Tonight's game seems secondary, with the announcement of Don Mattingly taking over for Joe Torre as manager for the Dodgers in 2011.
Here are some notes about the managerial change:
Torre said he thought it was simply time for a change: "It came to a point where I just felt this ball club needed a different voice, a younger voice. There's no one I feel more secure turning it over to than Donnie." The move happened earlier this week, after Torre and Ned Colletti sat down in San Francisco.
Mattingly and Colletti came to an agreement in writing last offseason that whenever Torre stepped down Mattingly would take over. The timeline for this was probably, I'm assuming, last November, because that's when Mattingly turned down an interview requests for both the Nationals and Indians jobs.
Mattingly's deal is a three-year pact, through the 2013 season.
The Dodgers were in communication with Major League Baseball all along about the succession plan, and they were able to sidestep the requirement, for their second straight managerial hire, MLB's rule requiring the interviewing of minority candidates. Colletti said the Dodgers were given blessing based on their practices in the past.
Mattingly, though he has never managed at any level, feels good about his new job, saying "I have a confidence in myself. There's a feeling inside that says I'm ready."
Torre has no plans to manage again, though he also didn't want to rule out anything either, subscribing to the never-say-never philosophy.
Tim Wallach handled the situation with expected class. "I haven't thought so much about this job. I've been trying to get experience managing. It wasn't necessarily to lead me to manage the Dodgers; it was to get me experience to have an opportunity to manage. It's up to other people to decide whether or not I have enough experience to manage [in the major leagues]."
Wallach hasn't talked with the organization about a specific spot on the major league coaching staff, but he would be open to it. "I don't like talking about it right now, because there are six other coaches in there," Wallach said, preferring to wait until the season is over to discuss such things.
When asked if he would actively pursue a major league managing job, Wallach replied, "Hopefully, somebody actively pursues me." He said the only other time he has been in this position the Padres contacted him, in 2005, for an interview rather than the other way around.
Ned Colletti has talked with Wallach a lot this season, mostly regarding players and transactions to and from Albuquerque, but Wallach said Colletti made it clear that he "doesn't want to lose me."
Wallach is open to any role, saying he wouldn't rule out anything. But, when asked, Wallach did note that he would prefer to coach in the majors than manage in the minors. "I'd like to be in the big leagues again," he noted.
Larry Bowa was asked if he ever wanted to manage again, and he steadfastly shook his head no, saying "I see things that upset me, about how you play the game, I just shake my head," noting that as a coach he can say his piece and move on.
I thought it was interesting that in the course of a few minutes Bowa said both "I don't know what I want to do" when asked about next season, and also, later, "I guarantee you I'll be coaching again somewhere."
Mattingly doesn't even know who his coaching staff will be, saying it was something he would discuss with Colletti in the next few weeks. Mattingly did say he would welcome a veteran bench coach.
One person who won't be coaching, or managing, is Andre Ethier. Ethier was asked about the difference in Torre and Mattingly as a manager and the subject of Ethier managing one day came up. "I will never manage, I won't even coach," Ethier said, smiling, "All I think about is playing."
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket