Don Mattingly was done in South Florida after seven seasons

Don Mattingly was done in South Florida after seven seasons

He wore a pure white Marlins jersey and sat on a podium between team boss David Samson and general manager Mike Hill, an introductory press conference that was full of hope and featured buzzwords like “continuity” and “talented.”

Don Mattingly, a former player with a scheming pedigree whose Yankee career was under the watchful eye of owner George Steinbrenner, was smiling when he took the helm in Miami in late 2015. By no means inexperienced in the department, he left the Dodgers franchise after five Seasons in Hollywood, where he collected 446-363 records.

โ€œThe consensus about baseball is that this is a talented club. It is a talented young club with a good core, and the opportunity to grow and develop,โ€ Mattingly said when introduced as the new Marlins captain. โ€œFor me, that was the single biggest thing, and the reason I was so intrigued to come to Miami, it was the opportunity to develop, the opportunity to teach, the opportunity to help shape a young club and build towards winning and winning the championship.โ€

โ€œIt looks, hears and smells like continuity. There is less showing,โ€ Samson said of Mattingly.

But after seven seasons in South Florida it saw a lot of turmoil – it survived a transfer of ownership and a new front office system; the tragic death of an ace jug; Countless player deals; Low salaries and presiding over all but one winning season – Mattingly is out in Miami after the ’22 campaign ends.

Mattingly, 61, announced on Sunday that he will not return next year and his contract expires at the end of the current season. The Marlins are 30-plus games behind the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves are entering on Wednesday night and will miss the post-season. second.

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“I always think you’re trying to follow your heart,” Mattingly said Sunday. “And that’s what I do. Honestly, you know what’s inside you and you try to be intentional and let things run, and you just follow your heart and know when it’s the right thing.”

Mattingly arrived when Jeffrey Luria was still owned by the team, but despite inheriting a roster that included outsiders Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich and bowler Jose Fernandez, the league’s rising star, the Marlins finished third in the NL East in 2016. The season with the club ended in tragedy when Fernandez was killed in a boat crash, along with two other passengers.

The following year, Loria eventually sold the team to a royal group that included one of the former greatest Yankees, Derek Jeter, and businessman Bruce Sherman. But after Jeter was named CEO, one of his first orders of business was front-office reform, including dismissing Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez. Samson was also expelled.

Then, Jeter replaced stars Stanton Weilish and Marcel Ozuna after season 17, leaving Mattingley to content himself with a no-name roster in 2018. Stanton just won the 2017 National League Player of the Year with 59 players. The Marlins finished last in the division and won only 63 games. In 2019, things didn’t get much better, and Mattingly led the team to a pitiful 57 total victories.

The Marlins changed things under Mattingly during the 2020 season which cut the pandemic short, and secured an accessory berth. It was the first post-season appearance by the franchise since 2003, but despite the team notching a thrilling Wild Card Series win over the Cubs, the Braves swept Miami in the Division Series.

There will be no momentum leading into 2021, as the Marlins and Mattingley are back, to finish fourth in the Pacific Northeast. Before the start of this season, Jeter shocked the baseball world by stepping down as CEO. And Sunday, it was Mattingly’s turn to make his bid for Miami, as the club advances toward another second .500 season.

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There will be no more Donnie baseball in Miami, but that doesn’t mean Mattingly is done with management. At the very least, his exit pronouncements seemed to leave the door open for another chapter in the lair.

“I feel great,” Mattingly said. “My brain still works. Some of you might argue differently sometimes, but I feel like my brain is working really well. My body feels great, and I still feel great. So, I don’t want to sit on the couch, that’s for sure.”

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