits after leading the league last season.

September 18, 2010   Tags: ,