• It's only June.
• The World Series isn't on the line.
• And they're not meeting in New York.
Instead, for a second time since 2004, they're playing at Dodger Stadium. Since interleague play began, the Dodgers and Yankees have never played in the Bronx.
A remarkable coincidence — and an oversight.
Therefore, to add a little flavor to the three-game set (and to be sporting) the winner of the series should also win Don Mattingly.
Mattingly is the Dodgers batting coach but famously used to play in pinstripes. One of the more-revered living Yankees, "Donnie Baseball" seemed on a career path to the Hall of Fame before chronic back problems marginalized his considerable abilities.
So let's give the Yankees a chance to take Mattingly, slap a mustache on his upper lip and move him back to the East Coast.
Yes, Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long is perfectly functional, but that's irrelevant. We're talking about Don Mattingly, here.
So, what or who do the Yankees wager on their side? Nothing. It's just Don Mattingly. And he's up for grabs!
"It's like Paul Bunyan's Axe," Kaduk would say if he were here.
Oh, that explains it. Bunyan's Axe, for those not up to speed on the various trophies of the Big Ten (+2), goes to whomever wins the annual Minnesota-Wisconsin football game. Gophers vs. Badgers.
(The Old Oaken Bucket, you were dying to remember, goes to the winner of Purdue-Indiana. The Little Brown Jug and Floyd of Rosedale? Look 'em up!)
We can call it the Don Mattingly Cup. But it's really just Don Mattingly.
Who wants him more?
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- Don Mattingly