Tagged: Fun Team

My Summer was Baseball

My summer....

If I could sum up my summer in one word it would be baseball. Then again, if I could sum up my existence in one word, it would probably be baseball.

Now that the summer is over and school is back in session (for most of us, but not all of us–I graduated college!) I thought I would reflect on everything that was special about this summer. Never in my life have I ever spent a summer that involved the sport of baseball so much. Here are a few reasons baseball has dominated my life for the past three months.

Yankee Games


Yankee games = FUN summer!What would a summer be without a few visits to Yankee Stadium to see the Yanks play? Well, it would be a very dull and sad summer. Thankfully that was not the case, as I was able to attend three Yankee games over the vacation.


Yanks/Phils on my birthdayThe first game I went to was on June 15, my 23rd birthday; a World Series rematch with the Philadelphia Phillies, in which the Yankees won 8-3. When I walked into the Stadium that night I remember thinking to myself, “The last time the Yanks and Phillies met at this ballpark, the Yanks hoisted the 2009 World Series trophy over their heads.” I felt very lucky to be at that game.


Yanks/Mets five days laterFive days later I made another trip to the big ballpark in the Bronx for the rubber game of the Subway Series. Yankees vs. Mets; CC Sabathia vs. Johan Santana; it doesn’t get any better than that. Mark Teixeira made it a special day by clubbing a grand slam home run, the only offense on the afternoon. The Bombers went on to beat their cross-town rivals 4-0.


First time in the new Monument Park

I once again experienced the thrill of Yankee Stadium on Aug. 18 when the Yankees played the Tigers. For the first time I got into Monument Park in the new house and it was nice to see Johnny Damon make his return to the Bronx–as a Tiger. The Yanks won, 9-5. Plus, before the game we got very close to the field. We could practically reach out and touch Joba Chamberlain!

Joba was so close to us! 

All of these games of course were over the summer. I also attended Opening Day, which was a great way to kick off my baseball summer.

The Yankees were 4-0 at games I went to this year and they are 8-0 at games I have been to in the new Yankee Stadium. My only hope is that they keep winning whenever I go to see them.


Trip to Cooperstown


Cooperstown was awesome


I don’t want to say this experience changed me at all, but in a way it did. On July 3, my friends and I took a day trip up to Cooperstown, N.Y. to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

I have already written about everything that happened that day, so I won’t re-hash every little detail of the trip. Yet, I will say that the trip increased not only my appreciation for the sport of baseball, but my love for the sport as well.

It was almost as if I was whisked back to the past; Cooperstown provides such a rich history and gives you an old-time feel.


What’s more, as a huge Yankee fan, it relieved me to see that about 80% of the museum was filled with Yankee memorabilia and historic artifacts. Everything from World Series rings and trophies to Babe Ruth’s jersey was on display for all to see.

Every baseball fan needs (and I stress the word NEEDS) to go to Cooperstown at least once in their life. If you do not go, you are truly missing out and history and quite possibly a life-changing experience.


Hudson Valley Renegades


A great experience; a step in the right direction.Working for a minor league baseball team all summer certainly played a huge part in how much I was involved with the sport of baseball this summer.
I have shared several stories about things I have done, players I have spoken to, and how much fun it was to get to know my coworkers.

The ‘Gades’ season ended on Sunday and it was a great way to go out: a win over the Lowell Spinners, who are a farm team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. The Renegades finished with a winning record of 39-36 and it was pretty cool that I got to be a part of their family for the summer.

As it turns out, Rick Zolzer, one of the main bosses from the organization, took notice of “Yankee Yapping” and now wants me to take over the Renegades blogging. He also knows some writers at MLB.com and he said he would mention me to them, which makes me really happy; I would be ecstatic to get my foot in MLB.com’s door. After all, writing and working for them is my ultimate goal.

Working for the Renegades will undoubtedly pay dividends for me.


Interview with Brian Sweeney


Brian Sweeney and I graduated from the same college!

One of the best things about this summer was actually talking to an active player on an MLB team. Brian Sweeney of the Seattle Mariners talked to me about his life, his background, and his family; he shared some great stories with me and I feel truly blessed that I was able to conduct an interview with him.

I’ll always remember what Sweeney said when I called him to conduct the interview: “Sure we can do the interview now…as long as it doesn’t go longer than about an hour because I have to head over to SafeCo for the game.”   

In awe, I had three words in response: “Wow, that’s awesome.”

The way he said it just left me amazed. He just said it so “matter-of-factly,” if you will.

Sweeney became the first active MLB player I have ever interviewed. I interviewed and wrote a story on John Flaherty last year, but he is retired and now a broadcaster on the YES Network. It was a bit different, considering Sweeney is still playing and he pitched at Yankee Stadium this summer.

What also made it special was that Sweeney and I graduated from the same college. It was nice to discuss what our experiences were like at Mercy, and we were able to relate to one another through that common achievement.  

Hopefully Sweeney is not the last MLB player I interview. I’m hoping for a lot more where that came from.

Now that the summer is over, there is still more baseball to look forward to. The Yankees are playing for their postseason lives and need to pick things up. 1-5 in their last six games is not a good sign, but they can pick up the slack and regain their livelihood.

Tonight CC Sabathia toes the rubber against the Tampa Bay Rays in hopes of playing the role of “stopper.”

The Yankee ace is also looking for his 20th win of 2010.


Fun Team 2010 Forever

Editor’s note: For all of the regular readers of this blog, I wrote this specifically for my summer co-workers at the Hudson Valley Renegades. It is filled with inside jokes and memories that I will hold onto for a long time.




It's been a great summer, Fun Team.It’s been a long summer for us, Fun Team. Countless games of whack-an-intern, store your stuff, and put it in the can basically defined my summer. But I’m really glad I got to meet and get to know each and every one of you this summer and I figured I’d write something about everyone to remember this eventful experience.

Here I go…

Jay: You are a good boss. I’m sorry I almost took your head off with that line drive during batting practice before one of the Home Run Derbies. I still laugh when I think about you trying to go around multiple times on the lazy river at Splash Down. That girl should have just let us stay on the ride for as long as we wanted!

Ellissa: I don’t know of anyone who could have manned the Pitch For Kids corner like you. Every single game you were in there, rolling dice and handing out prizes. Honestly, I would have gotten bored with it on the second night, but you have a lot of patience, which is admirable.

Jeff Helion: Like Jay, you are a good boss. Tough, but very fair. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom at Lily Logan’s that night and I’ll certainly use you as a reference for future jobs. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

E.D.: I’m glad I did this internship because I got to know you. When we were both at OLL, I really didn’t know you very well and now I do. You did an excellent job getting the contestants into the pits. “Follow those lads there.”

Crash: Thank you for driving me around a few times this summer, especially the night of the party. You did a lot for me these past two months and I’m really glad I met you. I’ll never forget the softball game with “The Mad Hatter!!!!” I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around Yorktown a lot more now.

Dice: I know I’ve said this a million times, but I’M SORRY I missed the first Fun Team Frenzy party–words cannot express how disappointed I was that I missed it. I guess I made up for it with the second party, though. Whenever you have your next gathering, just let me know. It doesn’t matter what I have going on at the time, I’ll be there. I promise.

Kevin: Without any sarcasm, you threw the absolute BEST party I have ever been to in my life. I know I was a little out of it that night, but thank you for not killing me with the arm bar.

Yetti: The water fight we started with Derek Dietrich on your last night (Rain Delay Night) was a lot of fun. You’re a funny kid with a great sense of humor. I also laugh every time I look at the picture of you and that random guy who looks like you…Dice: “Yetti, is that your dad???”


Yetti's dad...?Sizzle:  
Thank you for (at least trying) to get me sober at the party. I enjoyed it when you squirted Jared Sandberg’s lineup card with the water gun and Yetti got blamed for it. It’s all good, because he later told me he was just messing with us.

Dog:  You are a good guy with a lot of hustle (according to Sandberg). The other night when the little kid was asking us for a ball and Sandberg told him to guess your nickname–that was awesome. Especially when he started whistling to give the kid a hint. “Is his name Kyle?” I have no idea where the kid came up with that name. It was so random.

Dan Vincenzi: I had a lot of fun quoting movies and the Andrew Dice Clay/CNN video with you all the time.  “You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”…”You’re supposed to be a news guy. Running a gym???” You also came prepared to the party with the flask of Jameson. That…was epic. You also saved me the first night of training. I couldn’t find the Gold’s Gym, I crossed paths with you at the Mobil station, and you got me there. What can I say? You ran me to the gym…

Emma: I am truly disappointed that I never got the opportunity to witness (first hand) your amazing pie-eating contest super powers. However, the game that you were Rascal and I was handling you all night was one of my favorite nights of work. I was very happy you didn’t fall out of the car during Honda Ball Toss and the two of us got everything right that game.


We did good, Emma.Marissa:
No matter what you say, Dan and I dethroned you and Emma as flip cup champs at the party. In all seriousness though, you are a great person and getting to know you was just awesome. I really enjoyed all of our conversations about our future goals. Just always remember…journalism is better than public relations.

Hort: It’s too bad I didn’t get a chance to get to know you or talk to you as much as some of the other Fun Teamers. But the night we all had to be mascots was great. I’m sure the crowd laughed when they saw Thomas the Tank Engine (you) dancing with Captain America (me). Driving home that night, I thought to myself, “I’m sure that was a sight to behold for the fans–a train dancing with a super hero.”


Great night.Ben:
You were one of the hardest working members on the entire Fun Team. Giving out those build-a-bears the other night was a pain in the neck, but thankfully we got out of it after awhile. You were a master at selling those tennis balls and you really know how to connect with people.

Louis: I’m really happy that, like Dan Vincenzi, I was able to get you hooked on the “Running a Gym?” quote. I cannot express how much I loved talking about Family Guy and the Chuck Norris jokes every day. I really wish I could have been there when you got pied in the face (for about four straight innings) on Groundhog Day night (I was in Playland). And just so I understand this completely…at no point were you running a gym?

Conor: The first night of training at Gold’s Gym, it was really cool to hear that you caught Jorge Posada’s grand slam ball. I also think it was cool that you got to drive the player from the Jamestown Jammers to the airport, even though he didn’t talk much. You are a really great kid and I’m really happy I met you.

Nick at Nite: Here’s to the fastest runner on the Fun Team! I enjoyed both of our races, even though my left knee received extreme physical trauma as a result of our first race. You beat me fair and square in the second race, though. I said last night that you are a good kid and I meant it.

Alex Kamen: I really don’t have much to say to you except…we do things the “Alex Kamen way of doing things: guaranteed to work every time.” According to Crash, you want us to come to your school to party and visit. Sounds good to me!

Honest Abe: I am not very happy that you left the Fun Team and then showed up to more games after you quit. I really don’t think that made a lot of sense and many of the other Fun Teamers were annoyed with the decision you made. But thank you for taking the photo of me in the Captain America costume. It’s one of my favorite pictures.


Solid.Slim Jim:
You made an excellent Rookie on the night of the mascot wedding vow renewal. You are a nice guy and good luck with everything at Penn State.

Stevie Wonder: You are truly talented, my friend. You were the centerpiece of the Thriller dance and the Under the Sea dance. You also have a lot of courage; after all, it takes guts to grab your crotch like Michael Jackson in front of a packed stadium. I enjoyed working with you this summer and your outgoing personality is admirable.

Tyler: It’s unfortunate that you could not stay with us for the whole summer. But I am very happy you found another internship with the New York Jets. I really hope that went well for you and good luck up in Cortland.

Padre: I heard stories about your experience from the first Fun Team party and (going back to what I said to Dice) I’m sorry I couldn’t be there. I laugh every time I think about you dressed up in the Cookie Monster costume the night of the mascot wedding and you’re a good guy. I hope everything works out for you in terms of football.

Bob Hand: You are one of a kind. I’ll always remember you for your rally belly and affinity for beer. When the majority of the Fun Team went back to college, you helped us out in a major way. I am sad that the Renegades didn’t walk off with any wins toward the end of the season, meaning I didn’t get the chance to pie any of the players in the face. I’ll get one of them someday, though…

Curious George:  I remember (ever so vividly) when you were given your nickname the first night of training at the Dutch. You climbed that gate and Jay called you Curious George. You wanted to be called A.D.D. Adam, but trust me; you went with the better nickname.

J.D.:  Your parents are really cool. They went out of their way to feed us sandwiches and cookies that one night, which was very thoughtful. And you are a lot like your parents J.D., because you are really cool. But we are never putting you in the ticket office again. “So that’s what that button does…”

Little Lurch: I will say that you are a little strange (dressing up in all those crazy costumes) but you have a lot of spirit. I would have never gotten on the dugout to pump up the crowd the way you did; your actions showed a lot of heart. We also made a great team bagging and numbering tennis balls.

Jeff Allison: The best memory I have with you is probably the party. Like Sizzle, you were valiantly trying to sober me up and I really enjoyed working with you.

Lucas: Technically, you weren’t on the Fun Team but you helped me out a lot when you weren’t in the Rascal costume. I loved handling the mascots because you never complicated anything; it was a simple job and it never became difficult. Plus, the mascot dance parties were always great. I’m glad I met you this summer and good luck with running track at Lourdes (my alma mater, as I always pointed out when you mentioned school). I loved when me and you (Rascal) played frisbee on the field before baseball buddies and the reliever intercepted your throw. Good times. 

And last, but never the least…

Bri-man: We had a great team, and a great team is nothing without a great captain. After every game you gave us motivation to keep moving forward with your speeches, which meant a lot to every Fun Teamer. We would have been nothing without you this season and it was so nice getting to know you, Bri-man. I have learned that you have a great heart and a sensitive soul, but you also possess a deep passion for success.

We had a great run this summer and I will never forget this experience. There’s not much left to say except…

Fun Team 2010 Forever.

Watching the season fade away...