Don Mattingly is pretty pleased right now. He probably just finished a really difficult sudoku or something, one that he has been working on for days, the page worn thin by multiple erasings.
There was probably, like, this one box that he just kept thinking was a seven — he just knew it was a seven — so he had to rearrange all the other boxes several times to accommodate this certainty. But at times he had to erase the seven, too. For the good of the sudoku, maybe he had to entertain the thought that the box wasn’t a seven, that maybe he was just becoming a crazy old man.
Probably on more than one occasion over the last few days, because he kept trying to solve this sudoku while getting dressed, Don Mattingly put his underwear on backwards. Also, I bet he sat to pee so as to afford himself more time to work on the puzzle. He maybe got eraser scraps in his pubes.
His pencil’s eraser was worn down to the metal. There probably were times in the last few days, in the middle of the night maybe, when Don Mattingly would wake up and think,
If I don’t finish this soon, I will have to get a new pencil. Or maybe a cap eraser. I effing hate those cap erasers: they always crack or fall off the pencil and get lost before you can get any real use out of them. And I hate using up a pencil’s eraser before the pencil is anywhere near used up. I hate that; that’s such a waste. I wish pencil’s came with bigger erasers. Or maybe I just need to get better at sudoku, make fewer mistakes. Maybe I just need to get better at life.
It’s possible Don Mattingly had the humility and mental fortitude to then let go of the stubborn thought about the seven, and that he had resolved himself to focus on another part of the puzzle. Maybe he felt emasculated, giving up on the seven; and, at times, maybe he even came close to giving up on the whole damn thing. We can’t know for sure, but maybe Don Mattingly just had to dig deep and find it within himself to saddle up again. Get off the sad saddle and get back on that sudoku saddle, Donny boy, is what I like to think Don Mattingly thought to himself at one point, which would have been a dark hour for Don Mattingly.
But tonight, as his team hosts the Cincinnati Reds, Don Mattingly finally solved that sucker, and you know what? That one square was a seven! He knew it all along!
I think that is really the only explanation that I am willing to accept for how Don Mattingly can appear so pleased right now.