Today I write while I am mourning the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to the New York Mets last night in game five of the NLDS (National League Division Series). It was a winner take all game. The loser goes home and their season is over while the winner moves to the next round. One thing that is common in any sport is the bashing of players or coaches when they do not do very well or make good decisions. That is currently a situation surrounding the Dodgers and specifically the manager, Don Mattingly.
Mattingly played first base for the New York Yankees from 1982 to 1995. He was affectionately known as Donnie Baseball and was a great player. He was a coach on the Yankees from 1997 until 2007. Mattingly started managing the Dodgers in 2011 after being on the coaching staff since 2008. During these years he has not done terrible, but the Dodgers don’t have much to show for it. His winning percentage over those years is 55.1% with a record of 446-363 (wins-losses). In his first two seasons of managing, the Dodgers did not make the playoffs. They finished third and second, respectively, in our division. The last three years, including this year, the Dodgers have not only made the playoffs, but they have won the National League West Division. This is the first time in Dodgers history that they have been division champions three years in a row. Unfortunately, in all three season we have not been able to win the World Series, let alone make it there. In 2013, they made it to the second round of the playoffs. In 2014 and 2015, they were eliminated in the first round. This has caused some frustration among fans because everyone knows that the Dodgers have a great team and one that can certainly win the World Series, but every year is another letdown.
Going into the playoffs there was talk that it was do or die for Mattingly. If the Dodgers did not win the World Series, then he may no longer have a job. It is a tough thing to think about, but there have been many frustrations this season. When it comes to managing his team, Mattingly has not made the best decisions sometimes. He has put the wrong pitcher in, made some crazy lineup, among many other things. All of these are decisions that he made. It is not my place to judge him or judge these decisions. Only he knows what he was thinking and why he did what he did. In Luke 6:37 it says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” These words carry heavy meaning. Yes, I am upset that the Dodgers’ season is over and that bad decisions were made (by more people than just Mattingly), but I remind myself that they are human just like me. They make mistakes just like me. Grace and forgiveness can go a long way and it hurts me to see mean and hateful comments toward other humans. Grace, mercy, and forgiveness have all been given to us, so why don’t we give them to others?