The latest edition of the MLB Network Presents docuseries was announced on Thursday by MLB Network. Entitled Donnie Baseball, this feature will spotlight the career of Marlins manager (and apparently, former Yankees first baseman) Don Mattingly.

Here’s a trailer.

And here’s a blurb from MLB Network’s release, describing the film.

The program details Mattingly’s transformation from what Buck Showalter described was a “gangly, kind of long necked [player] that kept the bat in the zone a long time,” to a baseball superstar who captured a batting title and an AL MVP award by his fourth season. Mattingly’s relationship with the late George M. Steinbrenner III is explored, from Steinbrenner threatening to trade him in the spring of 1989 to naming him team captain in 1991. Despite the back flareups which constantly plagued the later stages of his career, the program highlights how Mattingly was an influential force behind the Yankees’ revitalization that reached full throttle by 1994 and into 1995. After stating in the film that he would have retired in 1994 if there was no strike, Mattingly plays on to experience one of the Yankees’ most dramatic Postseason moments – hitting a go-ahead home run in Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS at a rocking Yankee Stadium in his first-ever Postseason game, 14 years in the making. With his family as his number one priority, Mattingly gets emotional about the decision to retire following the 1995 season, recalling how his parents were always there for him growing up. Looking back on his career, Mattingly’s says in the film that he only really cared about earning the respect of his peers saying, “I wanted George Brett to think I was a good player.” Brett responds by saying, “If I’m going to be in a foxhole, who do I want with me? Playing against Don Mattingly, he was the guy. In my mind, he’s a Hall of Famer.”

Among those interviewed are Buck Showalter, George Brett, Hal Steinbrenner, Wade Boggs, Bernie Williams, Ron Guidry, Mike Pagliarulo, Michael Kay, Suzyn Waldman, Joel Sherman, Quentin Merkel (Mattingly’s high school coach), and Jay Jaffe.

I’m not a big Mattingly guy, but this falls into the sweet spot of so many areas I look for in a documentary. There will be plenty of archival footage available, plenty of still living contemporaries to be interviewed, and the subject is familiar to fans, but far enough in the past that younger fans need a reminder about his career.

Donnie Baseball premieres on Sunday, April 3rd at 7:30 PM ET on MLB Network.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.