TRAVELAPALOOZA PART DEUX: MORE NYC
Because it’s almost 1 a.m. central time, I have a morning wakeup call for my flight and I’m not tired yet, what better time to try to catch up a bit on my backlog … just a little bit of Futures Game chat. Since both Jonathan and Joe have also blogged extensively and brilliantly on the event, I don’t need to give you total chapter and verse but can still share my impressions of the day …
Although I am a native New Yorker (which much come as such a shock to people who know me), I am not a diehard lifelong Yankee fan. That said, Yankee Stadium was where I saw my first game, as a little girl holding her parents’ hands and eating popcorn out of a red, white and blue box that, when the popcorn was gone, you could punch out the bottom and turn into a megaphone.
It’s where my dad surprised me for my 18th birthday by bringing me home for a night during the first month of my freshman year of college to go to a World Series game and sent me back to school (Massachusetts) that night in a limo as my birthday present because I had a test the next day and there were no more buses or trains running that late. Quite an awesome 18th birthday present.
It’s where I saw a lot of great baseball players and a lot of great games, with my dad, with my mom, with my aunt (who IS a diehard Yankee fan),
with my friends, with a boyfriend or two along the way and finally with my awesome baseball fan husband (who is a diehard Mets fan but when we got married and lived in NY we’d go to see whichever team was home, maybe 30-40 games a year).
It’s where I went on a memorable vacation with husband, daughter and our dear and awesome friends, the Richards, with their four kids (including triplets) and all went to see the Yankees host the Angels in the summer of 1998. How do I know it was 1998? Because we were at the game where Homer Bush hit his first big league home run. And if you check that link, you’ll see why I remember that. (This picture by the way, of HomeB and my daughter Dana, was not taken that trip but rather an ensuing spring training in Dunedin).
It’s where I made my professional debut on a big league baseball field, at the park when former Fordham ace (and all-around awesome guy that I wish I could get back in touch with) Pete Harnisch pitched there for his home fans with the Orioles.
So while I am not a “bleed pinstripes” kind of girl, and while I totally understand (or profess to) the need to build a brand-spanking-new stadium with the bells and whistles that they don’t have at the House That Ruth Built, I have a problem with one factor of the move: naming the new facility Yankee Stadium.
We walked past it while covering the game and I admit it looks gorgeous from the outside. But the name “Yankee Stadium” is carved into that facade and I think it’s just wrong.
Hey, I am glad they’re not calling it something like Your Bank and Celphone Company’s Name Here Stadium. Or something equally tacky. But couldn’t they have found a classy equivalent that was close but not exact? How about Yankees Stadium? That would work. It would be close. It would even SOUND the same. But there will only be one Yankee Stadium.
Anyhoo … the Futures Game. The weather was gorgeous … hot and sunny. Maybe that doesn’t sound ideal (I wore a black top and skirt and maybe that wasn’t such a smooth move by the Hoove) but it was certainly better than the storms and 10 plagues of Egypt I’d become accustomed to at most events I’d covered this year.
After two years of handling dugout duties in the World dugout, this year I split my time between the two teams, first half of the game in the US dugout and second half on the World side. I love being in the dugouts, being able to do on-the-fly interviews with the players who are having the times of their lives, watch them interacting and goofing around with each other (for example, New York Mets phenom outfielder Fernando Martinez is an absolute pistol … I’ve watched him blossom from a sweet shy teen two summers ago to a charismatic and outgoing delightful young man).
And I got to chat with my old (young) friend who I’ve mentioned in this blog a few times, switch-hitting San Francisco catching prospect Pablo Sandoval who was definitely the prankster of the World dugout.
You see that basepath dirt on his uniform top? That was from an ill-advised and certainly atypical stolen base attempt. But hey, if you can’t try something for fun at an exhibition game where are you going to do it? But as many tools as he has in his toolbox, base stealing probably won’t be one of them (though he does gun down about 50 percent of opposing runners!)
Anyway, all in all, a great day and one that I am sure everyone on hand will remember.
We didn’t get to attend that night’s big MLB.com bash at Roseland though I heard it was quite the place to see and be seen, but it was just as well. My daughter decided she was in the mood for a really good burger (generally she favors chicken or fish over red meat) so we headed uptown to the venerable PJ Clarke’s (much to the envy of my DC-bound husband) for dinner and an early return to our room where we watched “27 Dresses” on pay per view. Pretty much a perfect night in my opinion.
The next morning it was on to Louisville for the Triple-A All-Star Game but that’s another story for another entry.