« wake up, leftie america | Main | you're a weird one, mr. fisk »

a baseball story

It’s March and thoughts turn to baseball. When not thinking about war, that is, and who wants to think about war all day long?

So, I have a baseball story for you.

It was the summer of ‘86. I had gone back to college the previous spring after an extended hiatus. 21 credits crammed into one semester after not being in school for a while was exhausting, so I passed on taking any summer classes. I was working nights at the time and thought I would spend my summer days sleeping until noon and lounging around the house. And then my Dean made me an offer I couldn’t refuse - a summer job that would entail driving to The Bronx every morning, not getting home until midnight most nights, working a few weekends, all for no pay except a few college credits.

I almost laughed at him until he explained who I would be working for. The New York Yankees. Not as a hot dog vendor or ticket-taker. I would be working inside the vaunted walls of Yankee Stadium. Hell, I would have paid them> to let me have that job.

I was to spend my days as an editorial assistant for Yankee Magazine, cropping pictures, proofreading stories and doing advertising layout for the magazine. At night, if the Yankees were on a homestand, I would stay for the games and run errands. If I wasn’t needed I was welcome to stay for the games, anyhow.

I spent a lot of time that humid summer in the cool confines of the archives room, poring through photos of Yogi Berra and Joe Dimaggio, reading scorecards from games played long ago and generally living in a baseball time warp. The room was stuffed to the gills with trophies and plaques and mementos of the greatest baseball team that ever existed. And here was all this history, all this fame right at my fingertips. Ticket stubs, game programs, yellowed articles and dusty photographs were my companions that summer. Each time I left the room - usually after a futile search for whatever memorabilia or picture I was sent there for as the room was incredibly unorganized - my fingers would be coated with dust and grime of the legacy of legends.

I watched plenty of games from the press box. Sometimes I helped keep the scorecard, sometimes I just chatted with reporters or players who were on the injured list and joined the press to watch the game.

I knew I had it made. I ate lunch in the third base seats, legs stretched out, sun beating down and Yankee Stadium seemingly to myself. I parked in the player’s lot, sometimes walking in with the players themselves. I was the original George Costanza.

Late that August the pennant race was heating up and the summer nights were cooling down. I knew my days as a part of the New York Yankees staff were drawing to a close. In a way, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to make that miserable morning drive on the Grand Central anymore. But I hated give up the perks of a job where I mingled with Don Mattingly and had my name in Yankee Magazine.

It was close to my last night there when I was invited to watch a game from the General Manager’s office. There I was, in this huge office full of baseball impresarios, sharing drinks and glad-handing each other. I stood quivering in the corner, too overwhelmed by the presence of baseball greats to move out of the spot.

One of the employees I had become friends with over the summer grabbed me and dragged me over to the huge picture window that overlooked the playing field of Yankee Stadium. I was watching the game from an office behind home plate, surveying the game as if I owned the team. I looked at the outfield bleachers where I had sat so many times before. I was mesmerized.

My friend excused himself to go get a drink and I stayed at the window, watching the game.

Then a voice from beside me, “Great view, isn’t it?”

I looked up to see Mickey Mantle standing beside me, grinning. I nodded, unable to speak.

Me and Mickey, watching a Yankee game from the office above home plate.

That, my friends, is a King of the World moment.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference a baseball story:

» The national pastime from Inoperable Terran
Michele shares a great baseball moment. That's what the terrorists want to stop, if I may inject a little warmongery.... [Read More]

» Quick Baseball Link from Flying W Things
I was checking my usual baseball news websites today - while enjoying a post-lunch serving of Thin Mints - and... [Read More]

» Quick Baseball Link from Flying W Things
I was checking my usual baseball news websites today - while enjoying a post-lunch serving of Thin Mints - and... [Read More]

If you are a Baseball fan, today you will probably read the usual mumbo jumbo about how the Yankees spending [Read More]

If you are a Baseball fan, today you will probably read the usual mumbo jumbo about how the Yankees spending [Read More]

If you are a Baseball fan,you will probably soon be reading the usual mumbo jumbo about how the Yankees spending [Read More]


Wow. Absolutely amazing, Michele.

That's one of the coolest stories I have ever read.

Lifetime Yankees Fan

Even from the standpoint of being a die-hard Braves fan living in Seattle (where people in Yankees caps get menacing glares on a good day), that is a damned cool story.

WOW! I'm not a baseball fan, but even I know those names. That must have been an amazing experience.

Yeah, screw Iraq. Training camps are open, and my thoughts drift to warm summer afternoons, 20 oz. beers, and hot dogs.

My two favorite teams are the Seattle Mariners and whoever's playing the New York Yankees that night. That said:

Whoa. Way cool. I'm jealous. Hell, you actually had a chance to talk with the Mick? Awesome. I'd kill for a job like that.

The Yankees look like they're aging this year, and the Sox might have enough to catch them.

Then again, the M's look like they're aging this year, and they're in a tougher division than the Yanks are. You, at least, get the pleasure of watching your team beat the hell out of the Devil Rays and the Orioles 30 times a year. The worst team in the AL West is the Rangers, and they could win the AL Central, if they caught a few breaks.

Damn, it's nice to have baseball in the air again.

Excellent. I love memories like that.

Working with passion is a wonderful (albeit exhausting) thing.

If you can get to Mariner fans with that story you just know what it must do to a long-time Yankee fan like me.

My only brush with Baseball Greatness was not nearly as sublime. I lucked into luxury box tickets to a '93 Orioles/Phillies World Series game. The box was two or three doors just down the third base line from behind home plate, where ABC's broadcast crew sat in their booth. As the game ended I rushed from the box and jogged thirty feet to the men's room to beat the crowd. Just as I start doing my business who steps up to the urinal next to me but Reggie Jackson, wearing his yellow ABC blazer!

I might have added that he was holding a great bat in his hand, but we know us guys don't look at that stuff.

That's just really awesome.


I'm not a Yankee's fan being from Texas, but that totally rocks!


OK, other than all the stuff I hate about you (you know the big book of stuff I got with the 8×10 color glossy photographs with the circles and arrows on the back of each one), you are officially my hero.

Even if it was the Yank...the Yaan...the Yan.. ugh, I can't even say it... It's still wicked cool.

Wow. I'm in the died-in-the-wool Sox fan from Boston (so you know what '86 means to me), but that's STILL too cool for words.

First to Pete: It was Blue Jays/Phillies in '93. Joe Carter broke my 6th grade heart. sniff

And Robb: The Sox will look really good in May. Then, without fail, they will choke and suffer extreme disappointment in October ;)

Now, I'm a NY fan stuck in the Philly 'burbs. I love the Yankees, and Michele your story is awesome! I'll be sure to point my dad this way so he can share in it, too.

Another bit of fun: on the night of her wedding, my mom was reassured by Mrs. Yogi Berra that sports were pretty much part of a man's genetic make up. Where did they meet? My uncle's high school ice hockey game. :)

Oh my! That's a give-your-left-nut-for experience! I thought I was lucky, shaking Ernie Banks' hand at Wrigley.

Wow you never cease to amaze me. Or make me envy you. From your pinball stories to now actually a Yankee employee and chilling with Mantle may I just say "Man, I admire you" (to quote a great Fletch line).

Still you shouldn't have let them trade Jay Buhner! (ha ha)

Seriously, it is these surprise efforts of yours--so honestly written--that makes me come back here everyday. So few Blogges, IMHO, are able to do this (keep people coming back) in fact, I would just say that in my own experience you, Seki (before her Sabbatical) and Robyn are blogs I had to check each and everyday and why I carry you all on my PDA wherever I go.

Anyway, great story! As per usual. One for the books!

Oh and need I say it...GO YANKS!

ACCCKKKKK! I am absolutely green with jealousy. I have been a Yankee fan since 1956 (at five years old in Economy, Indiana) because of Mickey Mantle. As a Yankee fan, the American League exists to prepare the Yankees for the World Series; the National League exists simply to offer up the sacrificial lamb. Too bad it doesn't work out that way every year!

This is the greatest baseball story I have ever read by a fan. Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford are my all-time favorite Yankees. Holy cow! You met the Mick. I am awed!

Pete could be referring to 1983 W.S. (which was Orioles-Phillies). exp. since ABC didn't cover '93 series



Phillies played Orioles in 83 (breaking this 18 years olds heart)

Great story Michelle - baseball is the greatest game

Great story! As a lifelong Yankee fan, I always dreamed of selling hot dogs or souvenirs at Yankee games just so I could get to see the games for free. I remember that 1986 season. Mattingly was awesome. How he didn't win the MVP is beyond me.

I met Joe Dimaggio once at a Baseball Card Show. He said Hello and signed the autograph. Nothing special, but when I took a step back I realized that I was in the presence of the man who represented a generation. He was on the field with Gehrig, Williams, Mays, Mantle, Berra, Ford, and all the greats. Wow!

I can only imagine what it was like to meet The Mick. For all of his faults, if you ask a Yankee fan who grew up in that generation who their favorite player was, you'll almost always get The Mick as a reply. Amazing story.

One final thing. I've watched every sport and you hear about ratings and things like that, but I don't think there's any bond in sports like a Baseball fan with their favorite team and player/s. I have three all-time favorites. All great Yankees. Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, and Paul O'Neill. Thanx. :)


Sean and Katie: It was a typo. I meant the the '83 Series.

Talk about a dream job; thanks for sharing your story! As much as I'd love to meet one of my favorite players, past and present, (Winfield, Mattingly, O'Neill, Tino, Jeter) or one of the Yankee greats I was too young to see play (Yogi, Rizzuto) I always think I'd babble like an idiot out of sheer nervousness. . . .

Hey, it's November and your story continues to bring the warmth of summer! Excellent writing.