This kind of hurts me to say but I’m a little irritated by the fact that Mattingly is going to be donning a Dodgers uniform in 2008. Let me stress the word "little" as I’m not totally devastated.
Mattingly is and will probably always be my all-time favorite Yankee. I grew up watching Donnie Baseball and like most Yankee fans that were around in the 80s, Mattingly was your guy. I wanted to name my first born son Mattingly, and at one time the wife was on board, but she later vetoed that suggestion. (Cute story: My father-in law used to own a baseball card store back in the hey-day of baseball cards, circa the mid-to-late 80s. Whenever my wife, who was probably 8 at the time, would get mad at her dad, she’d threaten to draw mustaches on all the Mattingly cards.) Where was I? Oh yeah, Mattingly is now a Dodger. And I’m a little ticked. Not a lot, just a little.
I can understand why Mattingly didn’t want to stay with the Yankees after they turned him down for the position vacated by Torre’s departure. Personally, I thought he was headed back to Indiana to chill with the family. But then Torre gets the LA gig, and Mattingly follows him out west. Here’s my beef. The Yankees offered him a position on Girardi’s coaching staff and he turned it down. And now he’s going to LA to take on the role of hitting coach or bench coach. He could have done that in NY. My childhood hero is leaving the Yankees to become a Dodger. I can’t picture him wearing any other uniform other. it’s just weird. I can’t decide if this makes him any less of a Yankee. Am I the only one that feels this way.? If he wanted to coach, stay on in NY. I kind of feel, again just a little bit, that he’s turning his back on the Yankees to be part of another organization. Again, it’s all strange.
Now, I understand him feeling a little slighted, but he said, "I don’t feel any ill will. I’m not sitting here — vengeance is not running through me at all. Trust me, I’m not all of a sudden going to start rooting for the Red Sox." This quote, makes me laugh. I love the part about "not rooting for the Sox," but it just makes it more difficult for me to accept. If you didn’t feel any "ill will," why not stick around?
There is an answer tot hat question and I can respect it. It’s the main reason why this only bothers me a little bit. The article also mentions that he said New York’s decision "freed me up" to explore opportunities elsewhere. Adding, "I’m sure it’s going to be something different for me. The easiest thing is to stay in the comfort zone. … At some point you have to get to know new people. That point is exciting for me." I can respect that. It makes a lot of sense. But joining a coaching staff that is going to be made up of people you’ve previously coached with isn’t really meeting "new people." He would have met more "new" people had he joined Girardi’s coaching staff as it’s looking like a total overhaul except for Long and Pena. You may meet a new mix of players, but in the course of the next few seasons we’re going to see a totally different Yankees. We’re already seeing it. I would’ve thought had he wanted to stay in coaching, in a non-manager position, it would have made the most sense to stay with the Pinstripes, especially if there truly is no "ill will." I just can’t picture him in another uniform. It seems unnatural. Am I the only one feeling this way?
Regardless, I wish him (as well as Joe and Larry) all the best with the Dodgers. And who am I kidding? I love the guy. That’s not going to change. It’s just going to be really really really really really really really really really weird seeing him with an interlocking LA on his cap and not the interlocking NY that we all love so much.
Peace, love and forever Pinstripes