June 29, 2011
Mattingly Month: A Final Motif
Don Mattingly, 1991 Coca-Cola series
The artist’s rendition of Donald Arthur Mattingly is risky business. How does one adequately capture the Picasso of baseball without access to Picasso himself? It is a conundrum, indeed. Better, I believe, to merely fantasize about such a task than attempt to execute it. Then again, if you have a bunch of Coca-Cola money to throw at some self-proclaimed artistic genius, then, as they say in the art world, “go nuts, yo.”
This is okay, I guess. I’m no art critic, but I like the way they shaded it and stuff. I suppose I like it enough to have purchased the original painting back in 1993 after taking out a $30,000 loan at 15.7% interest. I then placed the portrait in a 6’X10’ 14-karat gold frame—separate loan; what was I going to do, laminate it? Please—and it currently rests on the living room wall of my home over our fireplace. We don’t have a fireplace, but every time you look in Mattingly’s eyes, the wall beneath lights ablaze.
I would also like to mention that Don Mattingly was no shill to corporate suits! With so many companies and individuals striving to pay him homage, it’s doubtful he was even aware of this exclusive set of Coca-Cola sponsored baseball cards that bore his image, likeness, and biographical information. That, or he firmly, 100% believed in the quality and healthy attributes of Coca-Cola soft drinks. It is true that he could often be found quenching his thirst with the smooth taste of Coca-Cola after making a familiar and casual trot around the base paths. As Mattingly once said, allegedly, “Water is for plants and Gatorade is for communists.”
Evansville, Indiana, home of Yankee all-star first baseman and Mattinglys’ 23 Restaurant and Lounge—world famous for its exciting sports motif and hospitality since opening August 12, 1987.
A few things: a) That is not a sentence. b) Wrong apostrophe placement. c) ? d) Do you think they sell Coca-Cola at this restaurant? e) World famous? World. Earth? They’re talking about Don Mattingly’s Evansville, Indiana-based restaurant in Istanbul (not Constantinople)? f) “And Lounge?” I imagine you can take the entire family there for a round of “Mattingly manwhiches,” rid yourselves of the children somehow and then retire with your wife to the back room, where you can both light one up and enjoy the smooth sounds of Ron Phogarty, jazz saxophonist and cover artist of “Centerfield” and other baseball-related tunes. g) Circa 1991:
Person: Hey, where are you guys headed this summer?
Other person: Evansville, Indiana!
Person: Oh. Did someone die?
Other person: What? No! We’re all going as a family to experience Don Mattingly’s 23 Restaurant and Lounge!
Person: Wait—is that the place with the exciting sports motif and wonderful hospitality that opened on August 12, 1987?
Other person: Hells bells!
Person: Awesome! Do you think Don Mattingly will be there?
Other person: Probably not. He’s playing baseball.
Other person: I know! We’ll probably run into some major dignitaries there though, as the place is world famous. I’m trying to learn how to say, “Try the waffle fries” in Mandarin, in case I see their Prime Minister or something. Why, where are you guys going?
Person: San Diego. Probably head to the San Diego Zoo, go to the beaches, water parks, whatever.
Other person: No offense, but I feel like you can do that anywhere.
Person: Wasn’t my idea. Hey, can you bring me back some motif?