MEts and dodger fans - John Cordes/Icon Sportswire
MEts and dodger fans – John Cordes/Icon Sportswire

On Oct. 15, the Los Angeles Dodgers lost Game 5 of the National League Division Series to the New York Mets.

In a press conference after the game, then-Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was asked how his team’s postseason departure would affect his job.

“Seriously, you’re asking me that now?” Mattingly said.

That was the last press conference Mattingly gave as a Dodger. One week later, he was out of a job.

In an announcement from the team that seemed to be crafted by a Hollywood public relations firm, Mattingly and the front office mutually agreed to part ways. Underlying the hollow phrase were years of mistrust and disappointment between Mattingly and the front office, especially considering that Mattingly failed to capitalize on his team’s three consecutive National League West division titles.

Don Mattingly - Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire
Don Mattingly – Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire

But Mattingly’s unemployment didn’t last long.

On Oct. 29, Molly Knight of Vice Sports reported that Mattingly had been hired to be the Miami Marlins’ eighth manager since 2010. The Marlins finished last in the National League East, a less-than-encouraging prospect to any future manager.

Let’s remember this is the same franchise that loves to wheel and deal players whenever it chooses. The “fire sales” after the team’s World Series titles in 1997 and 2003 should signal to Mattingly that he could lose his talented players at any moment.

Mattingly has a tough job managing in Miami, but the Dodgers have it even worse.

The Dodgers have purged themselves of most players and executives hired in the Frank McCourt era, ditching sluggers like Matt Kemp and Yankee transplants like Mattingly.

Now it’s on the owners and sabermetric-friendly front office to do what’s right for this team. Should they select a manager with no big-league experience? Should they opt for a safe choice? No one really knows.

There is no easy treatment to alleviate the cancer plaguing the Dodgers’ team. Three consecutive division titles have yielded three heartbreaking postseason departures at the hands of the Cardinals and Mets.

Though the Dodgers’ postseason losses in 2013 and 2014 were understandable, given the team’s inclination to fold under pressure against the Cardinals, this year’s loss felt different.

By most accounts, the Dodgers should not have lost to the Mets. The team had the best two starting pitchers in baseball and several home-run sluggers, but it wasn’t enough to the Mets from outplaying them throughout the series.

Seeing Howie Kendrick put a golf-like swing on Jeurys Familia’s pitch out-of-the-zone to end Game 5 was painful. Seeing Familia happily jump up and down was even worse.

Deconstructing the Dodgers’ 2015 season feels like revisiting a painful, traumatic memory that has been buried in one’s subconscious. Though it hurts to dig, it’s also therapeutic. Looking at the past with clear eyes that have run out of tears yields tremendous insight.

The best thing to come out of the 2015 season is that most of the team’s starters are locked up in contracts.

But it’s obvious the Dodgers will need to sign a few starting pitchers to complement Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood. Most likely, Greinke will make himself available on the free agent market, a prospect that has all Dodger fans covering their eyes.

Other players might leave, and there’s always the chance Andre Ethier could be plucked and swapped for a few relievers.

Despite their winning pedigree, the Dodgers are a flawed and broken team. That’s what this season really showed. Beneath the lipstick, eyeliner and hair spray, the Dodgers are a ruddy-faced, self-doubting teenager lost on the late-night streets of Hollywood.

Winning isn’t easy, and sustained success is a rare feat claimed only recently by the San Francisco Giants, who won three World Series title in six seasons. But the Dodgers are different. Mediocrity is not what the fans deserve.

This offseason should be a time of self-reflection and meditation. The team needs to find the essence it lost years ago. After all, the 2016 season is shaping up to be the Vin Scully’s last.

To the Dodgers front office: Do us a favor, and give Vin a World Series win.

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Shane Newell
Shane Newell is pursuing his M.A. degree in data journalism at Stanford University. A lifelong Dodgers fan, Shane grew up in Southern California and graduated from Long Beach State with a B.A. in journalism in 2015. As an undergraduate, Shane worked at The Daily 49er and interned for two summers at the Orange County Register, where he specialized in local news and features. He wants to be a data journalist who tell stories through numbers and graphics. He hopes to use his data and multimedia skills to work on investigative projects across the world.