I remember Opening Day way back in April. I looked at the Dodgers that I adore so much and thought they were strangers. Only 15 of the original team were back. I wasn’t happy. My favorites Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon were gone. Later in the season Juan Uribe would be unceremoniously traded to the Braves who we were actually playing when the transaction took place. Uribe was surprised. We were surprised. And there it started.
A huge shock was the retirement of Nancy Bea, our much loved organist. Earlier in the season, her playing time was reduced. There was an outcry in Facebook and the owners, not being totally stupid, made an announcement that she could stay as long as she wanted. I was suspicious. Nancy’s playing made our stadium much different from others. How many can boast a live organist, a wonderful perk? We have prided ourselves on still having a traditional stadium, one that has changed little, keeping it unique and nostalgic. Most of the stuff occurring during the game including the Stolen Base Challenge, the Kiss Cam, etc are repetitious of other stadiums, but our Nancy Bea was the difference. When she suddenly announced her retirement prior to the end of the regular season, I was, of course, distraught and unhappy. I was sure the owners had something to do with it.
Then Lorenzo Bundy was suddenly taken from third base coach to an ambiguous, coach of the outfield or something weird like that and replaced by Ron Roenicke. Of course everyone was sure it was a foot in the door for him to take Mattingly’s place.
The announcement of Mattingly’s resignation did not come as a surprise to me since there have been cries of “Fire Mattingly” all season. Of course, every season there are cries to fire whoever is the scapegoat. There were rumors that Mattingly could be traded like any baseball player, possibly for nothing. There has really been nothing from the owners about Mattingly’s status until yesterday when they had their press conference which stated absolutely nothing. I know that Donnie will find a position on another team, most probably the Marlins. I will miss Donnie, a wonderful warm person.
We all understand how it goes. You resign saying that it’s time. The bosses say that it was mutual. Then you can leave with your head up and the bosses don’t look like villans. No one looks like the bad guy. The new owners certainly want to keep the fans happy. They always make sure that Magic is in the forefront so we can adore the owners but he rarely was around since he has a finger in every pie. The owners have really not let the fans know what their actual goal is. I believe that they were really not planning on a World Series win this year. If they did, their analytical approach didn’t work. Their failure to obtain an adequate starting pitcher before the trade deadline proved that. The Dodgers showed that when it took days to clinch the Western Division. The lack of good pitching was a glaring flaw all season. Starting pitchers Ryu and McCarthy were on DL early on, both not expected to return to the club this season. Anderson and McCarthy were both acquired knowing that they were both risks since they were injury prone. Matt Latos was the biggest FAILURE of the season, making Mike Bolsinger a mess after sending him down when he was 100 times better than Latos.
Clubhouse morale is tantamount in achieving success. Mattingly is well loved by the team. I have not heard one unhappy word about him by any of the team. There may have been a few disagreements such as those played up by the media, especially the recent tirades by Ethier and Kershaw. Remember, those were during high moments of stress. There have been seasons where the guys did not get along. Trading Uribe was a mistake since he was a leader in the clubhouse and loved by everyone. Analytics does not always work as we were shown this past season. Baseball is emotional. Baseball is mental.
With the resignation of Mattingly came the notice to all the coaches that they could look elsewhere for jobs. Usually when the manager goes, so do the coaches. Expect a totally retooled team including coaches. Can we find better coaches than Davy Lopes, Steve Yaeger, Rick Honeycutt? Time will tell. I’m sad that this will probably influence Zack Greinke in his decision to leave the team. It’s already in the news that he will opt out of his contract. He was a Donnie supporter.
I don’t expect to see Rollins and Kendrick back. I hope they keep AJ although he is 34 years old. They have Austin Barnes in the wings waiting to take over. The only sure things are Adrian and Kershaw.
I’m sad that the cuts are already happening. I am really sad about Donnie. I hope that my team is going in the right direction. Whatever, I will always support them even if I don’t recognize any of them on Opening Day 2016.
Thanks for stopping by. The good news in all of this is that Justin’s surgery was a success. No news on Yaz yet.