It has long been a Joe Torre tradition to let his players manage and coach the final game of the regular season, assuming of course the game didn’t mean anything to the standings. It began with John Stearns and the Mets in 1977, when Torre wanted to give Stearns, his catcher who often questioned Torre’s decisions as manager, an opportunity to see what the game was like from a different perspective.
Brad Ausmus and Nomar Garciaparra have handled the managerial duties for the Dodgers on the final day of the season in the last two seasons. This year, being Torre’s final season as Dodger manager, Torre said he might manage the final game, October 3 against Arizona, but that he was leaning toward giving his players the reins in the first two games of that final series.
“It’s nice to give young players a feel for what the game is about, other than playing it themselves,” Torre said, noting that it wouldn’t necessarily be all veterans on the coaching staff. During Torre’s meeting with reporters in the dugout before today’s game, both James Loney and Rafael Furcal walked by at different times, and Torre mentioned both as potential managers for that final weekend.
“I get permission from the other manager and the umpires. We’re not trying to make a mockery of this,” said Torre, “If they have any objection, I don’t do it.” Torre also said Ausmus, who is retiring, would catch the final game of the season.
Torre also noted that, once the season is over, Don Mattingly will conduct all the exit interviews with the players, since Mattingly will take over as manager beginning in 2011.
The Dodgers are off tomorrow, but begin a three-game series at home against the Padres. Here are the pitching matchups for that series:
Tuesday: Chad Billingsley vs. Clayton Richard
Wednesday: Ted Lilly vs. TIm Stauffer
Thursday: Hiroki Kuroda vs. TBA