Yankees welcome Don Mattingly back to the Stadium with the Dodgers

Don Mattingly returned to Yankee Stadium with the Dodgers. Credit: Getty Images
Don Mattingly returned to Yankee Stadium with the Dodgers.
Credit: Getty Images

Many Yankee fans in their 30s probably had the famous Don Mattingly “Hit Man” posters on their walls in tribute to the former Yankee first baseman’s dominant seasons in the mid-1980s.

Wednesday’s doubleheader will be their chance to express appreciation for Mattingly in a setting other than Old-Timer’s Day as he returns to the Bronx for the second time since leaving with Joe Torre following the 2007 season.

Appropriately enough, Mattingly’s pregame press conference on Tuesday lasted 23 minutes and while heavy rains fell, a montage of his highlights played on the scoreboard.

“Obviously, it’s good to come back,” he said. “I always really enjoy coming back into the city. … It’s always been, for me, great. You don’t quite understand the relationship, honestly. I came from a small town, loved playing, came here and just played. I pretty much tried to keep it as simple as that, and they seemed to appreciate that. It was nice for me, because I didn’t have to do anything except play.”

This time it was as manager of the Dodgers, who became the last NL team to visit any version of Yankee Stadium since interleague play started in 1997. The last time Mattingly visited was in 2010 with Joe Torre at a ceremony unveiling a monument for George Steinbrenner.

“I’m excited to see him,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I had a chance to work alongside him; obviously I’m a big fan of his. He’s been such a great part of Yankee history, the way he played the game. I’m anxious to hear who gets the loudest cheer today, him or Mo [Rivera] if he comes in the game. So I think that’s probably the only one who can measure up and he deserves that.”

Despite his team being well under .500 and facing speculation about his job security, Mattingly is a beloved figure in the Bronx. Along with Bobby Murcer, he might be the most popular Yankee to never win a World Series.

Mattingly pointed out that despite the different stadium and facility upgrades, he still saw most of the same people from across the street.

“It’s not the building,” he said. “It’s the people. What makes it is the people; it feels like the same.”

Mattingly’s debut came in 1982 after the Yankees lost the World Series in six games to the Dodgers. Steinbrenner took out an ad in newspapers apologizing for the loss and claimed to have punched fans in a Los Angeles elevator.

Before reaching the playoffs during his final season in 1995 under Buck Showalter, Mattingly played for eight managers. His debut came under Gene Michael and Mattingly performed well in three of the five managerial stints of Billy Martin.

After coaching with the Yankees during the latter years of the Torre regime, Mattingly was considered a sentimental favorite to be the successor. Instead, it went to Girardi, who had managerial experience from one year with the Marlins in 2006.

Mattingly often has said that not getting that position was a blessing as it gave him time to attend to a personal matter. It also gave him a chance to experience the National League in an organization with similar history to the Yankees.

Interleague play began in 1997 and the current version where teams rotate opponents started in 2002. In the first year, the Yankees had home games with San Francisco and Arizona, which were appealing matchups based on World Series history.

Perhaps the most appealing one against an NL West opponent is the Dodgers, who lost to the Yankees five times in the World Series before finally winning it all in 1955 with Jonny Podres pitching a shutout in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium.

The Dodgers have had better championship success since moving the Los Angeles with titles in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988 to go along with World Series appearances in 1966, 1977 and 1978.

The Yankees visited the Dodgers in 2004 and 2010 and nearly played them in the 2009 World Series.

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

Cabbie tried to sexually assault passenger with kids…

NYPD is on the lookout for a taxi driver suspected of trying to sexually assault a female passenger while her three kids were in the car.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Gossip

Ariana Grande addresses Big Sean dating rumors

Now that Ariana Grande and Big Sean were caught on camera holding hands, she has something to say.

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…