Mattingly A Silent Beneficiary

Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Players

You can read about the latest round in the Frank McCourt mess herethere and everywhere. All I’ll say about it is that the piling on aspect in the interests of comedy is blatant; it would be pretty ironic if it was the McCourt ownership that brought a legal end to baseball’s rule of decree—which has always been contrary to the U.S. Constitution—as to which individual can own what franchise.

Like something out of a “trailer park meets a school for idiot savants”, the creditor story in which Manny Ramirez is the Dodgers biggest note-holder is funny because it’s Manny and the McCourts. (You can decide which belongs in the trailer park; which in the school.) Without knowing much in depth about contracts, I’d be stunned if the long-term payouts aren’t standard operating procedure for the $100+ million deals that are signed with every organization.

The court fight will resolve itself eventually. In a bizarre context, it’s good for Dodgers personnel—specifically manager Don Mattingly.

Much like the daily derangement that went on for much of his time as a member of the Steinbrenner Yankees, Mattingly has a reasonable argument to toss his hands up in the air and say, “hey, don’t blame me” if things go horribly wrong for the Dodgers this season.

Mattingly gets secondary benefit from the turmoil surrounding the Dodgers because he can’t be overtly blamed for whatever goes wrong even if it’s his fault.

For years, that was the case with the Yankees—Mattingly as innocent bystander—as the 1980s were a constant influx of players, managers, coaches, GMs and never-ending controversy.

Was Mattingly at fault for the continued failures of those Yankees teams? He was the best player in baseball between 1984 and 1987; considering his production, there was little he could’ve done personally to launch his teams into the playoffs.

It was an accident of circumstance that Mattingly’s greatness was wasted in an Ernie Banks sort of way because his teams either weren’t good enough or couldn’t overcome the meddling of the owner; that he injured his back and was a shadow of his former self when the club turned the corner under Buck Showalter and Gene Michael (while Steinbrenner was suspended) and watched team won 4 World Series in 5 years immediately following his retirement at 34 only punctuated the sadness.

While the “don’t blame me” argument is applicable and has been used with other clubs and other sports (Joe Girardi being fired by Jeffrey Loria; anyone who’s worked for Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis in his walking undead years), it doesn’t assuage blame for what’s gone wrong.

But it sure can get the individual another opportunity he might not have received otherwise.

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