Monday, February 22, 2016

Don Mattingly wants to come home to NYC so badly that he'd cut off his 'stache to spite his face

You can sum up the difference between baseball and football by their player namesakes. Johnny Football - aka Johnny Manzel - is a woman-hitting, psycho druggie - and a bad QB, to boot. Donnie Baseball - alias our beloved Number 23 - is a thoughtful, gracious over-achieving Samaritan, who will someday will be a great manager. (Think the trajectory of one Joseph Torre.)

Yesterday, Don Mattingly again signaled his fate: To return to NYC and lead the blind Yankee franchise to a series of world serieses. This latest omen came in an announcement that Mattingly - not the Marlins' butcher shop ownership - will ban on facial hair on his players, a rule that adds nothing to a team and, frankly, has potential to create conflict.

Seriously, what good does a ban do? If a man (or woman) wants to look like Jesus, or even ZZ Top, what's the point in stopping him (or her.) This isn't 11th grade. This isn't the Army. This isn't even Guam. It's just another pointless rule for the sake of invoking pointless rules. I'd rather they ban bellbottom jeans or those rhinestone strap thingys that keep your glasses in place. Over the years, yes, the ban sort of - (I apologize for this) - grew on me. That's because it became the lone difference between the Yankees and the rest of baseball.

By the way, it used to be the Yankees were vastly different from every other team. They spent the most on players. They always contended. Their owner never poor-mouthed. They played in the greatest venue in sports, and they loved their fans. They always ruled New York, and in a strange way, banning beards seemed to be a way of connecting with working men (and women.)

Now, the only thing that separates them is that they take fans for granted and would prefer that the poorer ones stay away.

And now, they aren't even the only beard-banning team.

Still... I digress. By now, we all should see what's happening. Mattingly is a salmon swimming upstream to die... a swallow flying home on a mission. When he gets to NYC, it's going to be like the Key Master inserting his thing into Zule's whatever - you know, in Ghostbusters - causing the Yankees to rise from their owner-induced crypt slumber and rule the baseball world. I'm thinking it's two years away. I wish we could fast-forward to it, though I'm too old for fast-forwards.

Still, you can see it. Slowly but surely, Donnie Baseball is weaving his way home. Beardless. (By the way, we are in 2016 not going to be a Yankee blog; we are going to be a John Sterling blog.)


John M said...

The facial hair thing is branding, pure and simple. When guys take the field with shaven faces, it imparts a feeling of professionalism, crispness and competence. This is basically why you don't see the C-level suites of major corporations--or even minor corporations--full of hillbilly beards, novelty mustaches, earlobes stretched by o-rings, copious tattoos, and dreadlocks. Unless the company in question is featured on Duck Dynasty, all of said personal expressions of individuality (which everyone has now!) have a tendency to make shareholders sell and other companies steer clear of doing business with the "fun" guys. (Ben and Jerry get away with it because they were hippie stoners from the start and built their brand on it.)

Donnie knows that how you look directly effects how you do your job and the attitude you bring to it. Hey, the bearded and bebeaded may play great on some teams, and those teams can actually create a personality of wacky with-it dudes who get the job done with a flair for the silly. But Donnie doesn't want that kind of team. He's got an organization to shape up and turn into a disciplined winning franchise that operates on the field like clockwork. He just thinks he has a better chance if it's not a cuckoo clock.

KD said...

Yes, Donnie has a franchise to build so the Marlin ownership can sell-sell-sell!