I Gave In and Eventually Washed My Hands

Hello readers. I know I talk quite a bit about the Yankees in my weekly posts, but this one will really be about them. Consider that your warning if you’re not a  Bombers fan. You still have time to close this window.

Saturday I drove up to Los Angeles to meet with the author Jane Heller and her husband, Michael. We were attending the Yankee – Dodger game at Dodger Stadium. We had no issues meeting up. We did, however, have an issue with not being able to go down by the field for batting practice. Despite Jane’s valiant attempts to make us look like we knew what we were doing, we were turned away. Apparently at their stadium, you can only go down there if you have tickets for that area. I thought Jane was going to blow a fuse. Already I was having fun. She’s very much like me!

Once in our seats, we saw my pal Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News down on the field.

Shortly after this, we saw another pal of mine, Pete Caldera, the Yankees beat writer from The Bergen Record. He spotted me and came up from the field to pay us a visit before heading over to the press box.

Soon Jane decided she’d whip out her mini-camera and video interview me. This was an unpleasant wrench in the works. While it’s all right for me to squeal on Twitter and here about my A-Rod crush, being captured on video doing so might make me look slightly unhinged. Must I do this? Yes, according to Jane, I must. Here it is, in all its glory. I would like to say at this juncture that I look away from Jane repeatedly because Alex had been down on the field, and may soon make a reappearance. Thankfully he didn’t while she was filming me or I’d have made sounds that even bats would have trouble deciphering. I think I did fairly well, and intentionally did not squeal, mostly because it would make Feinsand ill and I’d have to hear about it…

After my blooming blush faded, Jane and I got down to business. We had Michael take several shots of us dorking around before the game.

We were predictably surrounded by Dodger fans, although I’m happy to report that there were loads of Yankee fans, too. The game, though not going our way, provided plenty of picture taking opportunities for me.

Sometime around the 5th inning, when it was getting ugly and we were not feeling the love for A.J. Burnett, our Twitter friends Stefanie Gordon and Amanda Rykoff came down to say hello. They’d followed the Yankees from New York to Arizona to watch the interleague series with the Diamondbacks, to now Los Angeles. As we weren’t pleased, we agreed to get up to meet them. Here is a photo of (from left to right) Stefanie, me, Amanda and Jane.

Well by now the game had imploded, and we felt bad for leaving poor Michael sitting alone in hostile territory, so we said goodbye and took our seats. I will say Brett Gardner hit a foul ball that fell from the sky, hit the seat back in front of me, fell on my knee, and then the ground to my right. I wasn’t quick enough grabbing it because I was busy texting my sons. No, I’m not joking.

We had an obnoxious fan behind us who took great delight in making fun of A-Rod during every at-bat. It may have had something to do with my t-shirt that screamed “13” and “RODRIGUEZ” on the back, the fact I kept whipping out my camera and zooming in on him moving, breathing, etc., or he may have just been sick of my squealing. Who knows? All I know is towards the end of the game I was sick of his “STEROIDS!” chant every time A-Rod came up. Therefore, I felt perfectly fine to say (several times, quite loudly), “You want to talk steroids? SERIOUSLY? Hello? MANNY RAMIREZ?” (Manny, the Dodgers outfielder, famously served a 50 game suspension LAST SEASON for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Oh, please, at least A-Rod’s usage was years ago…)

Well eventually the game ended, and we were put out of our misery. Jane, Michael and I said goodbye, and I marched alone across the Dodger parking lot at nightfall. For the most part I didn’t have any problems until I got closer to the Downtown Gate, where I’d parked. I passed two separate rowdy groups of young men. I won’t go into details of what either of them said, or did, but suffice it to say, my Yankees gear was a target. I’m no shrinking violet though, and shouted a few things back. In hindsight, probably not a smart thing to do, but all’s well that ends well. Dear Dodger Stadium, you really should’ve had more lights in your parking light for moments like this — I was terrified.

After a late night out with friends, I arrived back at my hotel room and eventually got to bed around 4:30. Sadly, I needed to be up in 3 hours to watch England in the World Cup — let us never speak of this again… Dreary doesn’t begin to describe this performance.

In order to perk myself up, I headed to the rooftop pool at my hotel.

This was the scene of a fabulous moment in my life two years ago, when I got to meet Chris Moyles, his girlfriend Sophie Waite, Dave Vitty, his beautiful wife, Jayne, their daughter, Nicole, Dominic Byrne, and Aled Haydn Jones of BBC Radio 1’s Chris Moyles Show. I’ve been a massive diehard listener of their show since 1999, and was thrilled they were in America. I made the drive up from San Diego on the off-chance I’d see them at the hotel. Oh, yes, I lucked out. From left to right, me, Moyles, Vitty, Byrne, Haydn Jones.

Clearly I have fond memories of this hotel. Perked up from sitting at the pool, I now gathered my nineteen year old son, who had come up to L.A. with friends on Friday. As we set off for lunch on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, I noticed the charter bus I’d seen leaving Dodger Stadium the night before. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where it was going. I turned behind it and parked.

With luck that apparently that West Hollywood hotel provides me, I finally saw my Yankees. I realize to many this seems odd, but you have to remember, I live in San Diego. I don’t have the beauty New Yorkers have in being able to spot them in their street clothes leaving games. So, humor me, if you will.

There were other fans gathered outside their Beverly Hills hotel’s back entrance. I’m not entirely sure why all of them were told to back away and stand on the sidewalk, and I wasn’t. But the Yankee security man, 3 different hotel security men, and the Beverly Hills police department told me I was fine. Perhaps I looked harmless? I didn’t ask why I got the special treatment, I just relished it. I wasn’t interested in autographs, just seeing them.

First came Mark Texeira, the Yankee first baseman, smiling away and seeming very friendly. My son was gaping at me like, “SAY SOMETHING!” I couldn’t. I was immobilized.

Then came the big man himself, C.C. Sabathia, the Yankees pitcher. He spent a great deal of time signing things for the Beverly Hills police.

This was like the greatest day ever! A parade of Yankees!

When Brett Gardner (the Yankees outfielder) looked at me, I almost dropped my camera. I couldn’t even speak to him, even though he passed within a foot of me and looked over again 

Curtis Granderson, the Yankees outfielder, and David Robertson, the Yankee pitcher, spent a great deal of time with fans. “What nice guys!” I thought, as I lingered in the street, squealing, “Yankeeeeeeeeeeeees” under my breath.

It was around this time that my son was getting fed up. As Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time, walked by,

and I swooned, the boy said, “Seriously? You’re not going to talk to ANY OF THEM?!”

Talk? Like with words? Was he mad?

It had never occurred to me to say something. My God, my knees were shaking. How did he expect me to construct a sentence? When I squeaked that to him, he looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t know who any of them are, and I don’t care. Either you ask for a picture with one of them or I will.” Fearing the worst, I dug deep and found that I was still in possession of a spinal cord.

As the beautiful Robinson Cano, the Yankee 2nd baseman, finished signing autographs for fans, he glanced my way as he walked to the bus. I panicked and looked away. When I looked back he was still looking. I plucked up the courage and asked for a picture. He was only too happy to comply. What a sweetheart.

At this point, Mariano was signing autographs for fans. I was suddenly buoyant. I could do this! I meekly drew near – I’ll spare you the many photos my son took of my slow and painfully shy approach. The Yankees’ bodyguard approached me and directed me to get beside Mariano – not in line with everyone else. I don’t know, did he think I looked like I needed to get out of the sun soon?

I think it’s safe to say that the West Hollywood hotel is some sort of good luck charm for me! No, I never did see A-Rod, perhaps next time.

You’ll be happy to know that I finally did get my son some lunch. We were seated at a sidewalk cafe on Rodeo Drive when I famously blurted, “I’m never washing my hands again!”

He was still laughing about that when a woman approached him and said, “My daughters think you’re Justin Bieber.”

I nearly choked to death on an olive. Hilarious. I’m fairly certain he’ll be getting his haircut this week…

Now, just coming off my Yankee high, I got another mention on the Chris Moyles Show this morning. This may be the single greatest week of my life! But time to buckle down and get back to work. It would appear I have more revisions to make on my manuscript. It’s a tough life but somebody’s got to live it…


8 responses to “I Gave In and Eventually Washed My Hands”

  1. It figures that this blog is the first blog to sneak past the company firewall (new blackberry, who knew ?) and I am glad it did. It was fun to relive a great moment in a great fan’s & great friend’s life. I think I would be speechless if I ever met Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter or Adam Graves (NY Rangers 1994 stanley cup champs).


  2. What a wonderful adventure! I’m so happy for you fortune during those two days, other than the loss of the game that is. What fun, by the way you won
    t see Yankee players in Montana either.


  3. nice story, glad you didn’t post the extreme close up of a-rods arse though. I do hope you reward your son for making you actually say something and get the pictures taken 🙂


  4. Great blog post! I’m still jealous of your Yankee encounter! More Yankee tweetups in the future must be planned!


  5. Have I told you the story of how my son and I stalked the Yankees through 4 stops on 2002 road trips and how we had dinner in Seattle with two players and my then 12 year-old had a special trick handshake with Shane Spencer and John van der Wahl? Or have I told you about how I came to be in the locker room with the New York Yankees drinking champagne after Reggie Jackson hit three HRs in the 6th game and final game of the 1977 World Series, their first win in 15 years? I know the joy and exigencies of Yankee encounters and face time. Glad you had some recently while I was 8,000 miles away in Jerusalem.


  6. “Heaven… I’m in heaven” I can hear that song going through your mind while all of the police and security people saw your beauty and your glow and knew that they MUST let you get close to your beloved Yankees! Thank goodness you had Justin Bieber with you! It’s only fitting that you had your photo taken with at least a couple of them, sweetheart. I’m telling you, Yankees, and Chris Moyles and a literary agent, Oh My! 2010 is the year of Denise!!! I am predicting things are going to just keep getting better and that old dark cloud is going to open up and sparkle silver all over you. Love you, girl! *Big Happy Yankees Hugs*


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