Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mattingly Turns Down Manager Job?

As the Yankees universe impatiently awaits the snail-like developments regarding Joe Torre and his future with the New York Yankees, Ed Price of the Newark Star Ledger breaks a big story. Contrary to a widespread belief that Don Mattingly would replace Torre next season, Price reports that Donnie Baseball feels he is not yet ready to take the helm.
Yankees bench coach Don Mattingly has told a member of the Steinbrenner family he does not feel ready for the manager's job and is uncomfortable with replacing Joe Torre, according to a friend of Mattingly.

The friend, who requested anonymity because the situation is unresolved, said he spoke directly with the former Yankees great in recent days. Mattingly's stance could open the door for the Yankees to bring back Torre for a 13th season because he was the leading candidate for the job.

Should the unnamed source's statements hold water, this would inject a fascinating twist into an already juicy subplot. Though Mattingly is renowned as an extremely sharp baseball mind and meticulously prepared, it is not unreasonable that he's simply unready for the leap. Mattingly spent one year as bench coach after three years as New York's hitting coach.

Perhaps another season under Torre's tutelage would best serve the franchise. Regardless of what decision the Yankee summit arrives at, Mattingly's reluctance and reported refusal to step over the body of Torre's Bomber legacy speaks volumes about the type of human-being he is. Such honor, respect and selflessness is rare in the world today, and nearly extinct in the sports arena.

Mattingly deciding to put the managerial job on the back-burner must also stem from the undeniable fact that following Joe Torre as Yankee skipper is an unenviable task. As Mattingly put it last week, "It's like following John Wooden."

There is also the possibility that a Yankees source leaked such a notion to protect the integrity of George Steinbrenner, who responded to an 0-2 ALDS hole by putting Joe Torre under fire. Should the Yankees essentially retract Big Stein's proclamation that an ALDS loss meant an end to the Torre era, it would also signal a drastic change in the Yankees power structure.

The NY Post story which painted Hank and Hal Steinbrenner as the successors to their father's throne is significant. However, the article never implied George was incapacitated or no longer an intricate part of the Yankees decision-making.

Having Torre come back as manager after Steinbrenner declared his body would lead outsiders to believe he no longer wields the power baseball fans have grown accustomed to. This, of course, would give credence to my conspiracy theory, with Mattingly's sensitivity being the scapegoat. Then again, Steinbrenner could reestablish himself as the turtleneck-toting, collusion-conspiring owner we all know and love by uttering two words: Call Girardi.

Hat tip to Ben K.


Ted said...

So Torre might live to fight another day....damn.

Tony Gicas said...

Mattingly's agent denied the report, but that does not mean the report is false. We all knew some sort of denial would emerge after the story broke, but that does not necessarily deem the article to be without merit. If Mattingly himself discussed the matter with the media, that might change my mind.

Hank said...

Torre's record is among the best ever. Donnie was a great hitter, everyone says he has a great baseball mind, and he seems like a nice fella, but he has little experience in such a position. NY is a tough place to manage. If he really turned it down, I think he lacks confidence. The safe bet is to stick with Torre, who also may turn it down, my bet is that Giraldi will be there next year. Joe AND Don will be gone.