We first heard rumblings yesterday, and now we’re hearing this: Ramona Shelburne reports that the Dodgers have reached an extension agreement with Don Mattingly. No terms yet, though I can’t say I really care about manager salaries. (It reportedly will be for three seasons.)
This is probably going to ignite the same conversations we had months ago about whether Mattingly is the manager best equipped to run this team, but it really doesn’t matter. You almost never see a manager who takes his team to the League Championship Series not return — unless it’s Grady Little, and then the Dodgers just hire him anyway, and then… — and after Mattingly survived that bizarre post-season press conference with assertions that he “would be back,” his return has been something like a given anyway.
If anything, I’m just glad that it appears to be settled. No matter how you feel about Mattingly, nothing would have been worse than letting him go into the season as a lame duck again, after how that worked out last year. And even if you can’t stand him as a manager — I’m hardly defending the bunts — we weren’t getting Manny Acta, and there’s no evidence Tim Wallach would be better. At least there’s this: he’s not Dusty Baker.
Yes, Ken Gurnick submitted a train wreck of a Hall of Fame ballot today. Yes, Twitter is up in arms over it, and rightfully so — I can’t defend the thought process that says Greg Maddux (and Mariano Rivera) shouldn’t get a vote, or that Jack Morris is somehow a guy who didn’t pitch “during the steroid era,” or that Gurnick’s radio explanation today makes any sense whatsoever. It’s probably the worst ballot I’ve seen so far, and that’s saying something when Murray Chass exists. But I have corresponded with Gurnick in the past, and I know people who speak of him with the utmost respect. I generally am satisfied with the job he does as the MLB.com beat writer, knowing the constraints that come with being employed by the league, and so I’m really not interested in bashing him as a person. I’m noting it here simply because it’s the story of the day.
If anything, it further convinces me that the Hall of Fame process is irreparably, irretrievably broken.