Searching for Walter Alston
Thank you Mayor Frank for that rousing introduction. And Mayor Sam, it is a pleasure to be back in your company.
For my first post, I have decided to discuss the Dodgers managerial search. I know a little something about this, because after all, I hired the two greatest managers in Dodgers history - Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda.
Some people tell me the Dodgers should have kept Jim Tracy, but I disagree. You've got to hire your own guy, and if Tracy wasn't going to follow Paul DePodesta's orders, then he needed to go. It reminds me of 1953, when Chuck Dressen managed the Dodgers and won 105 games. He lost the World Series to the Yankees in six games, but had the gall to demand a three-year contract, instead of my customary one-year contract. So I let him go, and signed an unknown in Walter Alston to 23 consecutive one-year contracts.
I like Paul DePodesta. He's open to new ideas, and utilizes the latest innovations and technologies to run the team. That's the Dodger way. But I have no idea what he's doing with this managerial search. First he brings in Alan Trammell, who did absolutely nothing of note as a manager in Detroit or as a coach previously in San Diego. Sure, he was a great shortstop, but he's a Tiger! Dodgers don't hire Tigers, let alone ones with as undistinguished of a record as him.
Then he brings in Ron Wotus. I don't care how well his interview went, he's a Giant. It's one thing to hire a Tiger, but it's entirely another matter to hire a Giant. He also called in Terry Pendleton, who still brings back painful memories of the 1991 NL West race, and Pendleton cancels on him anyways. I don't know much about Torey Lovullo, but it's rare for a guy to jump from AA to managing in the show.
So that leaves those with Dodger ties, and that's what I like. I'm glad DePodesta has figured out we need a Dodger to run the Dodgers. But none of these guys are that intriguing. I love what Orel Hershiser did in 1988. Some say ex-pitchers don't make great managers, but Tommy Lasorda did pretty well. Still, I fail to see what Orel Hershiser did as Texas' pitching coach to put him in demand as a manager. Jerry Royster is a great guy, but he did nothing in Milwaukee and his career minor league managerial record is under .500.
So I guess the guy I like best is Terry Collins. He had some decent seasons in Houston and Anaheim. He may have been fired twice, but so were Joe Torre and Phil Garner, and they learned from their mistakes. Collins learned under Tommy Lasorda, and there was a time when he was supposed to be his successor. Collins knows the organization well, having worked the last few years as farm director, and more importantly, he gets along with DePodesta. Collins would be an acceptable hire, and I've always felt managers were somewhat replacable.
But is this really the best we can do? Isn't there someone else out there who can adhere to the Dodger way, and work with DePodesta? Couldn't we find someone with a track record of success? And do we have to force these candidates to wait two weeks through a hurricane before they can get an answer?
Personally, I want Bobby Valentine. He's got Dodger roots, he learned under Lasorda, and he's absolutely brilliant. How many middle-aged men can learn to speak Japanese? And he's got the Chibe Lotte Marines in the Japanese World Series. He's the only person to manage in both the MLB and Japanese World Series. Some of his ideas are a little unorthodox, but DePodesta should welcome Valentine's new ideas, and encourage debate.
This is a team that's hired more PR reps in two years than I hired managers in 30 years. Give them something easier to spin, DePo, and hire Bobby V.