Dear readers, you may have noticed that this blog has slowed down quite a bit over the winter. While I wish I could revive it on a more positive note, I have to break the recent silence with the bad news that Bucs founder and former general manager Dennis Mattingly is fighting for his life. He has been released from the hospital but is still in guarded condition.
All I know is through a pair of brief Facebook messages, via the Anchorage Bucs page, stating the above and asking for fans of the Bucs and the ABL to post their thoughts and prayers. The comments are being passed along to Mr. Mattingly and, according to the statement, seem to give him a bit of cheer during this dark time. I’d really urge everyone to like the Bucs on Facebook and leave a comment for Dennis.
I’d also like to take a moment to share some thoughts of my own. I always feel awkward writing these types of things, like I am way under qualified to write about such a serious matter. But I would feel even worse if I remained silent, so here goes.
I have never met Dennis Mattingly face to face. I have seen him around, and maybe he’s seen me, but I tend to keep my distance with people of his role as I feel that the ballpark is their workplace and playing amateur scout/sportswriter on the internet doesn’t make me someone who’s qualified to interrupt them while they’re working. That being said, if a more casual situation should ever arise where I could shake hands and have a chat with him, well, he’s definitely high on my list of people that I’d love to do so with.
Mattingly founded the Bucs over 30 years ago and has been at the helm until this offseason, when his health forced him to hand the reigns off to former Oilers GM Shawn Maltby. To think of all the players who have worn Bucs Black & Gold under his leadership is staggering. This man has helped hundreds of players chase their dream, and more than a few actually catch it. Mattingly hasn’t just made an impact on Anchorage, or Alaska, or the ABL, but the game of baseball as a whole, at every level up to and including the highest level, and he’s done it by touching the lives of young players at a pivotal time in their lives.
Obviously the prognosis for Mattingly must not be stellar or else all of this wouldn’t be happening. But this is the farthest thing from a premature eulogy anyone could write. If there’s one thing the man has a reputation for, it’s for being a fighter. If he’s set his sights on something, he’s found a way to make it happen. As the story goes, the Bucs weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms when they got into the Alaska baseball scene, but that didn’t stop DM the GM. And as many of you probably know, this isn’t his first bout with health problems, and he’s managed to keep on going throughout the years despite all of it. What’s kept him going? I don’t think anyone gets rich in this league. The only thing I can think of is love of the game. This league has plenty of big personalities, so I don’t mean to slight anyone else, but Mattingly’s battles have been nothing short of legendary. On top of all that, I know he’s got a lot of people in his corner who are pulling for him right now, and I’d be honored to be considered one of them.
Please, if you haven’t already, check out the Bucs on Facebook and leave a message for Dennis. Thank you.