All Day/All Night Yankees

I woke up to a gorgeous day in Tampa on Thursday and before I knew it? Game time. The Yankees were taking on Team Canada at Steinbrenner Field, so off we went in our white Chevy Cobalt whose doors we still can’t figure out how to unlock. Aaargh.

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I’d never been to the ballpark before – only to the old Yankees camp in Ft. Lauderdale years ago – so this was a special treat.
Inside the grounds, Michael started shooting. (No, he didn’t go postal; I’m talking about his camera.)
Here I was with the monument to The Mick.
Our seats were sweet – section 103, lower level – but since we were early for the 1:05 start, I wandered down to the field. (No, I didn’t try to leap the railing and run onto the grass, although I thought about it).
The players had just had a team meeting, I later found out, to discuss the news about A-Rod. I was blissfully ignorant at that moment and stood there hanging over the dugout, trying to catch a glimpse of someone, anyone, so I could yell, “HI! I LOVE YOU!” (Once a groupie, always a groupie.)
At my book party last Saturday, Bill Pintard, former Yankees scout and current head coach of the Santa Barbara Foresters, told me to look for his old buddy Mick Kelleher, the Yankees’ first base coach. He said, “If you see him, just yell, “Santa Barbara!” and he’ll turn around.”
So who popped out of the dugout first? Mick Kelleher.
“SANTA BARBARA!” I yelled.
Mick turned around to look at me (as did the guy sitting in front of the dugout), so I said, “Hey, Bill Pintard says hello!” Mick grinned and asked me how I knew Pintard, and we we talked for awhile. Nice, nice guy.
A few minutes later, Joba, the day’s starting pitcher, stuck his head out and threw a signed ball to a kid. I yelled, “JOBA! GOOD LUCK TODAY!” He waved at me. At least I think it was at me.
Then Edwar Ramirez came out. I yelled, “EDWAR! HOW’S YOUR SHOULDER?” He smiled and gave me the thumbs-up sign. I suppose I should mention that people were turning around to look at me by this time, as if I had a rare and contagious disease. Even Michael sort of hung back, pretending he didn’t know me.
My next trick? I scoped out the fans. Standing near me was a guy in a Navy uniform so I struck up a conversation.
I also interviewed him with my Flip Video camera, and if I can ever figure out how not to cut off people’s heads I’ll post this and the other videos. The Navy guy was a sweetheart. He was just back from Afghanistan and loves baseball (he’s a Braves fan) and came to Steinbrenner Field on his day off to try and get some autographs.
“They told me I couldn’t come down to the dugout,” he said, “but then Phil Coke saw me and told security, ‘Hey, let him come down.’ He was so great and even signed a ball for me.”
Another reason to like Phil Coke.
Here are a couple of other fans I thought were worth a look, both young and old.
This kid was sporting a mohawk (check out his sister’s awe and wonder).
This woman was sporting a pair of Yankees socks. Serious she-fan, no doubt.
We took our seats a few minutes before game time and sat behind this guy – a bona fide Bleacher Creature from the Bronx.
(I’ve got to post the video I took of him. Even with his head cut off it’s funny. He does a practice roll call for some of the new Yankees.)
The game was about to start.
Such a pretty field on a pretty day.
Time for the two anthems: “O Canada” and then ours.
(Notice how I was craning my neck to see which Yankees were paying attention and which weren’t. I was not happy that Melky was joking around with Nunez during both anthems. Show some respect, man!)
Joba took the mound and was instantly horrible. If I were in my living room, I would have booed. He couldn’t get an out and didn’t last an inning. Swell.
Girardi signaled for Albaladejo and that was it. Team Canada scored six runs in the first. The Yankees only got three hits in the game. Obviously, my presence at Steinbrenner Field was not bringing them luck, although the guy sitting behind Michael was happy. He was from Quebec and he kept speaking in French and we kept acting as if we understood what he was saying. Just part of being at the ballpark, eh?
In the seventh inning, I got a call on my cell phone from John Sterling, who wanted to make dinner plans for Saturday night. I said I was at the ballpark, so he found his way down to us and sat for awhile. It was hilarious how
he continued to talk while fans descended on him for autographs. He signed every ball, every program, every napkin and never broke a sweat. He’s been very supportive of the book and cracks me up by quoting directly from it in his deep baritone.
After the game we headed to the Yankees corporate office where the lobby has these displayed in glass cases.
I’d like one for the fireplace mantle in my living room, you know?
We met Jennifer Maggliochetti, who was responsible for getting us our tickets, and thanked her. Her father has been a Steinbrenner family friend for years and got her an internship out of college. Now she runs the tickets operation in Tampa and says it’s a 24/7 job.
While I was commenting on her shoes, which were fabulous leather sandals just like the ones Carrie wore in the “Sex and the City” movie, Brian Cashman walked by. He had that familiar Cashman look: calm but on the verge of a breakdown. I asked Jen about A-Rod and she said, “I just heard. Who knows what’s next?”
Who knows is right. A cyst in a hip that’s torn. I thought back to the hip cyst photo that resembled a porterhouse steak – the one from a previous post. Now I’m thinking the hip probably looks more like this.
Dinner at an Italian restaurant was the best of all. We met up with a fellow Yankees blogger: Alphonso from “It Is High.” He loves the Yankees but thinks only bad things will happen to them. I’ve never met anyone so charmingly pessimistic. When I mentioned the crisis with A-Rod, he said, “You see that?”


  1. Lissi

    I love the little kid with the mohawk. He is adorable! The Indians have a player on Team Canada. I think his name is Mark/Mike Weglarz or something silly like that. He is a minor leaguer so I know pretty much nothing about him except that he is Canadian and played hickey until his mother told him it wasn’t for hi when he came home with a bloody face.

  2. redstatebluestate

    Wow. So jealous. Jaba MIGHT have waved at you. I’d give anything to have Albert possibly wave at me šŸ˜‰ Great reportage as always! Enjoy your time in the sun! Oh wait… you’re from the sun… and the Yankees are playing… so… I hope it rains? LOL.


    WOW. One of your best blogs yet! Made me feel like I was there too, and thanx to Michael for all the great pix. It was sorta like reading your book all over again in a boiled-down Reader’s Digest kind of way…and all of it good, except the game itself. Ain’t that just like sports for ya…
    Meanwhile, Good Good Luck with today’s book signing and all that. Wish I/we could be there; tried to interest some cuz’ns into showing up, but they live in Osprey (80-odd miles away, mostly odd)…that’s alright, I think you’ll do Just Fine. Enjoy enjoy, and tell us all about it some more (with more great pix)…!

  4. latinyankeerebel

    Awesome post.. I felt as if I was there as well.. all warm and sunny… I want that, now! LOL Ok, so the Yanks lost, no worries, it’s spring training and let’s hope they start the season with the right foot.
    Hope you enjoy your book signing and please post more pics.
    Congratulate Michael on the great shots! Keep on shooting!

    – Lille Marie
    aka latinyankeerebel

  5. crazy19canuck

    Jane – Great post! Good luck at the books signing. Hope there’s a lot of people there!

    Erin – Shhhhh….don’t give it away! LOL!


  6. Jane Heller

    The Navy guy was very cute, Jenn. I wasn’t looking at his tight white pants though. I was trying to be a good reporter. Ha ha.

    We saw that player, Melissa! I think I even remembered him from your blog. Most of the others were unfamiliar to me, even the Yankees rookies.

    It’s not raining, Jeff, so I’ll be getting my wish and seeing CC’s debut in pinstripes tonight….unless the Chevy Cobalt conks out on us. Please, no.

    Thanks, Dave. More pix to come. Good thing Michael knows how to work his camera while I’m still pressing buttons that don’t do anything on mine.

    Erin, I asked that kid if he was a Rays fan! He told me he’s part Native American and wears his hair like that to celebrate his heritage. Sweet.

    Latinyankeerebel, I agree about spring training not counting. But Joba was so bad! He said he felt fine and it was all mechanical. Hopefully, he’ll figure out where the strike zone is. LOL.

  7. Jane Heller

    Canuck, he wasn’t a spy! Well, I guess he could have been. Maybe that Native American story was bogus.

  8. latinyankeerebel

    Hmm… Maybe Joba should start playing Wii… it might help him to get his strike zone, it sure helped me…(well, yeah I actually found the cheats online LOL, but let that be our lil’ secret! hahahaha).


    That WAS a great posting! I forgot to remember to mention how great it is to be at spring training ANYWHERE, ’cause the players are so relaxed, and actually will talk to you or maybe sign a thing or two…and oh yeah, nice weather too.

    Here’s my prediction. If “CC” really stands for “Chevy Cobalt” (ya think?), then how your car performs tonight will forecast how CC does on the mound. So drive CAREFULLY!!

    Oh, and ask Melissa (that Clemson girl) what that Canuck was doing when he played “hickey.” Back in my day…well, nevermind. Oh yeah, by the way I’m a Dukie, so you KNOW that I couldn’t let a Clemson girl get away with that one…!!

  10. raysrenegade

    Better look out, that kids has mixed team bonds. You know where he got the mohawk ( Rays), and he is not afraid to flaunt it.

    Glad they showed you some first class service at the game by taking you up to the offices. I could never go up there when I was with Pepsi because I would not take my Rays hat off. Geroge used to chuckle about it, but people in the office feared for my life………….not afrid of pencil pushers lol.

    I can’t wait to see the video of the bleacher creature. I have never seen one outside of the Yankee Stadium environment.

    Rays Renegade

  11. redstatebluestate

    Here’s to wishing the Cobalt (and C.C.) good luck! And p.s… I voted for you over on the Max blog and I’m officially halfway through your book. (Reading slow because my busy schedule as a gigolo [among other things] allows me only a few minutes a day to get in a good book šŸ˜‰

  12. Jane Heller

    Latinyankeerebel, I’m just hoping CC can find the strike zone tonight. I’m all set with my cheer. He’d better last longer than Joba did.

    I’ll take good care of the (C)hevy (C)obalt tonight, Dave.

    I’m not bringing them luck so far, Julia, but I’m trying. Tonight I’ll be lasering my gaze on CC and forcing him to pitch well.

    Yelling at/to the players is one of those things I can’t control. I get so excited that you’d think I was five years old.

    There were quite a few empty seats, Sue. I was told that the games against the WBC teams aren’t selling as well as those against regular rivals. Don’t ask me why. It was a gorgeous day and baseball is baseball. But I expect a full house tonight against the Tigers.

    I’m being careful with Alphonso, Duque, but he’s hard to resist.

    Renegade, I’ll post the video of the Bleacher Creature but I warn you: I definitely cut off his head for most of it!

  13. Jane Heller

    Your busy schedule as a gigolo, Jeff. LOL!!!! I hope you’re making good money at it. I’ll have to check out the Max Blog to see what you voted for. (I’m afraid to look.)

  14. pinstripepride3

    Those replica trophies were the first thing I saw as I entered the lobby a couple of weeks ago. There are a few more around the stadium. Sounds like you’re having a great time. I wish I was there for an actual game. Thanks for bringing spring training to us.


    You were able to eat while looking at Alphonso?

    Wow, that’s truly an example of intestinal fortitude.

  16. letsgoyankees

    I am so relieved right now about A-Rod. Buster Olney just reported that A-Rod has a 75-80% chance of finishing the season as long is he could deal w/the inevitable pain. That is more than I could possibly have hoped for. And just in case, I heard the Yanks are looking at 3rd base options. PHEW! If A-Rod could play, we really dodged a major bullet!
    I hope C.C.’s on MLB network, I’ve never seen him pitch before. What are your thoughts on the Yankees rotation (as in, if the unthinkable happens and A-Rod’s not there, what will they have to do) and on A-Rod’s chances to play most of the season? Thanks,

  17. scofid

    Hi Jane! Thanks for the great recap of the game against Team Canada. I agree with the comment that you made us feel like we were there with you. I wish I could say that I was in the ‘A-Rod can play through the pain’ camp, but I just don’t think he’ll make it. I’d rather he pursue the surgery now, rather than wait. Enjoy the Chevy Cobalt!


  18. redbirdchatter

    Excellent reporting and pictures. The shot of the field with the bright green grass practically glowing in the sunshine makes me so anxious for the season to start.
    I am impressed with your ability to yell at players. I can’t do it. I freeze up. It’s just like flirting which I can’t do either. My niece tells me I have no game.

  19. letsgoyankees

    By the way, I am not remotely worried about A-Rod. You mentioned previously that it’s to early to call awards so I won’t, but I will say Joba has a real shot at the Cy Young. He is the very least of our worries.

  20. Jane Heller

    Those trophies are impressive, aren’t they, Pinstripe? First things you see when you get off the elevator.

    I just hit the space bar a few times between comments, Joe. Seems to work OK.

    I not only ate, Whitey. I cleaned my plate. Alphonso was an excellent dinner companion. I just held my ears when he started ragging on A-Rod.

    Letsgoyankees, I don’t know that we dodged a bullet. My guess is that A-Rod will have surgery sooner rather than later. Better to get it over with and start the rehab process asap. Watched CC tonight and he looked great. He only pitched the requisite two innings, but I liked what I saw – a professional pitcher who knows what he wants to do out there.

    Scott, I agree completely that A-Rod should have the surgery now. (See above comment.) What’s the point of having him as yet another player who’s not able to give us 100%? I don’t want him limping his way through the season. Doesn’t make any sense to me. They tried the rest and rehab bit with Posada and he ended up having the surgery.

    Thanks, Greg. I hope you get to see the Red Sox at spring training one of these days. You’ll have a blast.

    Kathy, I honestly don’t know where the nerve comes from regarding being able to yell stuff at the players. Something just takes over me and I find myself acting like a five-year-old.

    I like the kid too, Tom. He had style and attitude!

  21. Jane Heller

    I’m having dinner with John in about a half hour, Aaron. Will tell him he has a fan who roots for the Indians!

  22. Abby

    Phil Coke also signed a ball for me–9/21/08–No other Yankee on the field before the game were signing, just taking pics–You couldn’t really blame them, they would be bombarded, but Coke graciously took the time to sign my ball.

  23. Jane Heller

    Your story makes me like Coke even more, Abbyrose. Thanks for sharing it. He must be a good guy!

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