CHAT ON AMERICA ONLINE 4/23/97
OnlineHost: Copyright 1997 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
OnlineHost: Your hosts this evening are Jo Ellen (AOLiveMC7) and Linda (AOLiveMC5).
AOLiveMC7: Good evening, Don Mattingly! A pleasure to have you with us this evening.
MattnglyD: Thanks -- it's a pleasure to have this chance to talk with everyone
MattnglyD: out there tonight.
AOLiveMC7: Are you ready for our audience questions?
MattnglyD: Sure am.
Question: Mr Baseball: I am wondering who the best player is that you have
ever played with or against?
MattnglyD: Best player I've played against...
MattnglyD: there's been a lot of them.
MattnglyD: To be honest, I think the best one is playing right now...
MattnglyD: his talent is kind of limitless...
MattnglyD: is Ken Griffey, Jr.
MattnglyD: It's amazing what he can do.
MattnglyD: He has all of the qualities -- speed, defense, power, average...
MattnglyD: I know I'm slighting a lot of guys, George Brett, Ripken,
MattnglyD: But Jr., talent-wise, is pretty unbelievable.
AOLiveMC7: So many fans out there, Don. Here is our next question:
Question: Did you realize what a positive influence you have had on so many lives?
I idolized you from age 12, I'm 23 now...Do you see yourself returning
to the game????In any fashion?, but I miss you, you made such an
impact....Thanks for everyhting....
MattnglyD: Wow, what a question.
MattnglyD: That's great to hear that.
MattnglyD: You know, it's funny...
MattnglyD: when you're playing, you don't look at it as having such
MattnglyD: a major impact on anyone's life...
MattnglyD: but I feel now I'm able to actually make more of an impact.
MattnglyD: The reason I even get the chance to talk tonight is that
MattnglyD: the Courtyard Marriot is opening tonight.
MattnglyD: Through the Children's Help Fund, I get the chance to help
MattnglyD: so many kids. It's such a great feeling that now, more than
MattnglyD: ever, I have the chance to give back to the community.
MattnglyD: Baseball has given me the opportunity to give back to the
MattnglyD: game and the fans.
MattnglyD: It's given me a lot more than I think it's given to anyone else.
AOLiveMC7: Ok, here is our next audience question:
Question: Don, did you get to meet Mickey Mantle? Did you watch him play
when you were growing up? Did you ever dream or think you
would be a Yankee someday? What advice or input did Mickey
give you about being a Yankee and playing in Yankee stadium?
MattnglyD: I definitely met Mickey and considered him a friend.
MattnglyD: He showed a lot to me as far as liking the way I played.
MattnglyD: I could tell he had respect for me, which was great --
MattnglyD: I know I had it for him.
MattnglyD: And I never really had the chance to see him play, growing up
MattnglyD: in Indiana. We always got the Cards and the Reds.
MattnglyD: He really didn't give "advice" -- he was just very friendly and nice.
MattnglyD: He treated me very well.
MattnglyD: I don't think it matters who a person is, really. You should
MattnglyD: treat everyone with respect. I learned a lot about that from him.
Question: You have to tell me honestly, was the Sea/NY playoff game in 95 the
single greatest baseball event of your life? I was there, and
it was certainly the best for me!
MattnglyD: It was definitely a thrill.
MattnglyD: I'm assuming the question is referring to the playoffs in NY.
MattnglyD: It was an incredible thrill to be a part of that.
MattnglyD: It was special to me just making it to that point.
MattnglyD: I was very thankful to be a part of that -- it was a gift for me
MattnglyD: that baseball gave to me to be a part of that.
MattnglyD: As I said earlier, it's great that thru this partnership with
MattnglyD: the Courtyard at Marriott that I'm able to give back.
Question: Mr. Mattingly...Did you watch the 1996 World Series? If so how did
you feel when Charlie Hayes caught the last out making the
Yankees World Champs for the 23rd time?
MattnglyD: I watched it.
MattnglyD: It was kind of like a dual-edged sword.
MattnglyD: I played 17 years in the Yankee organization, and it was tough
MattnglyD: to watch the year after I stopped playing -- so many of the players
MattnglyD: I had played with -- to win it all and not be there with them.
MattnglyD: I felt a part of that, and I was proud of that.
MattnglyD: As a veteran, playing with a lot of those young players,
MattnglyD: I felt that I may have helped them out a little bit.
MattnglyD: They're great players in their own right, but to have maybe
MattnglyD: been a part of that development, and then watching them win,
MattnglyD: it was definitely a special feeling for me.
Question: What kind of practical jokes did you play in the yankee club house?
And is there any reason you picked the #23?
MattnglyD: 23 came from not wanting 46 at all, my first number.
MattnglyD: I turned 23 the year I got the number, so that was also a part of it.
MattnglyD: Also, it was half of 46, so that made it work.
MattnglyD: At that point of my career, though, any number would have been OK.
MattnglyD: When you're in Spring Training, the high numbered players often
MattnglyD: got sent down, so the lower the better!
MattnglyD: As far as practical jokes...
MattnglyD: once in a hotel in Seattle,
MattnglyD: when you travel as a team, all of the luggage goes to one room.
MattnglyD: The bellman sorts it out -- they're marked by number or something.
MattnglyD: I went to the room to get my luggage so I didn't have to wait for it.
MattnglyD: I started calling guys, acting like the bellman, and asked them
MattnglyD: a whole bunch of questions about their luggage.
MattnglyD: I said to Nokes "I noticed you changed bats" or "I noticed
MattnglyD: you changed your stance."
MattnglyD: I was amazed how many guys actually talked to the bellman
MattnglyD: and told them why they did certain things, why they had changed
MattnglyD: their bat or their stance.
MattnglyD: I thought that was pretty cool...
MattnglyD: that was one of my better pranks.
Question: Tell us about the upcomming Don Mattingly day at Yankee Stadium Aug 31
MattnglyD: I guess I'm nervous.
MattnglyD: I've watched about 3 or 4 guys have that day -- it's pretty emotional.
MattnglyD: It's kind of like finality.
MattnglyD: I can't really put it into words, how good it makes me feel to
MattnglyD: have my number retired with the New York Yankess.
MattnglyD: Just thinking about guys like Mickey, Yogi, Munson, Joe Dimaggio...
MattnglyD: it's beyond a dream come true.
MattnglyD: It's another one of those things that I talked about earlier...
MattnglyD: I'm so thankful to have been a part of baseball.
MattnglyD: It's given me opportunities like that and this one...
MattnglyD: to be able to talk to you fans...
MattnglyD: and to do fundraisers for children like we're doing here
MattnglyD: at the Courtyard Marriott.
MattnglyD: It's just amazing to be a part of it all.
AOLiveMC7: Don, our next question is about that wonderful organization you
Question: What made you decide to join the Children's Health Fund? Any past
MattnglyD: The Children's Health Fund -- I joined in 1988.
MattnglyD: I believe it was founded in 1987 by Dr. Redlener and Paul Simon,
MattnglyD: Kim and I went to a concert -- the concert was for the Health Fund.
MattnglyD: At that time, we were looking for an area to become involved in
MattnglyD: helping kids. We had just had our second child.
MattnglyD: I don't know if you have kids, but the worries that come from
MattnglyD: a ninth month pregnancy, health-wise...
MattnglyD: Preston was born healthy, and we felt so fortunate that we
MattnglyD: knew we wanted to help those kids who were less fortunate.
MattnglyD: From there, I founded a home run club, which I donated $1,000
MattnglyD: for each home run, which became $100 for each Yankee home run.
MattnglyD: Through a radio station in New York, a DJ there -- we started
MattnglyD: From the home run club, we went to allowing anyone to contribute
MattnglyD: so others could get involved.
MattnglyD: During that whole period of time, we've raised over $850,000 for kids
MattnglyD: who are disadvantaged and do not have health care.
MattnglyD: I think all kids deserve access to guaranteed health care.
MattnglyD: That's really where it all started.
Question: Don, JC from Alabama....I wanted to know what the most memorable
encounter with a fan you have ever had? Either good, bad, or
MattnglyD: This is definitely good...
MattnglyD: recently, it came from a guy that I called.
MattnglyD: He was sick and in the hospital...
MattnglyD: through his wife and someone she knew, they got a hold
MattnglyD: of me to get me to give him a call.
MattnglyD: It amazes me what kind of lift *I* get from calling them.
MattnglyD: It's incredible the lift that he got from hearing from me.
MattnglyD: I believe he died a few days later -- his wife let me know
MattnglyD: just how much it had meant to him that I called him.
MattnglyD: It's just unbelievable how much, through a five minute phone call,
MattnglyD: I could help someone out.
MattnglyD: There have been many, many positive experiences I've had...
MattnglyD: that was probably the most memorable.
AOLiveMC7: Don, you have many admirers out there in cyber land:
Question: I'm a "die-hard" Yankee fan! Just wondering, considering you were,
in my opinion, the best fielding firstbaseman I've ever seen,
do you think the firstbase defensive position is underrated?
MattnglyD: I definitely think it's underrated.
MattnglyD: It's getting more attention I think.
MattnglyD: As we get more coverage of it, I think right now it's getting
MattnglyD: There are a lot of good fielding first basemen out there.
MattnglyD: The days of the poor fielding first basemen are getting behind us,
MattnglyD: I think.
MattnglyD: It's a position that can be very important, fielding-wise to help
MattnglyD: Not to over-emphasize it, but I think if you watch enough baseball,
MattnglyD: you can see its importance each and every game.
AOLiveMC7: Ok, out to Buck-Land now!
Question: Hey Don: How long do you think it will take an expansion team, like
the Arizon Diamondbacks to be a contender in MLB?
MattnglyD: The way it's set up and what they've been able to do with free
MattnglyD: agency, there's no reason to think that you can't be competitive
MattnglyD: almost right out of the gate with a competitive owner.
MattnglyD: There should be a lot of excitement out there, and a lot of fans
MattnglyD: in the seats -- with proper management who are forward-thinking
MattnglyD: and who know talent -- you can be very successful pretty quickly.
MattnglyD: There's a certain mixture of players you need to win in this
MattnglyD: with the proper management, success shouldn't take all that long.
Question: Don, in 1986 Wade Boggs sat out the last series of the season to
prepare for the playoffs; this also resulted in it being
nearly impossible for you to catch him for the batting title
(tho you came close!). Do you guys rib each other about that
MattnglyD: You know we never, ever talked about that at all.
MattnglyD: At the time, I was asked about it.
MattnglyD: I know if I was in the same situation as he was back then, and I
MattnglyD: was let's say banged up -- let's face it, the playoffs are the most
MattnglyD: thing. His obligation at that time was to be healthy for the
MattnglyD: If I were in the same situation, I might have done the same thing.
MattnglyD: The playoffs are the most important thing when you've reached
MattnglyD: that point of the season.
MattnglyD: That reminds me...
MattnglyD: that year, 1986, I hit .352.
MattnglyD: With the promotion we have going now with the Courtyard Marriott,
MattnglyD: that would have raised $26,000.
MattnglyD: Courtyard is donating $500 for every point that the top major
MattnglyD: is hitting at the All-Star Break, with a minimum of $30,000.
MattnglyD: With Larry Walker hitting .500, they may have to make this the
MattnglyD: of the promotion. You do the math!
Question: First off, Happy Birthday Mr Mattingly. You are one of the most
beloved sports figures in New York's rich sports history.
To what do you attribute this infatuation? Thanks for the
memories Don. See you on the 31st.
MattnglyD: (That was, by the way, $500 for every point over .300)
MattnglyD: Not sure...
MattnglyD: I guess the only thing I can think of is, the whole time I was
MattnglyD: playing in New York, I tried to give everyone all of me every time
MattnglyD: not make excuses when I struggled, keep my head about me,
MattnglyD: stay humble when things went well, and take the heat when things
MattnglyD: went bad.
MattnglyD: That was about it...
MattnglyD: I just tried to go out every day and play good baseball.
Question: Mr. Mattingly, I would like to know what you think about the salaries
of the current Major Leaguers and where do you see them topping off
at?? Thanks, Lee France
MattnglyD: it's tough for me to be down about it because I felt that when I
MattnglyD: came to the Majors in 1983...
MattnglyD: from that point on, the salaries skyrocketed.
MattnglyD: I never thought anything would go over $3 million back then!
MattnglyD: I don't think we should get caught up in salaries and what
MattnglyD: a guy's making.
MattnglyD: I know it's hard, but I really think salaries should be kept
MattnglyD: I came from a hard working background, and couldn't fathom
MattnglyD: the idea of someone making the kind of money I made through baseball.
MattnglyD: But, I always wanted the salary part to be kept separate.
MattnglyD: I wanted fans to like me or not like me as a player, and know that
MattnglyD: I was giving 100% every time out, without regard to the money I
MattnglyD: was making.
MattnglyD: If you start linking how you like a guy to the money he's making,
MattnglyD: it's really not fair -- all a player can do is the best they can
MattnglyD: despite the escalation of salaries, players still have to give
MattnglyD: of what they're making.
MattnglyD: I can't fault guys for making that money -- obviously the money is
MattnglyD: there if the owners are willing to pay it.
MattnglyD: As I see it, it's a reward for being able to do what we can do.
MattnglyD: And I feel it's just as important for players to give back, as
MattnglyD: earlier, in anyway they can, such as the Courtyard promotion
MattnglyD: I'm involved with tonight.
MattnglyD: We owe it to the fans to give back.
MattnglyD: One more part about the promotion...
MattnglyD: there's a website you can access...
MattnglyD: You can get updated stats on the batting race, there's a baseball
MattnglyD: trivia quiz, you can win trips to games, tickets, prizes.
MattnglyD: It's a great way to keep up on what's happening with this
MattnglyD: great promotion.
MattnglyD: Courtyard also has a link to my website...
MattnglyD: so that's pretty cool. :)
AOLiveMC7: This will be our last question this evening, Don:
Question: Mr. Mattingly...What is one thing you miss most about baseball
since you retired after the 1995 baseball season?
MattnglyD: The one thing...
MattnglyD: I miss the getting ready to play...
MattnglyD: taking on Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens...
MattnglyD: as well as the comaraderie with the players, goofing around
MattnglyD: in the locker room with the other guys.
MattnglyD: Funny stuff like that I miss a lot.
MattnglyD: But the day-to-day battles I miss the most, I really do.
AOLiveMC7: It was an honor to have you with us tonight, Don.
AOLiveMC7: Thank you for sharing your work with the Children's Health Fund.
MattnglyD: I'd like to thank everyone for pulling me up on AOL tonight.
MattnglyD: Thanks also to the great folks at the Courtyard Marriot, and all
MattnglyD: the guests who have helped out as well.
MattnglyD: It's so important to help out all the kids who are less fortunate
MattnglyD: than the rest of us, and they really deserve health care.
MattnglyD: You guys are all a huge part of it.
MattnglyD: Sorry that I couldn't get to all of your questions.
MattnglyD: Thanks a lot for having me on tonight and asking your great questions.
MattnglyD: Good night!
AOLiveMC7: Good luck on Aug. 31, Don. Good night, all. Thanks for being here.
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