When the Guggenheim group purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers it infused a breath of fresh air into the franchise and fan base.
The deep-pocketed bunch vowed to spare no expense in restoring the Dodgers brand on and off the field, and the ownership group included Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, who’s revered throughout Los Angeles.
That’s not to say there haven’t been bumps along the way. Public perception of on-field issues often boiled down to a dysfunctional roster and/or manager Don Mattingly’s coaching acumen. Mattingly was in place when Guggenheim assumed control of the Dodgers and it’s widely believed the fifth-year manager has developed a strong relationship with controlling owner Mark Walter.
Shortly after watching the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship, a team he co-owns like the Dodgers, Peter Guber was asked by Bill Shaikin of the LA Times if Mattingly’s job is in jeopardy should the Dodgers not win a World Series this season:
I can’t answer that question, either for the Dodgers or for myself,” Guber said. “It’s not just where the Dodgers end up in the standings.”
The notion was prompted by the Warriors firing Mark Jackson after the 2014 NBA season despite the team increasing its win total each season. Guber then elaborated somewhat, touching on the Dodgers’ improved farm system and unforeseen circumstances that can derail a season:
With all the analytics, it’s still an art form as well as a craft,” Guber said. “Just speaking out of a corner of my mouth, this organization has a lot of terrific prospects in the farm system. You know that means it has a bright future. You also know the organization here is committed to winning, and to success at the highest level. You also know they have the capital to do it, and have shown it. All the pieces are in position. But, if you could do it by the numbers, you’d just line up all those numbers at the beginning of the season and say you had picked a winner.”
When the Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations it immediately led to speculation he’d want to hire his own manager. The thought was further fueled when Joe Maddon abruptly resigned from his post as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Friedman continuously backed Mattingly, however the thought of Maddon joining his former boss in Los Angeles never died down until the skipper officially joined the Chicago Cubs. Both Friedman and Mattingly have spoken glowingly of their relationship.
The head of the Dodgers’ front office recently deflected some of the blame for the club’s struggles, saying everyone involved from the front office to the roster owns responsibility.