Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

Today's first athlete run-in story answers a question we've had for a long time: Has Don Mattingly ever not had that mustache? (We were scared enough when Bruce Bochy shaved his.)

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Full story after jump, because it's long, but here's a highlight.

"Can I ask you a question...how long have you had that mustache?" I inquired, genuinely interested.

"Uhh...for a while now. As long as I can remember," hereplied, in what I recognize in hindsight as flabbergastedness.

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We're not sure "flabbergastedness" is a word, but we like it, nonetheless. Enjoy the rest after the jump.

(Oh, and we can't get enough of Donny Baseball's sweater in that photo, by the way.)

Time: Around Midnight. Weekday. Sometime during the 2004 season, I think.
Place: Ray's Famous Pizza, 95th Street and 2nd Avenue, New York City.

So, my BoSox just got done beating the Yankees up in the Bronx while I watched and downed beers at my local watering hole, when a hunger came over me. I decided to drop by the Ray's around the corner for a slice to blanket tomorrow's hangover. As I entered the otherwise empty pizzeria, no indication of the events that were about to unfold could be noticed. Not more than 30 seconds later a guy comes in and asks for a large cheese pizza to be made fresh. He's wearing a Yankees' cap pulled way down, but I can make out that signature mustache.

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I look at him and come straight out and ask, "Are you Don Mattingly?" He grins in a pleased and grateful sort of way. I exclaim to the guy serving us, who I know is from Guatemala with no baseball knowledge, if he knows who this is, as I gesture open-handed to baseball greatness. The pizza guy shakes his head "no." "This is Donny Baseball! MAN!!! This is crazy. Donny Baseball!" I nearly shout as my hand smacks forehead.

"I just got done watching the game an hour ago. That's too bad about tonight. Well...not that bad. I'm a Sox fan," I said pointing to my t-shirt. Donny Baseball nodded, and I immediately realized the error of my ways so I went about correcting it by changing the subject.

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"So...Donny Baseball! I can't say I like your organization, but I've always respected you as a player and coach." No response. Damn! (thoughts: must change subject further.)

"Can I ask you a question...how long have you had that mustache?" I inquired, genuinely interested.

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"Uhh...for a while now. As long as I can remember," he replied, in what I recognize in hindsight as flabbergastedness.

"Wow..." I said while looking around the pizzeria to see if anyone else had entered, so I could share my Donny Baseball moment with someone.

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At that, he promptly told the pizza guy he would wait for the pie in his double-parked car out front. He handed the guy a twenty and said to bring the pizza out when it was ready.

By that time, my slice was placed in front of me and I sat smiling at it, shaking my head, and quietly whispering to myself, "Wow...Donny baseball."

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Athlete Run-In: Chad Johnson's Side Job [Deadspin]

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