Thursday, July 22, 2010

Girardi right pick over Mattingly for Yankees job

Many New York Yankees fans, including myself, would have loved seeing Don Mattingly take over for Joe Torre as Yankees manager. But Brian Cashman & Co made the right call choosing Joe Girardi over the legendary Yankees first baseman. Mattingly is clearly not ready for the hot seat.

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost a game to a key rival this week, partly because of Mattingly's inexperience. Even though Major League Baseball said the umpires blew the call in forcing Mattingly (subbing for the ejected Torre) to take out All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton for visiting the mound twice, the fact that this even became an issue shows that Donnie Baseball hasn't completely translated his great skills as a player to the role of manager.

Had George Steinbrenner still been the Boss, fully in control of the team, Mattingly would probably have gotten the call to replace Torre. It would have been too difficult for the Boss to resist putting a New York icon in that job; in part to blunt the criticism over the way the Yankees treated Torre as he walked out the door. But it would have been a mistake and unfair to Mattingly to put the neophyte in that job, with only a few years of coaching under his belt. And it would have been terribly painful to watch Mattingly under the extreme pressure of the New York media, which would have been all over him if he made that kind of mistake with the Bronx Bombers.

Girardi's decision making sometimes leaves me frustrated and bewildered. He can also become touchy, sometimes even hostile, when being questioned about his moves by the media. But he certainly isn't a novice. He won a Manager of the Year award with the Florida Marlins before getting the Yankees job. Girardi suffered the indignity of breaking the Yankees consecutive playoff appearance streak before winning it all last year. That might not have happened with Mattingly in the manager’s chair.

That doesn’t mean Mattingly won’t eventually be a good, maybe even great manager. He certainly has a wealth of baseball knowledge. He’s just going to need a lot of seasoning to get him ready for the job.

Thanks to Googie man via en.Wikipedia for the photo.

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