After the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly was hired to take over the Miami Marlins for the 2016 season, he did two things that defied not just logic, but sanity:
- He told his cadre of millionaire ball players, from the youngest rookies to the ten-plus year grizzled veterans, that they were prohibited from making their own personal grooming decisions. Rather, he, the dictator of southern Florida, would make those decisions for them, and that included above all else, his royal edict that no Marlins’ player DARE show up to work sporting any version whatsoever of facial hair – yes, in the second decade of the 21st century, Common Era, the non-manager would be imposing his will on his players, outlawing beards, mustaches and too long sideburns.
- He rescued major league baseball’s all-time greatest ….. cheater, one Barry Bonds, from the scrap-heap of unemployable former players, and handed him the keys to the Marlins offense, making his their batting coach.
The surly Bonds, never a friend of the third estate nor to the fans, who outside of San
Francisco were not so in awe as to fail to see his true persona, was a legion of problems waiting to happen, and while no international incidents occurred between Bonds, the press, the fans, or the players, his expertise and ability to coach others came out just about as expected, with the Marlins team batting improving from the second worst in the National League in 2015 to the third worst in the league in 2016. The team batting average under Bonds improved a glorious three points, from 2015′s .260 to .263 in 2016. What a job he did!
And, he was aptly rewarded, as the empty uniform non-manager, in a rare fit of improved sanity, waited until Bonds’ one and only season as the Marlins’ batting coach to end before firing his steroid-riddled ass.
In writing about the Bonds’ hire back on Dec. 5, 2015, I opined that Bonds’ overriding purpose in taking the gig was to show the world what a great and honest (HA!) guy he really is, in a effort to change popular belief, giving him an actual shot at being voted into the baseball Hall of Fame, a result that should never, ever happen. Whether his increased visibility as a major league coach played a part or not is up to speculation, but Bonds’ 2017 HOF votes, though still a far ways off from entry into the Hall, increased to 238 and 53.8% over his 2016 195 votes and 44.3%.
And now, amazingly, mattingly has seen the light concerning his other disgusting 2016 act, finally realizing that dictator that he may be or that he may aspire to be, he could not tell PEOPLE, grown adults, multi-millionaires, like Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and sure-fire future Hall-of-Famer Ichiro Suzuki that they could sport neither beard nor mustache while playing for his team.
Yes, just yesterday, addressing his minions who were first to report to 2017 spring training, the empty uniform non-manager announced that his year-long ban on facial hair
was now rescinded. Thank goodness, Giancarlo Stanton must now think, as he no longer will have to divert any of the $325 M he is being paid by the Marlins to the cost of those daily shaves.
When I wrote about the imposition of the empty uniform non-manger’s facial hair ban just short of one year ago – Feb. 22, 2016 – I was as critical of the Marlins’ players as I was of mattingly, writing that the players needed to show some backbone:
“… the players… have knuckled under, with barely a whimper. What are these guys made of, papier mache and goose spit? Show some backbone, fellows, don’t just say “Yes, Sir, May I Have Another?…
“Say something, do something, don’t just accept this kind of crap!
“Clearly Marlins’ players are impotent, effete cowards who deserve nothing better than last place in the NL East.”
The question now is has mattingly learned from this experience, or will he agin try to exercise the powers of a dictator to show his players, again, just who is boss?