My First Night In Yankeeville

Since I flew into Orlando and then drove to Tampa in a really lame Chevy Cobalt (when you step on the gas, it’s like stepping into a bucket of oatmeal), I didn’t get to town until dark – AND got lost trying to find the Marriott, even though there was a big sign that was hard to miss.


But I’m here now and ready to rumble. At dinner in the hotel restaurant, I quizzed the waitress about the Yankees.
“Seen any players come through lately?” I asked.
“Yes, but I didn’t know who they were.” She giggled and explained in a thick accent that she was German, in the states on a work visa. “These big guys came in for breakfast and ordered all this big food. It wasn’t until the other waitresses told me who they were that I got excited.”
Figures. If I’d waited on any Yankees, I would have asked them a million questions.
For example…
Do you prefer sausages with your eggs or bacon?
Scrambled or sunny side up?
OJ or grapefruit juice?
Decaf or regular?
No, not the stuff of Kate Couric, but it’s late and I’m absolutely beat after getting up at 5 am for our cross-country flight out of LAX.
They showed the movie “Four Christmases” with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn, and, with the exception of a few funny lines, I was singularly unimpressed. Even worse were the flight attendants. Seriously. I’ve always met the nicest, most helpful flight crews. But these women were about as friendly as she was.
Tomorrow I’m taking out the video camera and hoping to find some interesting people to talk to – fans and non-fans alike. I hope the citizens of Tampa are ready.
Oh, before I say goodnight, thanks to everyone who guided my plane to safety. There were a few bumps and I drank the usual kerosine to take the edge off. But I survived!


  1. scofid

    Glad to hear that you made it to Yankeeville safely! Have fun at the book signing. Hopefully you’ll bring some luck to the suddenly hapless Yanks. I know, it’s just spring training and it doesn’t mean anything, but a loss is still a loss even if it doesn’t go in the books. A string of recent close losses is no fun…especially when one was dished to you by your Captain. Nevertheless, I’ll be anxious to hear your thoughts about the Yankee bullpen. I know you feel Joe Girardi is better than his predecessor at handling the pen. Joe has been blessed with some very bright and promising talent to go with Mo this year, so it should be fun. Enjoy your trip!


  2. raysrenegade

    Just stay away from the Hard Rock Casino.
    Every time I hit that place, it is midnight before I seem to find the exits.

    If you are in the mood to try something different, there is the Channelside District down by the waterfront that has a great variety of unusual fun. Spilttsville bowling alley……..A dueling piano bar………and one of the biggest IMAX movie theatres around.

    If you want t spend a few dollars on dinner, there is Misen Palce, and of course Bern’s. If you want more than you cna eat family style food…….Selmon’s right off Sheldon. Also on Sheldon is the International Mall, which has its own wild restaurants and bars ( Kahuaville). Have fun today in T-town.

    Rays Renegade

  3. jimmy27nyy

    Good Morning, Jane …

    You are finally on the East Coast !!! … It’s good to see that you had a safe trip to Florida !!!
    Jane, I look forward to your “video interviews” with the people of Tampa, Florida … A great David Letterman type question that you can ask is …
    — Do you think the 3rd [III] should be added at the end of George Steinbrenner’s name, on “George M. Steinbrenner Field” ???
    — I have always thought the Field should have Mr. Steinbrenner’s full name listed …
    “George M. Steinbrenner III Field” has a perfect sound to it !!!
    Have a fun time in Florida, Jane …
    “Best Wishes” for a very successful “Book Signing” !!!
    — Jimmy [27NYY], “BY&L”

  4. Jane Heller

    Scott, I’m trying not to panic about the losses. They’re just spring training and we’re without our WBC stars (plus Posada and Matsui). Maybe I can reverse the tide by cheering very loud! I’m not wild about the bullpen, either, but I think Veras and Bruney will be OK. Edwar’s still on the shelf and who knows about the others, but I think it’ll come together. And there may be a trade in the offing for an arm.

    No Yankees at breakfast this morning, Julia. Rats. Will keep looking though.

    No casino for me, Renegade. We’re having dinner tonight at some Italian place with friends from another Yankees blog who are down here too. But today I’ll be scoping out Steinbrenner Field.

    Speaking of which, I will ask that question, Jimmy. Where is the III in the name of the field? I’ll get to the bottom of it!

    I should have ordered an omelet then, Pinstripe. Maybe tomorrow morning. Hope your room here didn’t have a stopped up drain in the sink like mine. The “engineeer” is on his way up to fix it. LOL.

  5. Jane Heller

    If I can figure out how to use this new camera, I’ll post videos, Sue – a big “if,” given my technical abilities. But that’s the plan.

  6. AJRoxMyWhiteSox

    Glad you made it safely. I’ve heard good and bad about “Four Christmases.” Now I know to avoid it! I remember one particular movie experience. The movie wasn’t the greatest, but it was appropriate. I was flying to San Francisco one Christmas when I was an undergrad, and the flight was delayed for eight hours, and my dad couldn’t make it back to pick me up and re-book my flight. They kept moving us around O’Hare Airport and finally allowed us to board. We took off and the flight attendant told us the inflight movie would be starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. They showed us “Anger Management.”


    Alright, Jane!
    You made it east, cheap plane wine and all. Sorry you got lost enroute to hotel, but late at night with jet lag and all that…just good to get there! Tell us Old Fogey Yankee Fans who’ve never been to the Tampa site what the ballpark is like, too…haven’t seen ’em down in FL since they were in Lauderdale. See if you can find that Tampa restaurant made famous by Yogi, when he said: “Nobody goes there anymore…it’s too crowded.”

  8. Erin Kathleen

    I’m glad your plane landed safely, even if the flight itself wasn’t particularly pleasant. There are worse in-flight movies than “Four Christmases”, though. “Alive” and “Airport” come to mind. Have fun in Tampa and hopefully you’ll bring some good luck to your Yankees!

  9. junojen

    Jane – Have fun in Tampa. As I wrote on my blog, I think you should have a nice porterhouse steak at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa in honor of A-Rod’s hip cyst. His brother says A-Rod will be out for 10 weeks. I wonder what his cousin says??

    Enjoy your time in Tampa.


  10. letsgoyankees

    Oh my God…I just heard about it. The absolute worst thing that could have happened to the Yankees short of a starting pitcher getting hurt.
    A-Rod tore a hip muscle!
    NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I feel like I’m trapped in twilight zone! The Yankees put together this great team in the offseason, and now this!
    Still, I’m trying very hard to remain calm. I realize that he may not necessarily be out on opening day. He MAY be fine. I really, really hope he is…it’s hard to see the Yanks in the playoffs w/no A-Rod helping. Maybe, but in their division?
    I really, really hope he’s all right. If not…What will we do? Thoughts? Ideas?

  11. letsgoyankees

    I’m desperate for solutions…right now I’m hoping and praying is all right. We need him BADLY!

  12. Jane Heller

    “Green flight attendant.” LOL, Kaybee.

    Jeff, it was a truly bad movie IMHO, but it wasn’t torture. Vince Vaughn had a couple of lines that redeemed it from being a total failure. And I’m half gone whenever I fly, so I’m easily amused.

    How perfect, Jen, that they showed “Anger Management” on your plane! What a riot.

    Yes, I made it, Dave! Spent the day at Steinbrenner Field and it’s like a mini-Yankee Stadium. The facade, the colors, the configuration. All similar. I think you’d like it, even though it doesn’t have the minor league flavor of the old Ft. Lauderdale field.

    Jeremy, I did survive – just in time to watch Team Canada crush the Yankees today. 😦

    Erin, seeing “Alive” or “Airport” on a flight would just about do it for me; I’d never get on a plane again! And I haven’t brought the Yankees luck at all so far. (See above comment to Jeremy.)

    The Marriott where I’m staying, Mark, is in sad shape. But the good news is I’m here at spring training and having a blast, even though the Yanks lost today.

    Jen, I went to Bern’s Steakhouse years ago when I was in Tampa on business, and the food was amazing. But I’m trying some new places this time. Will report.

    Letsgoyankees, I know A-Rod’s situation has created a crisis, but I saw Cashman today and he didn’t look any more stressed out than usual. So don’t panic!!! The Yankees have decided against surgery for now and we have to hope that’s the right course of action. If A-Rod is able to play at the level he’s been playing at so far in spring training, we’ll be okay. But honestly, I don’t know what the future holds. Draining a cyst is a temporary solution; it will come back for sure. The labrum tear is a much bigger issue. People here in Tampa don’t seem to be freaking out, but I’ll know more tomorrow.

    No answer, Roundrock, but maybe I’ll go back to the restaurant and interrogate the waitress!

  13. letsgoyankees

    I’m trying to remain calm. I’m being attacked everywhere, though. I’m the lone defender of the Yankees on the comment boards for this article:
    03/05/09 5:35 PM EST

    Cashman: No surgery, yet, for A-Rod
    Procedure necessary, but Yankees GM hopes it can be delayed
    By Bryan Hoch /
    Anti-Yanks have swarmed and are trying to take over. If you, or for that matter anybody who reads this, can help, feel free!

  14. letsgoyankees

    People have joined to help me in the fight. Whew. It’s exhausting being the lone defender of the Yankees…lots of jealous enemies.

  15. Elizabeth D

    Glad that your flight was okay, I know you don’t like flying from your book. I’ll be in Port Charlotte on Saturday seeing the Rays, maybe I’ll try and come up to Tampa? I sure want to meet you. Enjoy your time down here, the weather is so beautiful this time of year. And I hope you meet some Yankees!

  16. Jane Heller

    I will try to get to the bottom of it, Roundrock, but my staff at the She-Fan Detective Agency has bolted for Steinbrenner Field. No help at all.

    I like Reese too, Melissa. I want her hair!

    Good advice for your friend, Kathy. It’s the only way to fly.

    I keep meaning to make time to send updates, King, but it’s after midnight and I’m beat. Long day/night. Will try again tomorrow.

    Glad you got some reinforcements, Letsgoyankees!

    The weather has been gorgeous, Elizabeth. Have fun in Port Charlotte if I don’t see you in Tampa.

  17. Jane Heller

    Beltre? Hmm. I think we’ve been down that road when A-Rod opted out in ’07. The Yankees mulled the possibility of him and Joe Crede. But I’m not going there just yet. I can’t!

  18. ccrbirdbrained

    Kerosene, huh? My airport drink of choice is usually a bloody mary, especially on early flights…it’s like a meal AND a party all wrapped up into one. Once I’m on the plane, gin and tonic does the trick. For some reason beer does not appeal to me while I’m flying. But the absolute best thing to have on a flight is noise-cancelling headphones for your music player of choice. Not that you need them all the time, but when you do you’re SO glad you have them. Earbuds just don’t cut it.


  19. Jane Heller

    I used to do Bloody Marys, Chris, for the very reason you mention – a meal and a party all in one! But I can’t stand their tomato juice or their Bloody Mary mix, so I stick with wine. It gets the job done. I also tried the headphones, but I discovered that I need to hear the plane noises so I can tell if we’re about to crash. 🙂

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