Tagged: Tampa

The Nominees For The 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette (WINNER UPDATE)

I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Twitter last year. I figured the last thing I needed was yet another social networking site, having already jumped into the Facebook experience as well as interacted with other baseball fans on this blog. But something surprising happened after my first few tweets: I fell in love with Twitter. I enjoy the immediacy of it, the brevity, the ability to read what everybody’s talking about all over the world, the rush of learning breaking news before it appears elsewhere, and, of course, the chance to connect with a whole new cast of Yankee fans. 
Thanks to Twitter, I got to meet face to face with several of those fans, some of whom were gracious enough to submit to the She-Fan Cam. I present their videos to you now and ask you to take a look at these four terrific women and vote for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Here they are…
(Drum roll)
1) Amanda (Twitter name @amandarykoff). Back in January, she was visiting her newborn nephew in Santa Barbara and stopped by my house for a “tweetup” – my very first. She discussed football in the video – a subject that would normally make my eyes glaze over – but she was so entertaining and enthusiastic about it that I wasn’t bored in the slightest. She really knows what she’s talking about, doesn’t she?
2) Stephanie (Twitter name @stephsamps). I was in Tampa for spring training in March, and she and I had arranged a tweetup at Steinbrenner Field. It was an unseasonably cold night in Florida and I was shivering and ready to bolt. She, on the other hand, was happily telling me all about her sightings of players whom she gets to see often since she lives there. There’s no question she loves her Yankees.
3) Denise (Twitter name @SunnySoCal). She and I had been tweeting about how we wanted to meet up at a Yankees-Dodgers game in LA in June. So she drove up from San Diego and I drove down from Santa Barbara and we sat together and had a blast, even though the Yankees lost. (A.J. had one of his meltdowns.) To say that she has a crush on A-Rod is an understatement, but she showed remarkable restraint in the video.
4) Gayle (Twitter name @gcf123). She’s a season tickets holder at the Stadium – lucky girl – so it was no fluke that she was there the September day I was at the game and we finally got to meet. How she manages the country’s top musical artists and travels around the country with them and yet still finds time for her Yanks is a testament to her fandom. She made some very accurate predictions in the video, btw.
So there you have it – the nominees for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Can you pick a winner, people? Even those of you who aren’t Yankee fans? Yes, of course you can. And this time only ONE VOTE per customer. None of this, “But I like two of them.” Just one!
Next up will be the big showdown for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Best Yankee Fan Video Period. Get ready for a very tough field.

After a day of voting, we had a three-way tie between Denise (@SunnySoCal), Amanda (@amandarykoff) and Gayle (@gcf123) for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Golden fans go out to each of them!
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You liked all four nominees, naturally, but in the end this race was almost too close to call. So congratulations to Denise, Amanda and Gayle and thanks to Stephanie too. You were all such great interview subjects. You guys rock.

Hanging Out in Tampa/St. Pete

Yesterday morning I woke up to another chilly, windy day, but the sun was shining and I was so happy to be in the vicinity of actual Yankees. 
My husband Michael went down to the lobby of the Vinoy to get some coffee. When he came back to the room, he said casually, “I just saw Nick Johnson.”
“Excuuuuse me?” I said. I mean, what would Nick Johnson be doing in the lobby of the Vinoy at 8 am? Granted, the Yankees had an off day, but still. The Yankees don’t spend spring training staying at hotels in St. Pete. “Are you sure it was Nick?”
“Not really.”
“On a scale of one to ten, how sure are you?”
“Maybe a two.”
“In other words, it wasn’t Nick Johnson. It was just a tall, balding guy, and you’re getting me all excited for nothing.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
Oh, well. We spent the afternoon sightseeing in downtown St. Pete. I was strolling along in my Yankees cap when a woman said as she was passing me, “So you’re a Yankee fan.” I smiled and said, “Yes! Are you?” She gave me a withering look and said, “Nooooo.” It turned out she’s a Phillies fan who also roots for the Rays. We bonded over baseball despite our different team allegiances, and I asked if she’d take a sec to talk to you via the Cam. Here’s Gloria.
See? I told you it was windy. I hope it dies down for tonight’s game against the Astros, or we might see a lot of balls hit out of the park. Not a bad thing if it’s the Yankees doing the mashing.
Speaking of food, Michael and I drove to Tampa for dinner at Maggiano’s Italian restaurant, since John, Friend of the Blog, commented the other day that he saw Ramiro Pena there. 
There weren’t any Yankees in attendance, but we had a terrific Yankee fan waiter named Andrew who told us where the Yanks do eat – and when. What’s more, after serving us portions of food that would have fed a family of ten, he took a short break and submitted to the She-Fan Cam. It was extremely noisy in the restaurant, so you might have trouble hearing him, but give it a shot.
Some highlights in case you missed them:
He saw CC and Joba having dinner two nights ago while at his other job at a hot new eatery in South Tampa called Cheap.
Apparently, they’re a twosome. He said that other, better known twosome, Jeter and Posada, often have dinner together at P.F. Changs – especially on Wednesday nights.
He said the construction on Jeter’s 30,000 square foot house on Tampa’s Davis Island is now finished and the Captain has moved in…which prompted me to ask if he’d seen Minka around. Check out his reaction.
Oh, and he said Damon wasn’t much of a tipper. LOL.
A big thanks to Andrew for turning his back on all his customers just to be on this blog. Just kidding. He was a sweetheart.
More later from Steinbrenner Field. Go Yankeeeees!

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!

A Great Day At The Library

What could be more fun than talking about baseball and the Yankees? I’ll tell you what: meeting other similarly rabid fans – plus a fellow author.  Yesterday was “Baseball @ the Blake,” which was the name of the program at Stuart’s Blake Library.
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The author who preceded me, Lew Paper, gave a terrific talk about his book about Don Larsen’s perfect game.
What stories! I thought I knew all there was to know about the game in which Larsen, the unlikeliest of Yankee heroes, shut down the Dodgers in the World Series. But Paper interviewed all the pertinent characters and has created a tale well worth reading. When he was finished it was my turn to speak – but not before I was greeted by Harold, a friend of this blog and the father of Barbara, who comments here frequently. Harold drove all the way up from Boynton Beach to hear me speak; I was very flattered. It’s so gratifying to meet people whose names I’ve come to know so well. Here’s Harold on the She-Fan Cam right before I got up to the stage to speak. I wish I could have spent more time with him.
I spoke for about 30 minutes – about the She-Fan book, the blog, the Yankees – and then took questions. One of the audience members had a funny story about being an eight-year-old she-fan whose father caught a foul ball and had it signed by two prominent Yankees – and what she did with the ball. Here’s Jackie during my book signing in her own words.
Also during my book signing, I got to meet and talk to Nancie, who told me she reads this blog every day as well as my Tweets. She took a somewhat circuitous route to being a Yankee fan. I’ll let her explain.
After the event at the library, I spent the evening with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Great food, great company and a great welcome back to Stuart, where Michael and I lived for seven years. And now, today, it’s on to Tampa. Yankees, here we come.

I’m Flying to Florida….Why?

Actually, this radar shot of Florida’s “Treasure Coast” doesn’t look that bad. But they had 11 tornado warnings today with plenty of flooding and heavy thunder storms and more predicted for tomorrow in Orlando….where my plane is supposed to land.
As anyone who’s read the She-Fan book knows, I’m a huge coward when it comes to flying, so I’ll be in panic mode if we land in a storm. On the other hand, the people on “Airplane” made it out alive, remember?
Even the Yankees-Braves game in Tampa tonight was rained out, so we were deprived the pleasure of seeing A.J. pitch. And what’s all this about Jeter having the same flu that took down Joba and others? Can’t they use this in the clubhouse and dugout?
Or how about these?
All I know is:
I want to get to Orlando in one piece.
I want the sun to come out on Saturday for my talk at the library in Stuart.
I want the sun to stay out during my week in Tampa.
I don’t want to hear the word “rain out.”
I don’t want to hear the words “Jeter was scratched from the lineup.”
I don’t want to hear the words “A-Rod lied to federal investigators.”
I do want everything to go smoothly on this trip, so I can post happy videos with the She-Fan Cam. Think good thoughts for me, please????

The Battle in Tampa: Joba Vs. Huuuughes

No, there won’t be a tiger in the arena, although you never know with the Yankees. Busch Gardens isn’t far from Steinbrenner Field.
In any case, the debate isn’t just about whether Joba should be a starter or reliever anymore. It’s about whether he or Phil Hughes will excel in spring training and seize the #5 spot in the rotation. Only one of them will win the job, with the other going to the pen. What will happen? Will they fight it out until Opening Day? Or will one have vanquished the other by mid-March?
I’ve gone back and forth so many times on this subject that I honestly don’t know what to think. I prefer Joba as Mo’s setup guy, but Hughes was great in the 8th during the regular season. Here’s Mike Puma’s post. What do you think?

Chamberlain ready to fight for rotation spot

Comments: 7

Last Updated: 8:01 PM, January 31, 2010

Posted: 2:59 AM, January 31, 2010

Joba Chamberlain’s eyes are set squarely on the fifth spot in the Yankees’ rotation.

The right-handed pitcher told The Post last night that he will arrive in Tampa next week — well before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report for spring training — with the idea he’s a starting pitcher for 2010. Team brass has told him to have that mindset.

But Chamberlain also said he isn’t taking anything for granted knowing that Phil Hughes and Alfredo Aceves, among others, are chasing the same carrot.

“I’m going to go in and understand a lot of guys are fighting for that spot,” Chamberlain said after an autograph signing in New Rochelle in conjunction with Steiner Sports. “Nothing is guaranteed.”

Hughes is Chamberlain’s primary competition for the final spot in the Yankees’ rotation behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez.

Hughes pitched effectively from the bullpen last year, mostly in a setup role for Mariano Rivera, and Chamberlain had a shaky season as a starter, finishing 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA as he faced an innings limit toward the end of the season. Chamberlain spent the postseason in the bullpen, leading to speculation he and Hughes, who struggled most notably in the ALCS and World Series, might trade places in 2010. That could still happen, as Hughes is expected to receive a long look for the rotation.

Chamberlain said he’s most excited about the addition of Vazquez, whom the Yankees obtained last month in a trade with the Braves that included Melky Cabrera.

Vazquez pitched for the Yankees in 2004 and struggled, leading to his departure after surrendering a grand slam to Boston’s Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the ALCS.

“I think Javier Vazquez is excited to come back here and has something to prove,” Chamberlain said.

Even in the dead of winter, the Yankees are the biggest show around.

Alex Rodriguez, Rivera, Pettitte, Burnett, Chamberlain and Nick Swisher were among the players who entertained nearly 3,000 fans at yesterday’s autograph signing.

With pitchers and catchers less than three weeks away from reporting to camp, several Yankees were still basking in the glory of last year’s world championship, but also ready to start discussing 2010.

For several of the players yesterday was the first time seeing each other since November’s tickertape parade along Broadway. Rodriguez had a giant bear hug for his friend Rivera.

“What a great team and great accomplishment,” Rivera said. “We’re like a family. It was great seeing everyone. It was like a family reunion. I like the team this coming year.”

Chamberlain said he is done celebrating last season’s accomplishments.

“We understand what we did last year, but this is a New Year,” Chamberlain said. “We’re the 2009 world champions, but it doesn’t mean anything now that it’s 2010.”

Cashman’s Penalty For Not Signing A Left Fielder Yet

While I was in Tampa dancing with Hal Steinbrenner and cheering on the Yankees pitchers in their Chippendale’s debut, I got a tip that Brian Cashman was in town. Apparently, he’d been summoned by the “other brother.” I’m speaking, of course, of Hankenstein.
Hank’s been keeping a low profile lately, but my sources told me he’s been incensed that Cashman hasn’t signed a left fielder yet. And now, with all signs pointing to DeRosa going to the Giants, Cash is really feeling Hank’s wrath. I went back to my hotel, fell asleep and had a horrible nightmare. As you can see below, I dreamed that Hank ate Cash – just swallowed him whole. I woke up hoping for Cash’s sake that we have a new Yankee in LF by New Year’s Day. I really don’t want to lose our GM just because Hank is hungry.

After I Left Hal, I Met Up With Joe

If you read last night’s post, you know that Hal Steinbrenner gave me quite a workout on the dance floor after I chased all over Tampa to find him. It was worth the trip just to hear him say he wouldn’t let Yankee fans down and would instruct Cashman to find us a new left fielder….
…or bring back the one we already had.
I was getting ready to call it a night when Hal said, “She-Fan, you can’t leave town without seeing what Girardi is doing to promote chemistry among the starting pitchers.”
“Has he sent them all to the pool hall again?” I asked, remembering Joe’s bonding efforts from spring training last year. 
“No,” said Hal in that deadpan tone of his. He’s an incredible dancer, but he doesn’t show much emotion. I don’t think he smiled all night.
Anyhow, he was very insistent that I take a taxi to another location in Tampa (he wrote the address down on a cocktail napkin and handed it to me) and ask for Girardi. I couldn’t say no. So off I went into the dark of night.
We drove through some interesting neighborhoods and I kept wondering what Joe could possibly be doing with the Yankees’ starting five at such a late hour. Finally, the cab pulled up to yet another club. I was shocked when I entered and saw them.
Seriously. Chippendales? Joe Girardi? I couldn’t imagine what he was up to, but there he was, waiting for me. Apparently, Hal had called ahead and told him I was coming. He was all dressed up to greet me.
“Hi, Joe,” I said. “I’m sure you know what you’re doing, since you won the World Series and all. But team building at Chippendale’s?”
He laughed. “It does sound crazy, but I think it’ll bring the guys in our rotation closer together.”
“What will? I still don’t understand.”
“Follow me, She-Fan. I’ve got a corner table reserved just for you.”
“Sweet.” I sat down and Joe joined me. “So the Yankees pitchers are here?” I asked.
“You bet.”
“Are they working in the kitchen? At the bar? I still don’t -“
“Keep your eyes on the stage,” he said. “And then tell me this rotation doesn’t have chemistry.”
The lights dimmed and the music started. And here’s what happened next.
When the show was over, Joe explained that Phil Hughes was too shy to participate.
“Does that mean he’ll start the season in the bullpen?” I asked.
“It might,” said the Yankees skipper.

My Saturday Night Fever With Hal

As I sat here in Santa Barbara, wondering if/when the Yankees would announce who will play left field, I decided to stop reading other blogs and go straight to the source. No, I’m not referring to Cashman. He’s only the GM. I figured I should talk to the man with the real power – the guy who controls the payroll. So I hopped on a plane (it wasn’t easy, given all the new security restrictions) and headed for Tampa.
“Do you know where I might find Hal Steinbrenner?” I asked my cab driver after arriving at the airport in Florida.
“Sure,” he said. “On Saturday nights he’s always at the Kit Kat Club.
“Really?” I said. “What sort of place is that?”
“A disco club,” he replied. “Everybody in Tampa knows how much that boy loves to dance.”
“Great,” I said. “Take me there, please.”
Within minutes, we pulled up to the club and I went inside.
The scene was very high energy. I searched everywhere for Hal and – success! – there he was at a table for one, sipping a scotch and looking like he was dying to get up on the floor and shake it.
“Hi, Mr. Steinbrenner,” I said. “I’m She-Fan. Perhaps you’ve heard of me. I have a Yankees blog.”
“Of course,” he said, offering me a chair. “You’re the one who does crazy videos making fun of the greatest franchise in sports.”
“Well,” I said, blushing, “I also write about how much I love the Yankees. In fact, that’s why I’m here. We really need a left fielder, Mr. Steinbrenner.”
“Call me Hal.”
“OK, Hal. Listen, I don’t want you to think I’m not grateful for the way you re-signed Andy and brought Granderson over from Detroit. I’m not so sure about Nick Johnson and Javy Vazquez, but let’s concentrate on the left field problem.”
“Problem? We have options. Have you forgotten about Brett Gardner?”
“Have you forgotten he’s not much with the bat?”
He took a few swallows of his scotch.
“You could re-consider Damon,” I pressed on. “Or go after Bay or Holliday. Just don’t settle for Reed Johnson, no offense to him. We’re the Yankees. We need an outstanding, top quality player out there.”
He considered my pitch for several minutes. And then he smiled broadly. “Don’t worry, She-Fan. I’ll call Cash in the morning and tell him what you said. We’ll find somebody. You won’t be disappointed.”
“Swear. Now let’s dance.”
And so we did.

Presenting The 2009 She-Fan Awards, Part 7 (The Grand Finale) – UPDATE!

The votes are in and, although it was a close race between Surf Dog, my mother and four-year-old Karissa (I’m laughing as I type this), the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Yankee Fan Video is…
***** Bill “Surf Dog” Connell *****
If it ever stops raining here in Santa Barbara, I’ll take the She-Fan Cam over to Bill’s hot dog stand and videotape his acceptance speech. I have no doubt it’ll be a show stopper. Thanks to all who participated!
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With the Winter Meetings kicking off on Monday and the certainty that Brian Cashman will be giving Yankees bloggers something juicy to write about, it’s time for the seventh and final 2009 She-Fan Award to be handed out to a person who contributed to the Yankees’ joyous season.
Derek Jeter said during the post-parade ceremony at City Hall that it was the fans that made the season special, so it’s only fitting that we turn our attention to the Yankee fan who best embodied the spirit of the pinstripes when captured on the She-Fan Cam this year. The judges have reviewed the nearly 100 videos on YouTube’s SheFanVideos Channel and come up with clips of the the ones we feel are most praiseworthy.
Here, in chronological order, are the nominees for the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Yankee Fan Video….
Alphonso Uses Pessimism To Protect Yankees (And Himself) From Disappointment –
On March 5th, during a visit to Tampa for spring training, I had dinner at a very dark restaurant with Alphonso of the Yankees blog “It Is High, It Is Far, It is….caught” and asked for his prediction on the upcoming season. As you’ll see, he was correct about almost nothing, which I found very heartening.
Lisa Declares Herself Descendent Of Yankees Legend Joe DiMaggio
On my way out of Steinbrenner Field during the March trip, I met Lisa, a Security Officer for the Yankees. She not only gave patrons excellent directions and handled beer-soaked troublemakers with ease, but announced that she was related to Joe D. Enough said.
Joyce Intends To Be Buried With Yankees (Sort Of)
Prior to the March 7th spring training game, I chatted with Joyce, who caught my eye because of all the Yankees pins and medals she was wearing. A Yankee fan for 65 years, she had surprising news to share.
Michael Picks Yanks To Win World Series Without Being Bribed
Yes, She-Fan family members are eligible for the award. (Why disqualify them?) On April 1st my husband Michael made a bold prediction about the Yankees’ season. He was not coerced. If he doesn’t want to do or say something, he doesn’t. Trust me.
Patricia Reads She-Fan’s Tarot Cards And Pronounces Yanks World Champs
On August 18th, I had my second reading with Santa Barbara tarot card reader Patricia Diorio, whom I had consulted for a New York Times article back in February. Once again, she was extremely encouraging about the Yankees’ chances of winning the World Series.
Karissa Roots for Yankees Despite Being Only Four Years Old
As I was leaving Angel Stadium after the Yankees had just beaten the Angels in Game 4 of the ALCS on October 20th, I heard cheering –  really high-pitched cheering. I followed the sound and came upon Karissa, whose father Mark had clearly raised her properly.
Bill “Surf Dog” Predicts Yankees Win World Series in Six
Local legend Bill Connell, proprietor of the Surf Dog hot dog stand in Carpinteria and former New Jersey-ite, hoisted his Yankees flag on October 30th and let me videotape him in action. He also gave me his thoughts (and a free hot dog). His prediction of six games made him more accurate than Jimmy Rollins.
Mother Knows Best
I couldn’t leave my 92-year-old mom (she’ll be 93 next month) out of this competition, could I? On November 13th, during my trip to New York, I asked her how she was feeling about the Yankees’ big victory. She was thrilled – and very candid.
And now comes the moment of truth…without any interruptions.
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The envelope please.
The winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Yankee Fan Video is…
***** Oh, Wait! You’re Picking This One! *****

That’s right. You. And you have until Monday at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT to leave a comment with your vote. Good luck to all the nominees. The final gold fan awaits.
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