Arriving in Yankeeville

After driving for nearly four hours across the state of Florida, I finally crossed over into Yankees territory and checked in to the Renaissance Vinoy in St. Pete late this afternoon. 
Why didn’t I book a hotel in Tampa this year? Because I had such fond memories of the Vinoy from 2007 when I was following the Yanks around the country for the She-Fan book. I was staying here when they clinched the wild card spot at the Trop…when they had their champagne celebration…when they bounced back from an abysmal start to the season and made it into the playoffs after all. And the Vinoy is where I saw A-Rod swimming in the pool and my husband Michael had to restrain me from jumping in after him.
Also, St. Pete is closer to Clearwater than Tampa for when we go to the Yankees-Phillies game on Wednesday. What’s more, the Vinoy is a really first class hotel, so why not stay here? The only negative, I figured, was that I wouldn’t run into any Yankee fans until I got to Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday. Wrong. After Michael and I came back from dinner, I said, “Could we just troll the lobby for a sec to see if anybody’s wearing a Yankees cap?” I didn’t wait for an answer. I just trolled.
Well, the lobby wasn’t quite as empty as it is in the photo, but all the convention goers were gone. So were the guests for the wedding that had been taking place outside our window. But it was pretty quiet. I was about to give up hope of finding a kindred spirit when – a miracle! – I spotted a girl in a Yankees cap. I rushed right over and met Danielle, whose father had driven her all the way down to Florida from New Jersey, just so she could see the Yankees at spring training. Now that’s what I call a good parent. Here’s my chat with Danielle.
She may not be a long-time fan, but she’s dedicated. Seriously dedicated. You go, Danielle!



    Pretty in pink…so you’re Vampin’ At The Vinoy again, eh? How much fun…so glad you survived the flight, the treks over & back across F-L-A…wonderful news about your book talk and audience (and great She-Fan-cam reports — hello, Blogger Barbara Dad)!!
    Also — a personal thanks for rescuing me from ‘The Madness’ for awhile. My & my bride’s schools both won their hoops league tourneys & are in The Big Dance — as r your locals, the UCSB Gauchos! An exhausting sports weekend, but with no beisbol 4 me (I’m so ashamed, but confession is good). Glad to get your early reports on Cano & Swish, too, thanx.
    And now, at last, we’ll have in-person Yankee reviews (and more fan reports!) from our Fearless Peerless Reporter…and perhaps a Ballpark Cuisine Update from Sailor Michael? Have good weather, and a couple o’ GREAT games!!

  2. ooaooa

    I guess you didn’t hear about the Steinbrenner family’s new Hotel. They are said to own the new Residence Inn near Lee Roy Selmons Rest. not far from the Stadium. Their Hotel by the Bay has been sold and changed names. I was told all the guest instructors and various players are staying at the Residence Inn and Flemings Steakhouse was said to be the bar of choice. It’s about 5 minutes from the stadium and about 20 minutes from Brighthouse in Clearwater.
    Get to the Field early Tuesday, especially if you want to meet the REAL Yankee fans. There will be people by the practice field by 9am. Someone will sign at some point near the fence that has the autograph openings in it. Gates open at 11 sharp. If you are in the 100’s section seats you can go down to the front row. Go either behind the dugout or just past 1st base for best chances of contact. If you get in right away go into the front row closest to the dugout by 1st base. Hang there right up to game time if the guard dosn’t ask you to move. We acutally sat there for an entire game last week. The big shots never showed up for the seats. If you need some baseballs and don’t want to pay about $30 at the Yankee store, stop at a Sports Authority. They cost about $15 with the case there. There is one on JFK Blvd. around the corner from Westshore Mall. As an attractive blond you will surely have success getting player attention. (Especially if Reggie is around) Wish I was still there to see more games. My first game in th Bronx is April 14th. Enjoy!!!!


    Your comment about Teixiera’s running style made me laugh. He really does look awkward when he’s running. Here’s to Danielle enjoying many more years of Yankee baseball!

    Last night as I was getting into bed, I noticed my pillow speaker for my radio and I was so happy to think that soon I’ll be listening to the games again.


  4. Jane Heller

    I’m definitely enjoying myself in FL, Elizabeth. People here keep saying how cold it’s been, but it’s still warmer than CA so I’m happy. The sun is shining and today’s a day off. No complaints from me!

    HAHA, Mike. I did do ambush reporting from the lobby last night. I even tried to interview the female bartender in the lobby bar. She said she’d worked at the Vinoy for 16 years, so I said, “Wow. You must have met your share of baseball players. Would you do an interview with me?” She recoiled in horror and said, “Management would frown on that.” LOL.

    Thanks, Shaun!

    So you’ve been buried in March Madness, Dave? You’re not alone, obviously. I’m just so oblivious to all that since I don’t follow college basketball, but it sounds exciting. Yes, Michael’s all set to offer his thoughts about the “cuisine” at Steinbrenner and Bright House Fields. Nancie, who was featured on the She-Fan Cam in yesterday’s post, said she LOVED the foot long hot dogs at Steinbrenner Field and suggested Michael would too. We shall see.

    You did tell me about the Residence Inn, John. But we really love the Vinoy so it was always our preference for this trip. I don’t collect signed balls, but I will be sure to follow your advice and get to the games early enough to poke through the crowd and try to at least scream “Hey Jeterrrrrr!” and have him glance in my direction. LOL. Michael will have his fancy camera and I’ll have my little She-Fan Cam, so we’re bound to get something fun. Can’t wait.

    I was surprised when Danielle said Tex was her favorite, Melissa. Not because he isn’t an amazing player. Just because girls her age usually say Jeter or Swisher or, in the good old days, Melky. I think she’s the first fan who’s singled out Tex. So glad your pillow speaker will be back in action soon.

    You know, I would LOVE to do just that, Jeff. A She-Fan Cam Dating Site would so be in my wheelhouse. If you can help me set it up, I’ll do it!

  5. Jane Heller

    They’ll only try to kill you if you announce your true identity, Paul. If you go incognito, you’ll be fine. And it’s worth the trip. It’s great here!


    I was just reading the weekly memo from our library system. They had information about a book festival near us, so I went to the web site. They have a whole session about baseball writers and I found one new book that’s about to come out that looks like it would be fun:
    90% of the Game Is Half Mental: And Other Tales from the Edge of Baseball Fandom (Paperback) by Emma Span – a she-fan!

    The other authors are Mike Vaccaro, Dan Valenti, Bruce Weber, and Tim Wiles.

    Too bad you’re not coming Jane! I would have gone to the festival.

  7. Jane Heller

    Too bad indeed, Melissa. Those are just the kind of book festivals I love, so I’m sorry I didn’t know about it and they didn’t know about me! Emma has had a blog for quite a while, and in fact her book (it had a different title, originally) had been scheduled for release at the same time as mine last year. I’m glad for her it’s finally coming out.

  8. Jane Heller

    You must be jumping out of your skin, jojovanb. Maybe the fact that the Saints won the Super Bowl will be a lucky omen for the Siena Saints? I always grasp at omens and superstitions when playoffs come over, so don’t mind me. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for your team!

    Happy Birthday in advance, Jenn. Don’t be mopey. I know you wish you were here in Florida, but you’ll love the video I’m posting tonight. I met a Phillies fan in downtown St Pete and she was quite entertaining. You’ll enjoy her.



    On a baseball off-day, I’m glad to see that Dave and his daughter brought some Big Dance talk into the neighborhood. Dave didn’t mention the schools, but since he said both teams won their conference championships, it’s clear we’re not opposing each other in the first round.

    My Siena Saints are flying to Spokane to play Purdue on Friday afternoon. The good news is that the NCAA sent them so far away, I don’t have to wrestle with myself on trying to find a way to get to the game. The bad news is that too many “experts” are giving us a chance to win that first round game. As a 13 seed, how can we sneak up on a #4 with those ESPN guys showing our pictures to everybody?

    I was a lot more confident last year when we were looking at a David and Goliath matchup against Ohio State (smallest school in the tourney playing the biggest). To make matters worse, Purdue has a star player who’s injured. That biblical mano-a-mano came out the way it did because David had a strategy to use against the big guy, but now we have to play against all those Philistines. Here’s hoping something works for Siena and that Dave, his daughter and I will all still be absorbed with March Madness on the weekend.

    If not, Go Yanks.


    Jane, I am so happy that you are safely in Florida (after your trip from Hell) and enjoying the book talk and meeting other She-Fans. That Danielle was a sweetheart and I so understand her love of Tex. He turned into my favorite Yankee last year after his first gymnastic split to field a ball at first! I look forward to your reports from Steinbrenner Field.
    Hey jojovanb27 – I’m from the Capital District, and more specifically teach at a Shaker High School. We are all cheering for Siena! My alma mater, Illinios, wasn’t fortunate enough to make it this year, but I so hope Siena can win at least two rounds!

  11. raysrenegade

    While you are there you might want to ask the Vinoy staff about the “ghosts”.
    Some people have said it is a unfair advantage to the Rays since it is the perferred MLB Visiting Team hotel for game against the AL East foe.
    More than a few wild thing have happened in that great hotel….even after the massive reconstruction when Marriott bought it.
    Sleep tight.

    Rays Renegade


    returning to a hotel from 07 makes me nervous. after all 07 ended quite poorly with the evil sox happy. i love that i can call them the evil sox because there is no way my husband is reading this site. although he did see the post of my dad!
    but trolling for yankee fans is an awesome pastime. every summer we go hiking in a national park and i am always trolling for yankee fans–bottom of canyons, tops of mountains, i am drawn to yankee hats. my husband walks away but i make friends and sometimes get info since our trips almost always involve no tv.

  13. Jane Heller

    Kathleen, yes I made it here! We’re having a great time and we haven’t even been to a game yet. But tomorrow night is fast upon us and I can’t wait. I don’t think the game is being televised for some reason, so I’ll try to provide a good summary. Wasn’t Danielle adorable?

    I believe you about the ghosts at the Vinoy, Renegade. So much history there. And when we checked in yesterday, there was a large photo of Babe Ruth in the lobby with the old press clipping about his “transfer” from Boston to New York. Kind of spooky great!

    Barbara, don’t forget that the Yankees stay at the Vinoy every year when they play the Rays, including last year when they WON. So don’t be nervous! I love that you’re always trolling for Yankee fans too. Lol.

  14. raysrenegade

    Jane, if you go out in your car towards the west to that first light (Beach Drive) and turn left (South) and go to Central Ave ( about 4-5 blocks) at that stop sign if you tuen right (West) you will immediately on your right side (North) see the Ponce De Leon Hotel.
    Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth used to own the penthouses on the top floor of the building when the Yankees trained in St. Petersburg after moving here from New Orleans to keep Babe Ruth out of the clubs and brothels.
    Just some more history from a sleepy town you would not even think about for baseball…..before 1998.

    Rays Renegade

  15. Jane Heller

    I saw the Ponce De Leon yesterday while we were taking a walk, Renegade! In fact, I turned to Michael (knowing nothing about Babe and Gehrig and your comment) and said, “Oh! That place looks so interesting. Maybe we should have stayed there!” Love this town.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s