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Is Tim Wallach sounding reminiscent of Mike Scioscia in Dodgers' managerial plans?

March 11, 2010 |  7:08 am
Tim Tim Wallach, manager. Has a nice ring. Seems like a natural fit.

And though he’d had a taste of managing for a season with the Angels’ Single-A team in San Bernardino in 2001, managing the Dodgers' Triple-A team in Albuquerque last season only cemented how he felt about managing.

"I love it," Wallach said. "I just love being able to basically run a baseball game. I love the relationships with the players. They’re all different, they’re all important every day. Just the whole thing I love. I love the whole spectrum of what I have to do."

Tim Wallach, Dodgers manager. Has a pretty nice ring too. But the fit? Someone else is already being sized up for the job.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said during the team’s pre-spring community caravan that a "succession was in place" when Joe Torre stepped down as manager.

It was understood to be hitting coach Don Mattingly, and on Wednesday, in his first game as split-squad manager while Torre is in Taiwan for a three-game series, Mattingly confirmed that the Dodgers spoke to him in the offseason about being Torre’s successor.
Mattingly has never managed. Wallach, who led Albuquerque to the playoffs last season and was named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year, will return to the helm of the Isotopes this season.

Does any of this sound familiar? Echoes of Mike Scioscia, perhaps?

When Tommy Lasorda finally stepped down, the Dodgers named coach Bill Russell to succeed him in 1997. Scioscia was a bench coach. When Russell was ousted in the middle of the ’98 season, Glenn Hoffman was named manager. When Hoffman was fired at the end of the season, Davey Johnson took over.

Scioscia, who in 1999 managed at Albuquerque, was passed over one time too many, resigned and then went onto become one of baseball’s finest managers for the Angels.

Wallach certainly has ambitions to manage at the major league level.

"Sure, I’d love to," Wallach said. "Whether that opportunity comes along, I don’t know, but certainly that’s a goal. And I had to find that out last year. I mean, I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I thought I could. There’s a lot more to it than I think you really realize until you actually do it. I learned a lot last year."

Wallach, who previously was the Dodgers hitting coach for two seasons, knows all about the Mattingly scenario, and said he understands and is fine with it.

"I’m not even concerning myself with that," he said. "I’m going to do my job this year. I’d love to manage here, certainly. But I’m very happy where I’m at. All that stuff, I’m not really concerned with. If an opportunity comes along, fantastic. If it doesn’t, then I’ll be happy being where I’m at."

Wallach also said he sees no problem with Mattingly’s inexperience as a manager.

"He’s a baseball guy," Wallach said. "He’s been Torre’s bench coach. I mean, I can’t even imagine how much he’s learned being with Joe all these years. If that’s how it works, I got … he’s a baseball guy. I think he’ll be fantastic.

"I’m getting experience to someday hopefully manage (in the majors). I would love it to be here, but if it’s not here, I appreciate the opportunity. I love the Dodgers. I always come back to the Dodgers. But they’re giving me an opportunity and I’m very happy with the opportunity."

-- Steve Dilbeck, reporting from Phoenix

Photo: Tim Wallach in 2004. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

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