Another early playoff exit by the Los Angeles Dodgers assures their absence from the World Series for 28 years.
The franchise that boasts six world championships and that had baseball's highest payroll of $289.6 million managed just two playoff victories before losing 3-2 to the New York Mets in a decisive Game 5 of their NL Division Series on Thursday night.
Who's to blame? The players are adamant it's not manager Don Mattingly.
"He had nothing to do with this," left fielder Kike Hernandez said. "It's not even a question. Donnie is our manager."
Veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said, "He's our guy and I believe in him."
Mattingly is under contract for one more season, but the Dodgers could decide to put their massive payroll in the hands of someone new.
He was in no mood to consider his status after the season abruptly ended, testily dismissing a question about it and urging the moderator at a postgame news conference to move on.
Mattingly is 446-363 in five years at the helm, having led the club to a winning record in each of his five seasons, including three consecutive NL West titles. The 54-year-old former Yankees star first baseman ranks sixth all-time among winningest Dodgers managers.
The Dodgers have reached the playoffs three times during Mattingly's tenure, but they have won just one postseason series.
"You come to spring training, you work all winter, you scratch, you fight, all year long to get into this situation and you have a chance. It comes to a crash," Mattingly said. "I don't think there's any way to soften that blow."
As expected, prices on the resale market for tickets to the Cubs-Mets NLCS are shattering previous records.
The average asking price for the four games at New York's Citi Field was $838.40 as of Friday morning, according to TiqIQ.com, which monitors a number of secondary market sites.
That is a bargain compared to the three games at Chicago's Wrigley Field, where the average was $1,228.16.
The $941.69 overall average for the series is the highest TiqIQ has seen for any LCS.
• The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals stuck with the same 25-man rosters in the ALCS that they used to get there. Toronto has lefthander Aaron Loup on the roster after he missed the final two games of the Division Series because of a family issue, while Kansas City kept speedster Terrance Gore and outfield substitute Paulo Orlando instead of veteran Jonny Gomes.
• The Boston Red Sox are mourning the death of Chuck Koney at age 90. He had been a scout in the organization for more than 40 years after his playing career ended when he lost his leg in a home heater explosion.
• Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan and bullpen coach Andy Hawkins are not returning next season.