Don Mattingly, whom some consider the best all-around player in baseball, has yet to play in a post-season game. And he may not this season, either, since the Yankees and Red Sox are chasing after the Detroit Tigers in the American League East and the New Yorkers have been losing ground lately. Perhaps the growing frustration with his team's flagging performance, as well as his own, was behind Mattingly's recent verbal outburst, in which he lashed out at team owner George Steinbrenner in an unguarded moment.
Steinbrenner's name was never mentioned, but his actions have clearly bothered the all-star first baseman, who said the Yankee players ``get no respect around here. They give you money, that's it. Not respect. Money is not respect.''
Money can't buy you love, obviously, at least not in a Yankee clubhouse, where Mattingly's sentiments are shared by others who sense the owner's public criticisms, if not necessarily unmerited, are not constructive, either.
Mattingly, who said he spoke from his heart but didn't intend to ``start anything,'' is keenly aware that the Yankees have consistently come up short in recent times.
Though a perennial contender, the club has never finished better than second in the AL East since Mattingly arrived in 1984, even with such talented veterans as Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson, and Dave Righetti in the cast.
Steinbrenner doesn't take kindly to any suggestion that he disrupts the club. ``I'm not making errors on the field, I'm not leaving men stranded in scoring position time and time again,'' he said in rebuttal after the Yankees had lost 3 of 4 games to the lowly Seattle Mariners. Coaches with staying power
The fortunes of the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers have declined, but their coaches have not fallen. Tom Landry and Chuck Noll will call on a combined 49 years of National Football League coaching experience when their teams meet Sept. 4 in Pittsburgh's home opener.
Landry enters his 29th year with the Cowboys, a long run equalled only by Curly Lambeau, who coached the Green Bay Packers from 1921 to 1949. Noll is in his 20th with the Steelers.
That Landry and Noll enjoy the longest tenures of any current pro coaches, including those in basketball, baseball, and hockey, is partly a testament to the faith placed in them. Their careers, after all, began dismally, Landry's when the 1960 Cowboys went 0-11-1 in the team's first season, and Noll's when the 1969 Steelers went 1-13. Eventually, though, they met in the Super Bowl on two occasions and have taken their teams to a total of nine championship game appearances.
Nothing this important is at stake in the coming game. Dallas will be seeking to improve on its league-best Opening Day record of 22-5-1, while Pittsburgh aims to win its 100th game in Three Rivers Stadium.
Both teams have been pretty lackluster the last two years and would like to get out quickly. The Cowboys, who shipped Tony Dorsett to Denver because he was unhappy backing up Herschel Walker, are coming off back-to-back losing seasons. The Steelers barely avoided the same plight by squeezing out an 8-7 record last year. Baseball's transcontinental link
Despite playing in separate divisions, on separate coasts, the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox form one of the coziest rivalries in baseball. What ties them together are four players, who once enjoyed big years in Boston, but now wear the green and yellow of Oakland.
The return of Carney Lansford, Dave Henderson, Don Baylor, and Dennis Eckersley gave last weekend's 3-game series in Fenway Park the flavor of a reunion. Boston fans certainly hold fond remembrances of each player.
In 1978, Eckersley became the first Red Sox pitcher in seven years to win 20 games. In 1981, as Boston's third baseman, Lansford won the American League batting title with a .336 average. Henderson secured a permanent place in Boston's rich sports lore in 1986, when his post-season heroics included a pair of home runs that turned around a nearly lost playoff series against California and a .400 World Series batting average. Baylor was also a key member of that team. Besides driving in 94 runs and hitting 31 homers, he was a clubhouse leader. Field hockey not his game
Colorado recently paid tribute to more than 75 of the state's past and present Olympic athletes at a luncheon in Denver. The oldest individual saluted was 77-year-old William W. Boddington, who said he wasn't too proud of the bronze medal he'd won at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
Boddington was a member of the United States soccer team, but he and his teammates were thrust into playing field hockey in L.A., since soccer had been temporarily taken off the Olympic agenda. Only three countries played field hockey, however, ensuring the US of a medal despite crushing defeats by India, 24-1, in which Boddington scored the only American goal, and to Japan, 9-2.