Opportunities to hire great managerial talents come along infrequently, and to miss such an opportunity can reduce an organization, no matter how much money they have to spend, to little more than an embarrassing also ran. For the second time in less than two decades, the Dodgers have missed such an opportunity, and just like the first time, they will suffer again for years because of it.
Following the retirement of Tommy Lasorda, the Dodgers hired managerial neophyte Bill Russell, who took the job with no prior managerial experience, and he lasted two seasons. He was replaced by interim manager Glenn Hoffman, to be followed by veteran manager Davey Johnson, who failed to do as well as either Russell or Hoffman. Jim Tracy, Grady Little, Joe Torre, and finally the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly followed, with
|occasional, short-lived post season play, and nary a glimpse of a World Series. Throughout the first several of those years, they had lurking in the organization an astute, up-and-coming managerial talent, but for one strained reason or another, including that of "Lack of Experience", that guy, Mike Scioscia, was passed over. Finally, following the 1999 season, at a point when it appeared the organization was behind Johnson and no change was likely in the near future. Scioscia looked elsewhere.||
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After the 1999 season, the Angels had a streak of 14 consecutive years without a playoff appearance, and they had never won a World Series. They jumped at the chance to hire Scioscia away from the Dodgers’, and he took over as the Angels manager for the 2000 season, and in 2002 they were World Champs. Scioscia has had his team in the post season fray most every season, and despite some recent disappointments, including this past season when after compiling the major leagues best regular season won-lost record, made an early playoff exit, Scioscia remains one of baseball’s most respected, and now longest-tenured, managers, and represents a significant missed opportunity on the part of the Dodgers.
Now, history has, in a manner of speaking, repeated itself. When new head of baseball operations Andrew Friedman took over, one of the first things he had to say was that mattingly would be the Dodgers’ manager now and in the future, despite what had to be at least an inkling that his guy from Tampa Bay, and also one of thew few elite managers in the game, Joe Maddon, could become available, if not right now, likely in a year. Well, it did happen “right now”, and the results represent a second significant missed opportunity for the Dodgers and for their fans.
|In Chicago, Theo Epstein & the Cubs did what needed to be done, despite earlier assurances made to Rick Renteria that he would remain the Cubs' manager. On Sep 26, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com quoted Epstein as saying that Renteria "absolutely" would return to manage the Cubs in 2015.|
Now, barely a month later, Maddon is all but signed and sealed, and Renteria is out, and so are the Dodgers.
Epstein knew what was best for his young, improving team. It is a serious disappointment and revelation about Friedman that conversely, he did not know what was best for his team, and that he did not act. And so, another rare managerial talent has been ignored by the Dodgers, and they continue to be stuck with the empty uniform non-manager, and perhaps years more of post-season disappointment, as the best team money can buy will have lots of talent, may win several more division titles, but will never see a championship with that guy as manager.