It’s a baseball truism that managers are hired to be fired. (Sort of like newspaper columnists.) You can be everyone’s absolute darling one season and on the curb handing out résumés the next that read, "Won two historic World Series" (see: Terry Francona).
Which brings us to Don Mattingly, entering his second season at the helm as Dodgers manager.
All things — and expectations — considered, Mattingly had a strong debut. For someone who had never managed at any level, who was operating under a circus ownership and with a less-than-overpowering roster, he silenced critics with an even hand. His straightforward, open approach won over players, if not the media.
Wrote The Times’ Bill Plaschke on Monday: "All the stories about a guy who couldn't fill out a lineup card or visit a mound have disappeared under a surprise season in which he nurtured the Cy Young Award winner, the true MVP, a plus-.500 record, and 25 wins in the Dodgers' last 35 games."
Mattingly, however, is in a difficult spot. He was hired by Frank McCourt, who is scheduled to select a new team owner by April 1. And new owners like to have their people in place. You know, so they can get the credit if the team wins and not the predecessor.