HOLD THE PHONE, SINATRA!
A "Fairwell To Yankee Stadium" w/o Don Mattingly (a.k.a. "Donnie Baseball")?
Is that a surprise to the Pinstripe Nation which, when it's not wearing pinstripes, bleeds the team colors of "midnight and battleship gray"?
Actually, for those of us "outsiders," it seems like fairly typical behavior from the front office which allowed Billy Crystal to suit up and get an AB in a spring training game.
How unappealing for fans of "da Jankees," who should've seen this coming when Virginia Tech pitcher Robbie Waskiewicz needed only 7 pitches to retire Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano and Shelly Duncan in that early-March exhibition in Blacksburg.
Sure ... everybody knows that Mattingly's absence was tied directly to his prior commitment to helping ex-Yankee skipper Joe Torre build a baseball dynasty in L.A., but, c'mon ... how many times to we have to see Aaron Frickin' Boone hit that frickin' homer (or hear Sinatra singin' somethin' about waking up in a city that never sleeps, etc ...)?
Admittedly, some of us didn't immerse ourselves fully in the all-star tribute to the big, ol' ballpark tonight -- so, if there actually was a montage on the JumboTron/DiamondVision/Whatever which featured Our Heroic #23 assaulting and abusing A.L. pitchers, circa 1983 thru 1988, we didn't see it.
The Disneyland Baseball Channel known as "EpsyTime" didn't mention a Mattingly Montage -- yet, would not America have benefitted from a re-airing of the all-time ESPN/Yankee moment?
You remember: July 7, 1996 ... Strawberry's season debut after beating cancer (it was never proved that DARE-rull! DARE-rull! rumaged through the belongings of other patients in the cancer ward in his quest for cigarets he didn't have to pay for) and ESPN brought tears to America's eyes by showing EACH AT-BAT of Straw's 0 for 4 day (lineout in the 2nd; forceout in the 4th; groundout to first -- with the pitcher covering -- in the 6th; and a flyout deep to RF in the 9th after Tino had just homered to cut the Brewers lead to 4-1 ... Jeter was a rookie batting 9th that day ... Boggs struck out with the bases loaded to end the game ... but he'd get the last laugh that season when he climbed aboard that horse after the World Series ... a highlight which STILL receives more airtime than Mattingly ripping a shot to the gap for his third double of the day ... ).
If only Big Stein's health wasn't failing and prevented him from making the trip from Florida, he'd've said what he said when he learned that George was working for Tyler Chicken, "I'm blown away, George. Blohhh-ohhh-ohhh-nuhhhh away!"
So, even though the Pinstripe Nation considers itself the all-time classiest outfit in the history of pro sports, it's more Mickey Mouse than Mickey Mantle when it comes to tributes and cermonies.
To us "outsiders," we'd've rather watched Mike Pagliarulo and Butch Wynegar in the shower -- or Chili Davis tapping a dribbler up the first-base line -- than watch that fricking homer hit by Aaron Frickin' Nobody or Wade Frickin' Boggs climbin' aboard that frickin' horse.
At least there were some cool subtleties tonight, such as:
A) Footage of the Bambino touchin' home plate following a home-run trot -- and Gehrig NOT acknowledging Ruth as the Iron Horse readied to settle into the batter's box (awesome!)
B) Jon Miller mentioning that game at The Stadium ... the "old" Yankee Stadium ... in 1966 when the Yanks n' Chisox played a makeup game before a crowd of 413.
No word on what percentage of that 413 stuck around for the top of the 9th when Tommie Agee and Tom McCraw -- pinch-hitting for ex-Yank Moose Skowron (a teammate who Joe Pepitone described in his autobiography "Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud" as a guy who looked like a baby robin and moved like a dump truck) -- hit back-to-back homers off of Dooley Womack in the 4-1 Pale Hose victory.
Bottom line: When the Yankees are the shits, they're a delight to mock ...