Hitting Coach Purely A Moot Point

Applaud him for hitting .307 with 222 homers and 1,099 RBI in a stellar career, all of which were with the Yankees. Applaud him for swiping the 1984 battling title, grasping the league's MVP award the following season, and collecting nine Gold Glove awards at first base during his time. Yet, don't think for one minute that you're going to be applauding Don Mattingly for making you forget about the Bronx Bombers 2003 post-season hitting woes.

A hitting coach, especially for the Yankees, is meaningless. Bottom line.

The organization announced on Tuesday afternoon that old number twenty-three, Don Mattingly, will replace Rick Down as the Yankees instructor.

"It was kind of a unanimous decision," Mattingly said to the Associated Press.

The position, the same being applied to any of the other team twenty-nine teams in the league, is more of a psychological aid to a player than it is one that makes a significant contribution to changing one's technique.

Donnie Baseball, what's your take on it?

"Each guy is an individual. All these guys that are here are already successful," said the Yanks 10th Captain during a WFAN interview on Tuesday. "They are already in the big leagues and you're kind of, hopefully, just keeping them in the right path."

These are established Major League Baseball players who are making millions, not ten-year-old Johnny who doesn't know the correct way to grip an aluminum bat.

Over the years, the position has been nothing more than a personal punching bag for owner George Steinbrenner. Just go right on down the line and ask, most recently, the likes of Gary Denbo and Chris Chambliss.

Over the course of the last season, how many times did you hear Rick Down being ridiculed for the reason why Alfonso Soriano was swing at pitches inside Yankee Stadium closer to the Pacific Ocean than the strike zone?

Players in today's game find what works and rarely derail from it. After being acquired from the Angels prior to the 2002 season, the Mets were disgruntled when Mo Vaughn was using ex-Red Sox instructor Mike Easler for advice and they felt he was undermining the staff the organization was employing.

Jason Giambi -- who owns a .302 career average and 269 homers in 9 seasons -- made over eleven million this past season and you honestly believed he was going to seriously listen to what Rick Down had to say?

It's obvious that Bobby Alejo, his personal trainer, has more input.

Mattingly is your archetypal Yankee "warrior" and more. He deserved a shot at the position, undoubtedly, but his role won't be much larger than the .140 average the Yanks managed to hit with runners in scoring position during the World Series.

E-mail analyst Christopher Guy at CGGuy86@Yahoo.com

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