Big free-agent signings. New faces in the coaching department. New stadium renovations. Everything is set for the Dodgers to win this year. Not just win ballgames, but the division and ultimately, a World Series.
The ones that are the most responsible for a team’s success are the players.
But behind every good ball club, there is a good, smart, well-fitted manager. Those are the ones that tell the players what to do, when to do them, and how to do them. They make the calls.
That is why every ball club that has high expectations like the Dodgers do need to have the right manager in charge. For the Blue Crew, is Don Mattingly the right one? Can he lead this ball club back to the promise-land of being World Champions?
So far, it has not been smooth sailings for Mattingly as he has failed to reach the playoffs in his first two seasons as Dodgers manager. With not much success so far as the head honcho, Mattingly has now reached the final year of his contract. That makes it a make-it or break-it type of year for Mattingly this season.
If the Dodgers have an excellent season, making a deep playoff run, you can expect for him to continue his tenure in Los Angeles for years to come. If it goes the other way around, expect for Mattingly to get the boot when the off-season approaches.
Mattingly knows he has to lead this ball club to victories because the pressure on him has risen a large amount. It already has been out there that the Dodgers’ ownership wants a trip to the Fall Classic this season. Anything short of that, and they will label 2013 as a bust. Alongside that, Mattingly’s request for his 2014 option to be picked up was rejected, putting a chip on his shoulder.
Expectations are high for this manager, not just from the ownership’s point of view, but for the fan’s point of view as well. Some fans say he is the right manager. Some say he is not. Some say he could lead the Dodgers back to championship glory, while others disagree. If anybody on this year’s Dodger team is under any pressure, Mattingly would be under the most.
For 2013, Mattingly needs to show that he can be capable of becoming a championship-caliber manager. After already having a great baseball career as a player, his next focus must be on becoming a great manager. Of course, he did learn from one of the best, if not the best manager of all-time in Joe Torre. Surely, Mattingly has used some lessons from Torre. Now, it is time for him to use all that he has learned, and take the Dodgers back to the top.