Mattingly Mid-Spring Missteps

Todd BoldizsarAnalyst IMarch 13, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers poses during photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 21, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The day Don Mattingly decided to come over to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization following Joe Torre, Hollywood rejoiced, and immediately embraced him. Mattingly, a Hall of Famer with a stellar Major League career as a player, has already had a couple slip ups as an interim manager.

In the short week that Torre and the Dodgers split squad have been in Taiwan stretching the ties of American Baseball overseas, Mattingly has been at the helm of the Glendale squad.

So far, the experience has been marked by shutout losses, an error in the line-up card that resulted in an Andre Eithier eventual game-winning home run, and a slip up of the tongue that came at a completely undesirable time.

It's still Spring Training for a couple more weeks and already Dodgers fans and baseball followers are hearing about Mattingly possibly being the heir to the Torre throne at the end of the season.

Now, the Dodgers made it to the National League Championship series last season, only to repeat their performance from last season in the same sequence of games. In a time when the team and its coaching staff should be focusing on reaching the World Series and squashing the futility trend, Mattingly is already discussing matters that affect team morale.

Fans and players alike don't need to hear that their beloved manager is already thinking about retiring before the season has even started.

Mattingly is a living legend, but right now he is still the Assistant Manager, and should know his role to the media; he shouldn't tell the microphone, tape recorder-carrying big mouths that what the team needs to work on is to survive down the stretch.

When a question about a future coaching job is thrown at him like a Zito curve-ball, he fouls it off with jargon and lingo that makes him look good until he gets the pitch he needs.

All elementary analogies aside, this is was the wrong time to be hearing and reading through the media wires that the Dodgers Assistant Manager is already scheming for more power, and that the leader of the team is already having thoughts about leaving, plain and simple.

As long as the Dodgers stay healthy this season, and as long as the fifth starter position is covered, it looks like we can expect another productive year, and a possible playoff run—provided these off-the-field distractions are kept to a minimum.

Are you listening, Manny?