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‘New York Vinnie’ Richichi stops by the Dori Monson Show

New York Vinnie visits his old pal Dori Monson. (Dori Monson Show)

A special guest stopped by the Dori Monson Show on Thursday — “New York Vinnie” Richichi came to visit his old pal.

While their topics may be very different — Vinnie spends his time on the air talking cars on Drivetime, not watchdogging government like Dori — the two buddies used to bond over a love of sports as they worked together on Mariners pregame shows in the 1990s.

Though Vinnie spent almost the entire past decade in Pittsburgh, he could not help but return to Seattle, a place he loves.

“I missed it here so much, I really did,” he said. “I wanted to come back here because I have friends here … this is home, I had the best years of my life here.”

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Plus, he added, when Dori becomes governor, he has his eye on a position in the gubernatorial staff.

But last weekend, New York Vinnie experienced a less-pleasant side of life in the Puget Sound that has unfortunately become all too common for residents in the time that he was away. While watching a Seahawks game in Ballard, his car was broken into and a treasured toiletries bag was stolen.

“Women have purses, we have these sundry bags, and this bag had been with me since 1994, so it had been with me to the Mariners playoffs, it had been all over — everywhere that I’ve traveled the last 30 years, that bag went with me,” he said. “And I didn’t think about it right away, but I started to think about how personal that one bag, that piece of leather, was to me.”

During a difficult divorce, whenever he regularly flew to California to see his daughter, he carried his toiletries in this bag. It also traveled to Alaska, Cuba, the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup finals, and about 25 Bruce Springsteen concerts. Whenever he was feeling depressed and going through tough times in life, the familiar, comforting sight of that bag was enough to put a smile on his face.

“If you lose it, it’s one thing — but to have it taken from you like that,” he said. “The meds you can replace, the shaving cream you can replace … but the sentiment. There’s not another bag like that, because that bag saw me go through many different times in life.”

It reminded Dori of the time he lost his most beloved possession, a baseball glove that his one-time little league coach had bought him when he could not afford one. He agreed that having an item stolen is perhaps even worse than losing it, especially knowing that the thieves don’t recognize something that has little material value but all the sentimental value in the world.

“We now accept the things in life that 10 years ago or 15 years ago we wouldn’t have accepted,” Vinnie said. “We wouldn’t [have accepted] that the cops wouldn’t come out to take a report because at least if you reported it to the cops, you felt like, ‘Okay, I told someone. I had five minutes with a cop and I feel a little better. They’ll never find it, but who knows?’ But instead, you get nothing now.”

Vinnie’s new mission is to get new policies enacted that show Washingtonians that they matter — and his first step is to get law enforcement departments the resources they need to respond to property crime reports.

“We’ve got to figure out a way — Monson for governor — to make people feel like they’re worth something again,” New York Vinnie said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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