Dodger Stadium was the place to be last October. The Dodgers won the most games of any team in the National League. With a charismatic braided slugger and a Hall of Fame-worthy manager leading the way, the Dodgers delighted sellout crowds and finished three victories shy of the World Series.
Dodger Stadium will sit empty this October. While the owners battle in divorce court over who owns the Dodgers, the team has lost more games than it has won. The crowds are gone. So is the slugger, Manny Ramirez. Now, so is the manager.
Joe Torre announced Friday that he would not return as the Dodgers’ manager, the latest turn in this soap opera of a baseball season. Torre’s decision had been widely expected since spring training, when he walked away from negotiations for a contract extension, but the timing left the Dodgers in an awkward position.
In Torre’s place, the team announced, Don Mattingly will step in after this season. Mattingly, who has never managed at any level, has been the Dodgers’ batting coach since the middle of 2008, Torre’s first season with the team. Before that, Mattingly was part of Torre’s championship staff with the New York Yankees.
“It has been an incredible honor to wear the Dodger uniform and I will always carry with me some very special memories from the past three seasons,” Torre, 70, said in a statement released by the team. “This was not a decision I took lightly, but I believe it’s the right one for myself and my family and I’m truly thrilled that Donnie will be the one leading the Dodgers.”
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