After last night’s rain out at Yankee Stadium, the ‘Hit Man’ himself Don Mattingly will make his first trip back to the Bronx tonight after spending his entire 14-year playing career in New York Yankee’s pinstripes.
Mattingly, who was passed over for the manager position following the departure of long-time skipper Joe Torre, is making his first trip back to the Bronx as a manager since taking over as Dodgers head coach in 2011. While the team has been back in the Big Apple on numerous occasions, the team hasn’t played at Yankee Stadium since capturing the 1981 World Series title.
In an interview with ESPN’s Kiernan Darcy, Mattingly is quoted as saying, “Obviously good to come back. Always really enjoy coming back into the city…And honestly when you fly in, if it’s going to Citi Field, obviously [it's] not the same as coming here. He continued on to say “You don’t quite understand the relationship honestly. [I] came from a small town, loved playing, came here and just played. And pretty much tried to keep it as simple as that. And [the fans] seemed to appreciate that.”
While certainly disappointed after losing out on the coaching job to fellow Yankee Joe Girardi, Mattingly who was going through a painful divorce at the time said “To be very honest with you, it was a blessing for me, At the end of the day, the stuff that went on with me personally right after that, would have made it really, really hard to do the job here and try to go through that at the same time.”
Asked if he could potentially see himself back in a Yankees uniform someday, while speaking with The Posts Dan Martin, Mattingly said, “I’m where I want to be, I want to do a great job for our organization. If they don’t think I’m the guy for them or the right guy, then I want to keep managing, I’ll say that. That’s for sure .The only thing that pushes me away from there is if they don’t want me. However, I can see myself managing anywhere, honestly”.
Mattingly’s quote certainly leaves open the opportunity of a return to the Bronx one day and in the eyes of every true Yankee fan a welcomed one for sure. However, its the plaque in Monument Park commemorating his career in New York that says it best “A humble man of grace and dignity, a captain who led by example, proud of the pinstripe tradition and dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, a Yankee forever.”
Be sure to tune in tonight to see how Yankees fans welcome back one of their own for the first time in an opposing teams uniform. Donnie Baseball…New York loves ya!