Dec 10, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talks with reporters during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Musings On Mattingly and Hall of Fame Voting

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The Dodgers have almost completed a new deal with manager Don Mattingly, and this may be just the first of at least three contract extensions this winter (Don Mattingly, Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez?) Donnie Baseball will be back in 2014 and beyond. Whether you love him or you question his love of bunting, he did help along the way to the Dodgers epic turnaround in 2013. The Dodgers were so very close to appearing in their first Fall Classic since 1988, and Mattingly’s success while navigating through the plethora of player injuries over the last three seasons earned him more time at the helm.

I still am extremely annoyed at bunting most of the time unless it’s a pitcher, and Mattingly has a lot to learn about running plays, bullpen management, and other nuances of the game. But it’s not like I could do better, and I have to admit that Don’s steadfast attitude back in April and May when the Dodgers were in the dungeon really made me admire his dedication to the team. While I was depression laden with the thought of the Dodgers remaining in the cellar the entire season, Mattingly trudged on and led the Dodgers on their historic run last summer.

Conversely if the Dodgers had chosen to cut Mattingly loose and go with someone else as manager, I wouldn’t be upset about it at all. Yet now that the Dodgers have supported Mattingly, I will too. (Although I won’t stop questioning baseball moves since that’s part of being a fan).

The Dodgers have yet to officially announce Don Mattingly’s expected contract extension. Photos: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Mattingly frustrated me and puzzles me at times, his resolute nature really evens out the egos on this team. I wrote a whole post about Mattingly’s positives, but it’s clear that the Dodgers are standing behind Mattingly and feel he is the man for the job.

While Don Mattingly may not be voted into the Hall of Fame, there are a multitude of worthy candidates this year. I don’t really want to write an argument against PEDs and whether players should be inducted into the Hall of Fame if their name is tarnished with a linkage to PEDs during their career.  I can say that I’m torn on the subject.

Watching Barry Bonds clobber the Dodgers for many years made me awe at his achievements, but there is something small within me that just couldn’t vote him into the Hall of Fame. I realize that there have been many players both from years past and in the present that have been involved with PEDs, but in order to actually weed out every user would be impossible. Like in cycling, doping is prevalent in a lot of professional sports as well as Major League Baseball.  It’s too difficult to determine what exact advantage did the certain banned substance give the athlete. How much edge did each player have may depend on what they took and for how long. Performance results are quite variable.

So while Bonds will most likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I can understand where some voters can go in their thinking who choose not to vote for those candidates with the questionable reputations. I can see both sides as being equally reasonable.

The problem really doesn’t rely on the results which are guaranteed to be inconsistent considering the wide range of opinions on the

Would Barry Bonds be on your ballot? Photo: Ford McClave-USA TODAY Sports

subject of PED usage and the Hall of Fame. No one should feel like they shouldn’t be able to express their opinions through their vote (if they have one) or via their writings. Voting for baseball players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is a very personal choice for many. Like the other baseball awards i.e. Cy Young, the results are completely subjective for the most part. Even if you factor in cold stats, you still have other mitigating factors to weigh. Some may feel that PED usage outweighs one’s baseball statistical accomplishments. I feel it sort of is a wash. Barry Bonds was an amazing baseball player who put up staggering numbers over his career, and while he shouldn’t necessarily be enshrined in the sacred Hall of Fame, his story shouldn’t be forgotten either.

It was an era of big sluggers, and while I can look back and now see the asterisks screaming at me, I still enjoyed those baseball years. I’m sort of glad I don’t have an actual vote in the BBWAA, although I did vote in the IBWAA election. You can see the results here. Barry Bonds was not on my ballot this time. This year was sort of easier to rationalize his exclusion since there were so many commendable candidates on the ballot. Also I have always been a big fan of Mike Mussina.

My IBWAA ballot:

Frank Thomas

Tom Glavine

Jeff Bagwell

Craig Biggio

Mike Mussina

Curt Schilling

Jeff Kent

Tim Raines

Edgar Martinez

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Tags: Don Mattingly Hall Of Fame Ballot Los Angeles Dodgers

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