It’s no secret that Don Mattingly has endured a lot this season as he was games away from being fired to now being considered a favorite for NL Manager of the Year.
The Dodgers were 30-42, 9.5 games behind first place Arizona and falling increasingly short of preseason expectations. While the turnaround has been nothing short of spectacular, Mattingly has seen his hot seat cool with every Dodgers win.
However, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times spoke to controlling owner Mark Walter about the chances Mattingly is back next season:
Neither General Manager Ned Colletti nor controlling owner Mark Walter said he believed the dismissal of Mattingly ever had been imminent. Walter, in fact, went so far as to say he expected Mattingly would be the Dodgers’ manager next year. “I can’t imagine he’s not,” Walter said.
Mattingly was very up front about all the rumors surrounding his imminent firing and always said he appreciated president Stan Kasten and general manager Ned Colletti were brutally honest with him.
The Dodgers are now 76-53 and there are new expectations now: win the World Series. The Dodgers still hold an option on Mattingly for next season, but given the turnaround, it’d be a shocker if he wasn’t back.
With a 9.5 game lead in the NL West and with the team now setting its sights on the best record in all of baseball, ace Clayton Kershaw talked about his manager:
It isn’t easy when your team is not playing well and you hear all these rumors flying around. He didn’t let it affect his demeanor toward us. He was the exact same guy every day. He kept a positive attitude. Nothing changed from him, personality-wise. That was important for us.
While Mattingly had one foot out the door, his managing style didn’t change and he’s put the Dodgers in a position for a World Series for the first time in several years.
In case you missed it, be sure to find out more about Vin Scully’s return next season!