The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Mattingly’s job to lose and he won’t lose it

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Oct 25, 2007 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Based on a few conversations this morning, the Yankees have yet to select their manager. Brian Cashman and his crew could bring their recommendation to the Tampa Trio this afternoon.

This is what we’re picking up:

Joe Girardi was fantastic in his interview. He was well-organized and was able to articulate exactly how he would go about his business. Everybody was impressed.

But Don Mattingly was able to distance himself from Joe Torre with some ideas of his own and expressed very clearly how much he wanted the job and the qualities he would bring to it. All were left believing he would be a good leader. The “I played for Billy Martin” stuff was gold.

Tony Pena has a lot of energy and people love him. The Yankees very much want him around. But it would be a stunning upset if he were selected.

My sense is that Mattingly was the favorite going in and would have had to botch up the interview to not get the job. He certainly did not. If anything, he improved his stock. That Hank Steinbrenner spoke glowingly about him yesterday should tell you something.

Remember, at heart the Tampa Trio are football guys. They look at baseball with a football mentality and they want a manager to be a great leader of men. George Steinbrenner literally coached football as a younger man and when Hank spoke on the conference call last week he couldn’t wait to mention Vince Lombardi and Bill Belichick.

This is why they will choose Mattingly. They will see him as a “true Yankee” and the person who can inspire the troops to get them beyond the first round of the playoffs.

It’s total nonsense, I think. Baseball is nothing like football. But that is how Steinbrenner has always thought and it seems clear that Hank feels the same way. Hal Steinbrenner, the rational one, will go with what his dad and brother think. He’s the business guy, Hank is the baseball guy.

Now it’s possible Cashman could come in that room and say, “Listen, we all love Donnie but we need Girardi.” But Cashman hasn’t lasted this long as the GM by not knowing his bosses.

Besides, can the Yankees really run Joe Torre and Don Mattingly out of town in the span of a week? Might as well take away Yogi Berra’s parking spot and paint over the monuments.

I’ll say this, I don’t think they can screw it up. Girardi or Mattingly would be a good choice. I think Mattingly would handle the fans/media/external pressure stuff better than Girardi but that is only my personal sense based on being around Don for two years.

There is no chance – none whatsoever – that Girardi or Mattingly would stay as bench coach. Why would the Yankees want that? You would be creating a huge problem for the manager. As soon as the team lost three in a row the speculation would start.

So that is my evaluation. Mattingly as manager with Pena or Larry Bowa as the bench coach.




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