By Sweeny Murti
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Random thoughts as you get set to watch the World Series:
– Check out the managers in this year’s Fall Classic. Mike Matheny, with no previous managerial experience is in the postseason for the second straight year and in his first World Series. John Farrell, who some thought was overmatched in Toronto, is most likely Manager of the Year and the favorite to win it all.
It shows you that the day-to-day grumbling about managers isn’t that big a deal in the end. As I have maintained for a long time, in baseball it’s about the horses, not the jockeys.
The manager has to know the game, and they all do. Managing people — players, media and fans — is what separates the good ones from the bad ones.
– I still feed bad for Don Mattingly, so close to his first World Series appearance but unable to cash in.
Mattingly finds himself in an awkward position now, basically begging for a vote of confidence from Dodgers ownership. They failed to reward his regular-season performance and after the NLCS defeat fired his bench coach, Trey Hillman.
I spoke to someone close to the situation this week and was told Mattingly isn’t worried about his future in baseball, confident that he can get a job anywhere. But he doesn’t want to turn his lame-duck status into a season-long distraction for his team. And depending on who his new bench coach is, the manager-in-waiting will be hovering over him in 2014.
Mattingly made some controversial decisions in the NLCS against St. Louis, and they didn’t work out. I saw them more as signs of a manager trying to jump-start a struggling offense than signs of a manager in over his head.
Maybe there is a soft spot for Mattingly in New York that doesn’t exist in LA. But another chance to get to the World Series is all he’s looking for, and he certainly deserves another chance with the Dodgers.
– After Jim Leyland stepped down, Joe Girardi moved up the ladder again in terms of seniority. Only Mike Scioscia, Ron Gardenhire, Joe Maddon and Bruce Bochy have managed their current teams longer than Girardi, who has led the Yankees since 2008. And with a new four-year contract, there is a good chance Girardi outlasts one or two those guys, if not more.
While the Yankees certainly are in a bit of upheaval, they have stability at the top. Yes, there is transition, but by bringing back Girardi the Yankees ownership is telling you that he is part of the solution, not the problem.
Brian Cashman’s contract is up next year, so what the Yankees do this winter and — more importantly — next season will help shape his future. So far, Hal Steinbrenner has shown disappointment in results but not dissatisfaction with Cashman’s ability. How he feels 12 months from now … well, that’s something that will have a greater affect on that stability at the top.
– If you missed it this week, take a look at my survey around baseball to help determine what Robinson Cano will end up signing for. There seems a good chance that, as the best player on the free agent market, he can get $200 million or more. But the results I got say otherwise.
– The annual Joe Torre Safe at Home Gala is November 14th. This year’s honoree is Jorge Posada. Info here.
And for those in the Hudson Valley, join me, Don Mattingly and Shane Spencer at the Pitch for Kids Hot Stove event in Hopewell Junction on November 14th. Info here.
– Try to enjoy the World Series, even if your team is not in it. Because these are the last baseball games of the year. Nothing counts again until the weather gets cold, then colder, and then warm again.
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