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Don Mattingly was pretty close to being fired in late May

Aug 7, 2013, 9:14 AM EDT

mattingly getty Getty Images

When the Dodgers hit their nadir in late May, people thought it was only a matter of time before Don Mattingly would be fired. The Dodgers poo-pooed that talk, saying that such speculation was unfounded and that Mattingly was safe and secure.  He is secure now thanks to the Dodgers going on an absolute tear over the past two months, but it turns out that, yeah, he was almost chucked aside.

Here’s Bill Plunkett reporting:

Dodgers mgr Don Mattingly might have been a lot closer to being fired than anyone realized at the time. Mattingly said today that Dodgers CEO/president Stan Kasten came to him “around” the time of the Dodgers’ series in Milwaukee in late May — when speculation about Mattingly’s job security was at its height.  “Stan said, ‘I don’t want to do something but if things keep going like this I’m going to have to,'” Mattingly said today. “I understand. You can’t just let things keep going. Sometimes you need to change the voice.”

Lesson 1: even front offices realize that even if managers aren’t making all the difference one way or the other that you sometimes change the manager simply because people expect changes to be made. Lesson 2: never believe what front office people say about a manager’s security.

  1. jfk69 - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Thank G Mattingly can still hit. That saved his job.

  2. imnotyourbuddyguy - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    He needs to grow back the Stache if he’s going to beat Freddie for NL MotY

  3. mattjg - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    If he had been fired, I wonder if there would have been another big league managerial job available for him this offseason or if he would have had to pay his dues in the minors or as a bench coach or base coach for a few years before getting another shot. Now he’ll probably be named manager of the year. It’s funny how much blame and credit a guy who only affects a team’s final record by a game or two gets.

    • paperlions - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      …and how little the talking heads seem to realize this as they continually sing the praises of said managers. If the Dodgers had fired him, the team likely would have turned things around just like they did without the firing, only the narrative would have been about the huge effect the new manager had…has there been any narrative about Mattingly doing anything to turn things around? I haven’t seen one, but then, I don’t watch SC or baseball tonight (I have tried, but there is far too much nonsense to stick with either show).

      • agelardi - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        I’m sure the talking heads do realize this but then they would need something else to talk about.

  4. buffal0sportsfan - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    All hail Donny Baseball!!

  5. jfk69 - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    I bet Jeter can’t do that.

  6. yahmule - Aug 7, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    He sucks.

  7. scatterbrian - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    There’s a bunch of talk about Mattingly being Manager of the Year, but has he really done anything differently since he was nearly fired? Kind of silly if simply getting your SS back and calling up a stud prospect constitutes any sort of improvement in managerial skills.

  8. psunick - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    I remember Bob Nightenale (sp?) practically guaranteeing Mattingly would be fired when the Dodgers returned home from a May road trip.
    Just goes to show: sports reporting is not legitimate news reporting. It’s ratings-driven entertainment, with no interest in conveying the truth.
    Go back to last week, and read the columns about “impending trades” in baseball, if you don’t believe that.

    • scatterbrian - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      The things you mention involve rumor and conjecture. Just because one of these things is reported and does not happen doesn’t make it bad reporting. As you say, Nightengale “practically guaranteed” it, and if you read above, it sounds like Mattingly was very nearly fired, or at the very least was at the end of his rope.

  9. 13arod - Aug 7, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Puig saved his job big time

  10. jfk69 - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Can a manager make things better..Maybe
    Can a manager make things worse…You bettcha..Just ask Bobby Valentine

  11. jimsjam33 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Dodger pitching has gone wacko ! The best in baseball from a bunch of bums who looked like they were finished . ( Save Kershaw and Grienke ) Oh yes , Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig unbelievable . I haven’t watched Dodger baseball in a long time , but now I can’t wait to see the team . It’s pretty exciting around LA right now . Thanks Magic !

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