With all the noise about the $200 million payroll, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is the right man at the top. Mattingly proved himself a stable leader when the Yankee franchise was reality TV.
Face it. The New York Yankees franchise was anything but stable when Mattingly played. Having won back to back World Series in 1977-1978, the Yankees of 1980s became the drama queens of the baseball world.
Don Mattingly was the bright spot of a dismal dialogue that consisted of Billy Martin’s three stints with George Steinbrenner. The pride of the Yankees laid solely on the shoulders of a solid first baseman – Mattingly was the reason Yankee fans stayed true.
Nine different Yankee managers in fourteen years, and Mattingly came out of it on top. Poise, hard-work, and no headlines of conduct gone wild. Mattingly gave solid leadership as a player on a team that desperately needed it.
Honestly, with Steinbrenner and Martin’s public controversy, Steinbrenner calling Dave Winfield “Mr. May”, and the magnanimous ego of Ricky Henderson, how could anyone love the Yankees then? If not for the blue-collar Evansville, Indiana kid, the Yankees may have never had their resurrection in the mid-90s.
When Don Mattingly returned to coach the Yankees in 2004 under manager Joe Torre, things seemed right again. When he came with Torre to Dodger land in 2008, hope rekindled in LA. Mattingly took over for Torre in 2011, and this year, true Blue fans have reason to believe the Dodgers will see their resurrection.
Why not? Leadership makes everyone better. Leadership cares more about the success of the team, than headlines. Look how Mattingly is handling himself in the last year of his contract. He knows it is do-or-die in LA, yet he deflects the drama and focuses on putting the Dodgers in the best place to win.
Just like he did as a player, and just like he saw Torre do as a manager.
This is the year the Dodgers rise to the pinnacle of baseball. They have the pieces in place, and the right man at the top. Go Blue!