A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

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Greg2600
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A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by Greg2600 » February 3rd, 2017, 9:06 pm

Now for one of my longest wants, the one and only Donnie Baseball, Don Mattingly, current Miami Marlins skipper, and former captain and All-star first baseman of the NY Yankees! I’m a big sports fan, much more so as a kid than now. Nowadays I follow MLB, NFL, international soccer, and motorsports. Back then I followed pretty much everything. There was no player I more idolized though than “the Hitman!” I collected hundreds (yes you read that right) cards, memorabilia, magazines, books, figures, whatever. I watched or listened on radio to probably 90% of his games between 1986 and 1995. I could recite his statistics at the drop of a hat. I played his position during my youth baseball career, and was pretty much a maniac devotee. His retirement caused me quite distress, ha ha.

So back in the day, the Yankees used to organize a fan festival during the first weekend of February, in Manhattan. I think some teams like the White Sox still do these. Yankees did it from I think 1992 – 1997, before the combination of World Series band wagon fans and girls infatuated by the team’s short stop caused it to be oversold, and an outright MESS! They originally held it at the Javitts Centers, but then moved it to the old New York Colosseum, a dumb mistake. Anyhow, my father worked Friday and Saturday, so the only day we could go was Sunday. He would drive me, a couple friends, and usually one of his customers/friends out there. Back in those days, a trip from NJ to NYC was a huge undertaking and a pain, and my parents HATED going there! Also couldn’t afford it. My father owned a baseball card store at the time as well, which was a big reason he went. We would pay $40 or so to get in, and all the players were free!

Obviously back then the goal were graphs not photos, although the staff at each booth were often really nasty and screamed if you tried to take them. Let me say, Class316 methodology would NOT work! We literally witnessed them toss people for disobeying the photo black out (before getting their autograph). Yet they never said anything if you kept going for multiples! We did this often. Retired and current players with tiny lines, and there were many, had no problem doing multiples as long as you went to the back of the line. We would sell balls signed by basically scrubs for $30 all day long, and the balls probably cost $3 each or whatever back then. That plus we mooched tons of unused promo items from the previous year. Cups, beer cozies, key chains, hats, shirts, whatever. People would pay for that junk of course. They also had a play by play booth where you could “call” famous moments with your friends. I still have those on VHS!

So back to Don, well, he would only appear on Friday and Saturday at the festival, and was marked by lines 2 miles long! As a result, I never got him. A few times I got a ball signed back when you would toss it to them during warmups, and they’d toss it back. I even have a Lithograph that was commissioned and signed, and my father got, from a major promoter at the time. The last few years, I’ve been more than willing to pay for him, as has one of my long time friends Jay. He’s even done many Steiner signings, but like me, always had something else to do or didn’t know that Don was appearing. One of the reasons I joined Marked Out at first was to try to get info on him. I also didn’t feel like going down to Florida for spring training or anything like that. I just had the worst luck. He changed promoters a few times, which screwed me up. He also canceled a show I intended to do, after I opted to skip the Steiner LI singing with Tino! Most aggravating was a signing that came and went, and a report was posted by former member luigi nyc, who never bothered to post beforehand. This was AFTER I stated time and again a plea for info on the subject. Last year, they had Don the same damn day as the Big Event! I opted for BE, because I had a ton of wrestlers to get, and my buddy couldn’t make it anyway.

So I saw him booked and said this IS the time! You recall I went for him on the street last summer, and got an 8x10 signed, but a photo was going to be tough thanks to the teenage idiots who graph sports. MAB had a nice discount day for Don, and Jay and I bought it without a second thought. Eventually MAB added the Caddyshack duo of Cindy Morgan and Michael O’Keefe. I alerted another buddy of mine Frankie, a HUGE Tron fan, and he was ecstatic, because he’d missed Cindy at a few cons years before. I also knew ICW and Lanza would be on site.

I paid to have my old Yankees “bat day” bat signed by Don. Backstory is pretty neat. Bat day was always a bit of a tough ticket, because people wanted those things, and so the games sold out usually. This time I was lucky, in that we’d already sent out for the tickets, and they just happened to fall on bat day thanks to a rain out or something. Can you believe somebody has a website that tracked the old Bat Days! I shit you not! (http://keymancollectibles.com/batdaybatdating3.htm). You’ll see mine was sponsored by Coke, and took place on June 9, 1991, against the Texas Rangers. Image Now as a kid, there’s no greater thrill than seeing your favorite player hit a home run right in front of you. Don was suffering through back problems around that time, and his output was way down. This was before ROIDS! My first game was in 1988, and he hit a home run, but we were coming back from the bathroom and missed it! Only saw the celebration at home plate. This time was different though. Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the 7th, Mattingly blasted a two-run homer off Mike Jeffcoat of Texas that tied the score! I was going insane, nearly clobbering my father with the bat in all the excitement. As was customary back then, we’d paid an usher a few bucks, and turned our upper deck nosebleed seats into about 12 rows behind home plate so we got a great view! Box score (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes ... 6090.shtml) proves it! Ha ha.

Okay, so more backstory, but back then, without the internet, you simply had no idea which players would show up to the Fan Fest until you got there. So amongst the slew of stuff we brought with us each year, I had my bat day bat! Each year I left disappointed that Don wasn’t there. So fast forward to 1996, and we’re there again. We knew about this young player Derek Jeter, who was highly touted. The Yankees had many such players, who usually crashed and burned, or were sent to other teams in foolish trades by George Steinbrenner, the Donald Trump of sports ownership. So we’re there and fully intending on getting Jeter to sign something. His line wasn’t too crowded actually, but a year later it would be a disaster as I said. Now again, photos were a problem, partly because I’d only have my dumb friends with me, and none of us were capable of operating a camera properly! My father was dead set on getting it right with this kid. So he tells me, get Jeter on the bat. I argue, because like Class would lament, the bat is not really valid, since Jeter was still in high school when I got it. Ha ha! But he’s like, this kid is going to be a star, get him on something good. He also got a bat done, and later sold it for like $200! Got mine done, and the photo op! This was one of the few that actually came out well at the fest, i.e. we were both looking and the film was developed without issues. Since then Jeter, of course became a legend and a colossal prick about free fan interaction, so I was glad to get both at that time.

21 year old Jeter, and 17 year old me!

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Now we FINALLY get to the MAB show, ha ha ha. The only other name I really wanted on Saturday was David Cone, who I’ve met before and gotten a combo with. However, I attended his perfect game back in 1999 with my uncle and cousins, and I’ve wanted him to sign the ticket stub for ages. I also didn’t want to pay $80 to have a stub signed. I arrive around 11AM, and make my way in, joining Lanza and ICW in the hallway as we await the start of the photo ops. They had David Cone go first, and shortly after it was Don’s turn. My friend Jay and his family arrived as well, so it was cool to catch up with them. We did solo ops, while taking a short side video as we each went. The photo dudes were great, they took one on your camera or phone, and then a pro. Prints came out after a few minutes. Jpegs took a few days. One of the many pieces of Mattingly memorabilia was a bunch of stuff from the restaurant his family ran in Evansville, Indiana, back in the 90’s , called Mattingly’s 23. I kept the sweat shirt unused for two decades, and brought it out just for the occasion. Don saw it and cracked up laughing. He was kind of flippant back when I saw him on the street with the damn dealers, but he was easily the coolest, nicest guy in the building.

Pro shot.
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My camera.
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Video of me and Don, with Donnie cracking up and saying "that's a classic!" about my shirt.



We got in line for the graphs, and they let the VIPs through first. This of course created a log jam with people with numbers that were an hour or more away insisting on standing at the front. The MC was busy butchering all the players’ names, and finally they called Mattingly 1, 2, and 3. Well that was us, and we went up there. Don took a lot of time with each person, taking photos and also studying many of the homemade things the fans brought. My friend got a great shot with his wife and little kids and Don. I quickly mentioned how I got the bat, and such, and Don was like wow that’s great. Got a table shot too!

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We then escaped that mess, and my friend went on home. I waited around in the hall again with Lanza. He and my other friend were there waiting for the Caddyshack duo. They were listed for 1pm, but as the day wore on, it changed to 2pm, so they wasted much time. My buddy got his Tron figured signed and the photo with his wife as well, and was extremely happy with the interaction with Cindy. Lanza eventually finished, and we hung out in the lobby for a while with some others. Eventually Cone left, and did combos with us waiting, including signing my ticket and doing the photo! Great guy that Coney is. I tried to mooch Reggie Jackson, he was barely paying attention, and essentially blew me off.

Coney!
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The Perfect Ticket!
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The Paunch Stevenson Show pop culture podcast : http://www.paunchstevenson.com


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capman
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Re: A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by capman » February 3rd, 2017, 10:07 pm

Fantastic Donnie Baseball. UR camera shot is the winner!

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WOODMO
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Re: A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by WOODMO » February 4th, 2017, 9:01 am

Awesome report and story!! The bat is an amazing piece.

Also I don't have to hear about Mattingly anymore!!! Lol

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djknightrida
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Re: A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by djknightrida » February 4th, 2017, 10:41 am

Donnie baseball is the sole yankee I'll ever give a damn about. Good job
2017 Most Unique Photo Winner

:dj:

AsianDave
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Re: A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by AsianDave » February 5th, 2017, 1:28 am

About damn time u got a full Donnie Baseball! Had to hear u whine about this last year! Blah...
I cannot believe that a Jeter has the same frigging style graph from when he was 17 right up to his retirement! That's simply amazing...to boot, Mattingly changed his numerous times.


lanza218
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Re: A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by lanza218 » February 5th, 2017, 1:36 pm

Glad I pestered you to wait!

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Greg2600
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Re: A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by Greg2600 » February 5th, 2017, 2:00 pm

Here's some photo shop fun! Don with the infamous mustache!

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By the way, Don's graph on the backdrop is in fact right over my left shoulder!
The Paunch Stevenson Show pop culture podcast : http://www.paunchstevenson.com

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Greg2600
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Re: A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by Greg2600 » August 7th, 2020, 10:34 pm




Necro-post here! I can't believe it, but earlier this year someone posted a video clip from the Coca-Cola Classic bat day game when I got the bat which Don signed at this show. I've been trying to find video of that for years, as it was the first Mattingly home run I got to see! He actually homered during one of my first games at the Stadium in 1988 but I was in the bathroom! Garrrrrrrr.

PS: I scanned the ticket stubs from that day, though per usual we did not sit in the upper deck. My father slipped a few bucks to the usher and we sat right behind home plate about 20 rows up.

Image
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mrira
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Re: A Perfect day for Donnie Baseball!

Post by mrira » August 8th, 2020, 11:07 am

Greg2600 wrote:
August 7th, 2020, 10:34 pm
PS: I scanned the ticket stubs from that day, though per usual we did not sit in the upper deck. My father slipped a few bucks to the usher and we sat right behind home plate about 20 rows.
Oh man, I miss those days


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