Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cardboard appreciation: 1988 Score Game Breakers

(Last night was an off-day for the Dodgers. That means it was a day the Dodgers didn't lose. This season I have learned to appreciate off-days. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 82nd in a series):

What you see before you are two failed Dodgers hitting coaches.

But I'm only going to write about the one on the left.

It's taken me a few days to figure out how I feel about Don Mattingly being the Dodgers' next manager. Even after several days of thinking, I'm still not sure how I feel.

The few times that Mattingly played manager for the Dodgers, he didn't do so well. I won't go into specifics, but thanks to Mattingly, I hate Bruce Bochy for life. So, I'm not filled with confidence over this decision. I still would have been more comfortable with Tim Wallach getting the job.

But Mattingly is going to be the guy so I have to move past that and put my support behind him. That will take a little doing, because even though I like the man, he's got icky Yankee stuff all over him. He played his whole career for the Yankees and Yankees fans love him and -- ick, yech, bleech, gross, gross, get it off me  -- some Yankee fans are actually going to root for the Dodgers just because Mattingly is the manager. (*shudder*). I don't want some loudmouth Yankee fan rooting for my team. The whole thing is WAY uncomfortable.

But to illustrate my current conflicted state, I find myself keeping Mattingly baseball cards.

Normally, I dispose of Yankee cards as fast as I can. I can't help it. It's instinct from the time I was a child. Some Yankee fan hassles me for a Yankee card and I say, "Here. Get it out of my sight. And for god's sake, close your mouth when you chew."

But these days when I'm looking for Yankees to get the hell out of my house, I skip over the Mattingly cards. And I've been doing this pretty much since I knew he had a good chance of being the Dodgers' manager.

Unfortunately it wasn't soon enough to keep this card:

That was dealt away when I pulled it from a box of 1993 Upper Deck long ago. Miss it so.

But I do have some Mattingly card that are favorites. Nothing special. But considering how quickly Yankees have disappeared from my collection all my life, and Mattingly's relatively short career, I'm happy to have them. Here are my 10 favorites:

10. 1993 Select. This is a fairly typical Mattingly shot. But I like '93 Select a lot, so there will be no arguing!

9. 1987 Fleer Limited Edition. I like this card for both the goofy borders and the crowd in the stands. They look like they're cold.

8. 1990 Fleer 10th anniversary subset. These cards look so much better than anything else in 1990 Fleer. They look like they don't even belong in the set.

7. 1988 Score. The Donnie Baseball swing. Mattingly is the first card in Score's first set. That's got to count for something.

6. 1989 Topps. I'm just noticing that I love dugout shots on cards. No, I'm not going to collect them. But there needs to be more of them.

5. 1994 Post. Unlicensed madness! I love it.

4. 1993 Post. But not as much as this one. Mattingly looks like he just escaped from the minimum security prison, stole a cap from a sanitation worker, and joined a ballgame. I heart this card.

3. 1993 Upper Deck. Great shot. I don't know why Mark Teixeira looks like a douche when he blows out his cheeks and Mattingly doesn't. But it's as true a statement as I'll ever make.

2. 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces black border. Normally, this is a card I'd trade away immediately. It's a Yankee. It's a much-loved set. It's a parallel. But I can't trade it. I can't do it.

1. 1984 Topps. I don't have the '84 Donruss Mattingly yet, so this will have to do for rookie card mojo. You have to love the "mustache-no mustache" on this card. And I enjoy Topps giving Mattingly the card No. 8, as if he's an absolute nobody.

Mattingly is on the short list of Yankees that don't bother me. He's there with Roy White, Bernie Williams and Ron Guidry. (There might be a couple of others, but it's not a topic I enjoy exploring).

My hope is that Mattingly will continue to not bother me and turn out to be an even better manager than that Girardi guy. That would be sweet.

Eventually, I want to look at him and see all Dodger and no Yankee. I can't do that now. It will mean I need to stop seeing him making special trips to Yankee Stadium to roll around in stinky Yankeeness, like he did last night.

But I have no doubt he has an allegiance to the Dodgers, and I hope he will end up leading the Dodgers into a World Series against the Yankees.

I think that will make a few Yankees fans' heads explode.


  1. I should feel bad about saying this considering the Yankees are pretty much my "backup" team because they were my dad's favorite and his dad's favorite, etc. The Yankees pretty much sucked for Mattingly's entire career. Sure, they had some nice winning seasons, but they didn't make the playoffs until his final season when he could barely walk. His first cup of coffee came the year after the Dodgers beat them in the World Series and he only finally made it to postseason play (which had recently been "improved") the year he'd ultimately end up retiring in. I think he's a pretty tragic figure. I was always a big fan, though.

  2. First, As a Yankees fan it was cool to see those Mattingly cards. That UD Holo card was really great and def a card I will have to pick up for my collection.

    I would love to see Mattingly lead the Dodgers to the World Series against the Yanks.Not only do I want to see Donnie Baseball do well, but the Dodgers are an iconic franchise. That being said, I would be pulling for the Yanks no matter who they play.

  3. Donnie had one of the finest porn-staches ever. Puts Jeff Kent to shame.

    I wanted to see Wallach get the job too. But it's Mattingly's now and I will root for him to win.

  4. madding ~

    I neglected to mention that. I think it's one of the reasons why Mattingly is OK with a Yankee hater like me. His teams did nothing. It was like players on those teams were powerless and not a threat and therefore "likeable." Or relatively so.

    Mostly though I think it's because of the reasons everyone else likes Mattingly. He's an unassuming Midwestern guy with a crapload of talent.