April 20, 2007
Donnie Doubles Up His Uni
Depressed Fan rings in on Donnie Baseball's B-Day today. He shares what it was like to watch #23 - back in the day - with his Dad. I know that feeling...some of the best times I ever had was just sitting around with my Dad, watching the Yankees on TV.
When he first came up, Mattingly wore #46. In the 1980's, #46 was a number that just seemed to end up on the "latest" Yankees rookie...like Joe Lefebvre, Henry Cotto, Mike Pagliarulo, Roberto Kelly, Randy Velarde...and Mattingly...they all wore #46 at one time.
I wonder if Donnie will think back to that time, now, that he's actually forty-six?
It's sort of weird for me to think of Mattingly as being that age - since I'll be forty-five later this year. As a kid - and, by kid, I mean up until the time you're in your early 20's - you usually think of baseball players as being "men." As such, they're all older than you. Therefore, for me, I think that Donnie should be much older than me...but, he's not. He was a kid - when I was a "kid" watching him.
It's something that you really start to get perspective on when you turn forty...this game is really being played by kids, and not men, for the most part. When I think of it that way, it seems odd to get on the players sometimes...because they are just kids. I wouldn't rag on a Little Leaguer or some High School player. So, then, why is it right to rag on a big leaguer? The money, I suppose, is the difference. It kind of makes you forget that they're just kids.
While that sounds bad, it's true in just about anything...and not limited to baseball. See cases like Britney Spears, who is 26, and, Lindsay Lohan, who is 21. You would think that people would just write them off as young kids making mistakes...and leave them alone. But, it doesn't happen. So, why should baseball players be any different?
Anyway, back to Donnie - I hope he gets a nice present from the Yankees today...from another #46 (Pettitte)...in the form of a win. Happy B-Day Don.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at April 20, 2007 11:18 AM
Donnie was my first Yankee love back when I was 9 years old (1984) and really got baseball-fever. He was the only guy I could really root for during the lean years (1989-1992). Besides Paulie, Pettitte, and Mo, no Yankee has ever approached my love for Donnie and I can't imagine that anyone ever will.
Donald Arthur Mattingly will always be "my" Yankee.
I'm 42, it does seem weird that nearly all the ballplayers are kids now, not the grown men of my youth. That's why I want Julio Franco to keep playing.
When I was in Seattle in 1993, a reporter asked Omar Vizguel if he liked older women. He replied that at his age, they were all older women. Thus there was an "older women for Omar" club. Hard to believe he's 40.
Thanks for sharing, Steve. For me, Don Mattingly - poised and coiled in his inimitable batting stance, clad in snug pinstripes, eye black beneath his eyes - is inextricably linked to my memories of youth. Thinking of Mattingly in this way starts a chain reactions of emotions and thoughts so sweet that I can almost feel a cavity forming in my mouth. I would imagine kids growing up in the 50s might have similar associations with The Mick.
Happy b-day Donnie.