Don Mattingly is the manager of Confiturembourg

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For reasons of personal and family history I’ve probably seen The Nutcracker a billion times, give or take. And now my daughter Mookie is a ballet dancer and she’s been in The Nutcracker for a couple of years in a row. It’s never gonna end. I could probably give a go to half of the parts in that thing and, even though I can’t dance, I could at least be in the right place at the right time because I know it so well. For better or for worse.

As a result of all of that, I have seen — and been generally uncomfortable with — the Mother Ginger bit in a good dozen permutations. I’ve never cared for it because almost all of those permutations involve a bunch of kids coming out from under a giant dress, typically worn by a dude in drag. Maybe I have issues, but it always comes off kind of creepy.

But Don Mattingly does a fine job with it.

Still a couple months until spring training, guys. So sorry, you’re gonna see a lot of this kind of thing around here.

Texas Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister

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The Texas Rangers just announced that they have fired Jeff Banister as the team’s manager. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu has been named interim manager for the remainder of 2018 season.

Banister was in the last year of his contract with the club, but there was an option for 2019. Rangers brass, obviously, has decided to go in a different direction following what will be the club’s worst finish in Banister’s tenure. At the moment the Rangers are 64-88 and are assured of last place in the AL West.

Banister was hired before the 2015 season and led the Rangers to first place finishes in each of his first two seasons, willing the Manager of the Year Award in 2015. The club fell to a disappointing third place and a 78-84 record last season, however and, after an offseason that neither helped the Rangers rebuild OR reload, this season the descent has continued.

Injuries and under achievement has been the order of the day for the past two years and, with the career of Adrian Beltre nearing its end and the Rangers having been passed up by the Astros as the class of the division, a full rebuild is in the club’s future. Even if that was not the case, however, recently there have been some reports about Banister having trouble communicating with his players, suggesting that, perhaps, the Rangers would move on from him even if the results on the field had been better.

Banister ends his reign as the Rangers’ skipper with a record of 325-313.