Yankees legend speaks about donning Jays uniform as team’s new bench coach

By Lindsay Dunn

The Toronto Blue Jays have some of the best baseball players in the world on their roster when it comes to their coaching staff and now, they have added another baseball legend this season. Former New York Yankee, Don Mattingly is now the team’s newest bench coach.

During his 14 years in the MLB, all with the Yankees, Mattingly earned the nickname “the Hit Man” and “Donnie Baseball.” Before joining the Jays, he managed the Los Angeles Dodgers and most recently, the Miami Marlins until last season.

“Spring was a little crazy because I didn’t know anybody and just a different thing .., But the season’s been great. I feel like it’s been a good transition,” Mattingly told CityNews in a one-on-one interview.

While for some Jays and Yankees fans it’s still a bit of an adjustment to see the nine-time Gold Glove winner in a Jays uniform, Mattingly has enjoyed being a second set of eyes for Toronto’s manager John Schneider.

“It’s been fun to work with John, the staff. He does a great job of putting our staff and making it a togetherness. I think he’s a great decision maker. He’s confident in what he wants to do,” said Mattingly.

Mattingly has brought decades of experience to the Jays roster and the players have been soaking in every ounce of knowledge he shares with them. He thinks the team could be very dangerous.

“I think it’s dangerous from the standpoint, it’s up and down, the lineup. I think you look at Bo [Bichette] and Vlad [Guerrero Jr.], it’s almost like a next tier of guys. But there’s a lot of supporting cast here so those guys don’t have to carry the load. I think there’s a number of guys in this lineup …when George [Springer] gets going… so when you start talking about the group, [they] put a lot of pressure on pitchers.

Mattingly added he’s excited to see where they can go.

“It’s been an impressive group … their commitment to want to win. Knowing what happened last year and feeling like they’re a young club but also ready to take the next steps. It’s just been fun to watch this group,” said Mattingly.

Away from the game, the baseball legend has impacted thousands of children’s lives with his foundation that Mattingly created in 2007 that started out originally providing baseball equipment for those who can’t afford it. Mattingly Charities is now helping to provide educational resources and opportunities to underserved youth.

“We’ve really tried to step up the education. We think it’s really important, it’s the only way out for some kids is education. And so, it gets me going a little bit because you see those kids don’t have the opportunities and you really want to give it to them.”

He said making a difference in a child’s life has been very rewarding. “My wife and I have really tried to look at it very simply of like, ‘We’re not trying to be too big or anything else.’ We’re trying to help. We went in saying, ‘If we help one kid, we’re good.’ … And obviously, as you get going, you want to help more and more.”

The Blue Jays, who have dropped seven of their last 10 games, start a three-game home series against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night before heading back on the road to face the New York Mets.

With files from Meredith Bond

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