Friday, November 9, 2007

Spurned Mattingly Prime Suspect In Series Of Convenience Store Robberies

Reportedly ID'd by witnesses/baseball fans

Bronx, NY (Nov. 9) - Former Yankees coach Don Mattingly, presumably distraught over not getting the team's managerial job, is the prime suspect in a string of recent convenience store robberies, police say.

"There's no one else, really," police Lt. Dan Gibbons said outside the Stop-and-Go store on Staten Island, which was robbed of about $300 Wednesday night.

Mattingly had interviewed for the Yankees' skipper job after the resignation of Joe Torre. He portrayed himself as the front-runner, but the team hired broadcaster and former Florida manager Joe Girardi -- himself a former Yankees coach -- instead. Mattingly, thru his agent, didn't try to hide his anger and disappointment.

"I'm more of a G--damned Yankee than he is," Mattingly said thru his agent, a family member, and someone over for dinner at the family member's house, shortly after the team introduced Girardi. "I mean, come on -- Joe Freaking Girardi? He was a mediocre catcher, for God's sake. Compare our numbers. Christ!"

In the days after losing out to Girardi -- the 2006 NL Manager of the Year -- Mattingly grew more and more distraught, sources close to him said.

His mental and emotional state have apparently led him to robbing convenience stores. Five robberies have been reported since October 30.

"The suspect's modus operandi is consistent," Gibbons said. "He walks in, wearing a Yankees cap pulled low over his head, and a Yankees warm-up jacket. He pretends to purchase chewing tobacco, then pulls out a small pistol and announces a holdup."

But the announcement's manner is what is leading police to Mattingly, along with eyewitness descriptions of the robber.

"The suspect says, 'Now robbing you -- number 23!' Then he produces the gun."

Mattingly wore #23 as a Yankee player from 1982-95.

Friends of the spurned Mattingly say his feeble attempts to conceal his identity and his announcements mean he wants to get caught.

"Clearly, it's a cry for help," said former teammate Dave Righetti. "Don wants to get caught. Police need to arrest him so he can get the help he so desperately needs."

"This is what happens when you give a Yankee job to a non-Yankee," said Mattingly supporter Bruno Magli, a longtime Yankees fan from Yonkers. "I'm all behind Mattingly. I hope he never gets caught. He's like a bandit now. It's cool."

Gibbons said police hope to flesh out Mattingly by luring him into town with a phony opportunity to manage the crosstown Mets.

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