It won’t take you very long to figure out that this video is a few years old (I’m guessing circa 2018), but I don’t care – it’s new to me and I love it, and I think you will love it too. Simply put, this is a warm and fuzzy, feel-good story that I would gladly share regardless of who it was about. Having said that, the story just so happens to be about Evansville native Don Mattingly, so you KNOW I’m gonna tell you about it.

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The story begins back in 1988 when I young man named Jay Handy was battling cancer and was part of the Make-A-Wish program. The 9-year-old was a huge fan of the New York Yankees, and his wish was to attend a Yankees game, sit in the Yankees dugout and meet his favorite player – Don Mattingly. In case you didn’t know, there weren’t too many Yankees players that were more popular than Donnie Baseball back in the ‘80s. Well of course his wish was granted and he got to meet his childhood idol, and the heartwarming encounter was captured on tape – yes, I mean actual VHS tape.

The story continues 30 years later, and Jay is a grown man with a family of his own, and they are attending a Florida Marlins game. Since 2016, Don Mattingly has been the manager of the Marlins. Jay’s family had arranged a special 40th birthday surprise, a long-awaited reunion with Don Mattingly. Of course, Mattingly agreed and took some time for a few photo ops with Jay and his crew. Actually, there were two Mattingly’s in the dugout that day – Don, and Jay’s daughter who he named Mattingly (I told you he was a fan).

This story should really come as no surprise for anyone who knows Don Mattingly – we have seen firsthand how big his heart is and how generous he is with time and effort.

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