This comment by Michael Kay at the Post’s Blog got my attention today:
From everything that I have heard the Yankees are absolutely blown away by how great Don Mattingly has been as the hitting coach, his work ethic and his level of preparedness. I think when Joe Torre leaves, the next manager will be Don Mattingly.
This would be a mistake. When Donnie Mattingly looks into the mirror and asks “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the current most beloved ex-Yankee of them all?” the mirror says back to him: “Duh, it’s you – by a landslide.”
Don’t believe me? Listen to the crowds at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, Old-Timer’s Day, and the post-season when his name is announced during personnel introductions. If you asked Yankees fans born between the years 1975 and 1989 who was their favorite Yankees player, I would bet that 90% of them say “Don Mattingly.”
And, when someone is loved that much by the fans, you should never hire them as a manager – because every manager is hired to be fired – and, someday, if he’s hired for the job, Don Mattingly would have to be fired. When that happens, the fans will go nuts against Yankees management.
If the Yankees thought the feedback that they got from the fans in 1978 over Billy Martin being fired was bad, they haven’t seen anything yet if they hire Donnie and then fire him. The Orioles have never hired Cal Ripken Jr. as manager – even though he is super qualified for the position – for this same reason. You don’t put your “gods” in a position where you then have to strike against them. It’s pretty much common sense.
This is why I would never hire Mattingly to manage the Yankees – even though he probably has the skills for the job.