Nice guys finish last. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Whether Don Mattingly is actually a nice guy or not, he is about to take the fall for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ dismal start to the 2013 season.
Mattingly is from my hometown of Evansville, Indiana. While that doesn’t necessarily qualify a guy as being nice, I hung out with him once in his restaurant back home during his playing career, and he sure seemed like a great guy.
He has never done anything publicly to dispel that, and his public persona is that of a down-to-Earth, honest and like-able guy. He is also well-respected around the league by his peers and players. This is well documented.
So why is it rumored, now more heavily than ever, that Mattingly is about to be shown the door at Dodger Stadium?
That’s because the new owners spent a boatload of money on a roster of players that are either hurt or playing terribly and as a result, the team is in last place. Plus, the skipper, who was brought into this league and learned from the great George Steinbrenner who despised losing, is starting to voice his opinion about some of his team’s play.
This is not Mattingly’s fault, and it doesn’t make him insubordinate, but we will be lead to believe that it is — at least through the actions of upper management. ‘We just felt like it was time for a change and yada, yada, yada …’ the Dodger blue ties will tell us.
Unfortunately, nice guy points don’t weigh much against cold hard cash theses days. Mattingly is in the final year of his three-year contract and has yet to take the Dodgers into the post season. Granted, this year was his first legitimate shot, but it looks like he won’t even get to the All-Star break.
L.A. was swept this past weekend by the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta is one of the best teams in the NL right now. Still, a win or two out of a three-game series is not unreasonable to ask of your $220 million team.
The Dodgers are in Wisconsin to take on the ailing Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Unless there is a miracle, and Clayton Kershaw dominating again will not count as one, Mattingly could be in for a pink slip when the blue crew returns to L.A.