Tag Archives: Alex Rodriguez

Yankee Road Trip – Dedicated to The Boss

Good morning readers. I’m sure you’ve all been on the edge of your seat waiting for my next post – particularly you Yankee haters. But fear not, I’m back.

Last week I took The Youngest Boy up to San Francisco to attend his first (and second!) Yankee game. We drove. We left home at 5:40 AM and arrived by 1:40 PM (after having stopped for an hour for “lunch” at an establishment called The Peachtree Inn. I use the term “lunch” loosely.). We took the I-5 the whole way. This will be the last time I make that mistake. California’s interior is hideous. I felt like I was being punished for wanting to see my Yankees. No, I’m not joking. There is nothing to look at, it’s a lunar landscape with no cell reception, and few places to stop for fuel. The places that do exist, gave me the willies. I’d always hated traveling over the Grapevine, but it pales in comparison with the horrible vistas far past it. And don’t even get me started on the cattle ranch smell that manages to waft into the car even with my car’s micro-particle filter “filtering” out the odor. Yes, I gagged. The highlight of the journey was passing a sign for the fabulously named, “Pleasant Valley State Prison”. Someone has a sense of humor.

By the time we arrived, I was in need of a beer – or two. The waiter at the restaurant, bless him, told me that Alex Rodriguez had been sitting in there earlier and that he always comes in. Only later when I saw him again, and questioned him further, did I find out that it was Mariano Rivera who goes in there often. That day he had his son with him. It’s just as well I didn’t see him. I couldn’t take the chance he’d recognize me and think I’m stalking him…

Once I was feeling normal, we headed out to the Ferry Building.  It’s a lovely place and each time I go, I discover some fabulous dessert or item I’d not seen the time before. The problem with this journey is I hadn’t gotten half a block before I realized the shoes I just changed into were hurting my feet. The Boy said, “But we’re walking. Shouldn’t you go put the other shoes back on?”

“They don’t match. It’ll be fine.”

Famous last words.

Two blocks into our journey, I was sure the skin on my right pinkie toe was completely removed. The Boy was not amused. This sentiment pervades the rest of my post. As I hobbled back (stupidly hiking Nob Hill in order to then hike back down it on the Powell side) I was near tears. Worst. Shoes. Ever. And here was a pickle – how was I supposed to get around San Francisco without comfortable shoes? How was I supposed to walk to the BART to take the train to the Oakland Coliseum for 2 nights in a row to watch my boys play if I no longer had flesh on my feet?

As I griped and shook the Band-Aid blister box, screaming, “Where’s my effing pain relief? It says right here, ‘provides instant pain relief’! Well I’m not relieved!!!”, I’m convinced The Boy was texting his friends, telling them how outrageously stupid his mother is. Yes, in this case he may have been right – but damn it, my shoes matched my outfit…

The following day, as we rode the BART to Oakland Coliseum, I was in some adorable polka dotted shoes from Urban Outfitters that had only cost $20. I won’t go into how long we combed the city until we found them…

Once inside the ballpark, The Boy was immediately taken with this Yankee experience. We had fabulous seats for only $40. According to my friends, “Nobody goes to the A’s games, they’re the red-headed stepchildren of the Bay Area.” Unlike my experience in Dodger Stadium, we could get close to the players to watch batting practice.  I will point out here, The Boy does not routinely watch baseball with me. It has something to do with my emotional conniptions, and the fact I start swearing like a drunken sailor when things don’t go our way. Like the other 2 males in the house, he will pass through the living room, and look over at me with avid curiosity, or (depending on whether I’ve just been bellowing) a small bit of sympathy. So to hear his delight at how close he was to my players gave me a small thrill. It would have given me a larger one but I was taking pictures:

Already at this point, The Boy was handling this Yankee game better than his father had. It was all going swimmingly. The place even had a Guinness concession stand directly behind my seats. So what if the Oakland Alameda Coliseum has all the aesthetic charm of Pleasant Valley State Prison without the luxury of being sealed and warm? For the next two nights, it had my Yankee boys in it, and that was enough for me.

Well, once the game started, The Boy’s pleasure began to lessen. We had a foghorn directly behind us. Yes, a foghorn. One of those fans who emits “HOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” sounds when her players so much as pick their nose. Yes, she was an A’s fan – although I’m happy to say the Coliseum was crawling with Yankee fans. One, when the ridiculously named Coco Crisp came to bat, shouted, “Boston reject!” Funny stuff. But I digress. Back to Foghorn. She was sitting behind The Boy and it didn’t take long for us to tire of her booing all the Yankee players. I considered saying something, but A-Rod did the talking for me. When Trevor Cahill, the A’s RHP plunked Mark Texeira to load the bases with 2 out in the 3rd, I leaned over and told The Boy, “Oh, no! He didn’t want to do that! Watch what A-Rod does now!”

And sure enough, he hit a grand slam.

I was occasionally checking in with Twitter. After I recovered from my squealing and clapping (and, let’s be honest, zooming), I saw this (courtesy of Mark Feinsand, and had to favorite it):

“BloggingBombers I think I actually heard @SunnySoCal shriek all the way up in the press box when A-Rod hit that grand slam.”

Thankfully, either my shrieking or that blast, had the same effect on Foghorn as if I’d turned around and stuffed my blistered foot in her mouth, so it was all good now. There really weren’t many more peeps out of her, particularly after the 6th inning solo homer he sent rocketing out of the Coliseum. Yes!

By now The Boy, laughing delightedly at the score, looks over at me, and asks, “Are you OK?” This seemed to be a concern on everybody’s part, as Feinsand Tweeted, I hope @SunnySoCal is all right.”

Yes, I was fine — if perhaps just a bit over excited. I was not alone. The Boy said, “Wow. Even I have to admit, A-Rod is hella good!”

One of my favorite Tweets of the night came courtesy of Marc Carig, The Star Ledger Yankees beat writer, who said, A-Rod 5, Oakland A’s 1.”

Hilarious.

It was a fun night and great to be at A-Rod’s first two-homer game of the season.

What was even more fun was the thought that we’d be doing it all again the following night!

We arrived Wednesday, and I was immediately displeased. Our seats, along the 1st baseline, weren’t as much to my liking as the ones the night before along the 3rd baseline, and now I had to go halfway across the Coliseum to get my Guinness. But it was fine, because we had a  floorshow. Yes, indeed, we had a drunk man 2 rows down and across the aisle who entertained us throughout most of the game – particularly when Jeter would come to the plate. As drunk people do, he would stand, sway, and spill his beer, as he hoisted his index finger in the air and shout, “Heyyyy, Jeter, I’m number 1, you’re number 2!” and then burst into fits of laughter. It played out every time he saw The Captain, and each time he did so with renewed vigor. It was almost as if he was surprised to see Derek Jeter in such a location. Clearly alcohol does affect your short term memory, boys and girls…

Soon I took The Boy over to the press elevator so I could have a short visit with friends Pete Caldera and Mark Feinsand. Other than spending a few moments with them,  the visit afforded us a respite from the biting wind and cold of the Coliseum.

It was shortly after our visit that I noticed a change in The Boy’s attitude towards A-Rod. I’m not going to say I ratcheted up my squealing, but merely that his level of tolerance had perhaps lessened. I remember the exact quote which put him over the edge. I was zooming in with my camera and said, “Oh, I do love it when he squats!”

It was bottom of the 5th inning. He looked over and said, “PLEASE STOP!!!”

Not long after this, A-Rod fell on his face trying to catch a routine pop up. The Boy took such delight in his failure, I felt like I was sitting with Feinsand.

It could have been other things which led to his intolerance of my ways. The blister, the ensuing madness to purchase a pair of shoes that I could wear “with everything” that wouldn’t rub on my sore tootsies, my insistence that he keep to the right on busy city sidewalks and not routinely cut me off, who knows? But towards the end of the trip, we definitely needed some downtime. So we drove up to visit my dear friends in Marin County. Along the way I bought a glorious orchid plant as a gift. It was a fine gift indeed when I plunked it down on the kitchen counter (alongside the gourmet spread she’d just laid out) and out hopped a tiny frog. He proceeded to flop ungainly along the counter until I caught him. Adorable, though perhaps not the finest gift I could have brought.

We stayed for lunch – for 8 hours. It was delightful. I hadn’t been up to her home since she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, so it was a pleasure to be there once again. The Boy sat contentedly beside us on the sofa for those many hours, playing with his iPhone, and occasionally joining in on the conversation. What a little gentleman. I was a proud mother. And certainly, the following night when I met friends Jessica, and Rob at the Irish Bank for drinks and dinner, he once again sat and tolerated my silly, “Come along!” ways.

His tolerance fled on the long drive back to San Diego. Apparently he didn’t want to listen to Chris Moyles and his show for six hours straight. Who knew?

Well we’re back now. Back to a messy house, errands, bills to be paid, and my manuscript with its revisions still to be done. I’m trying to get caught up, but I keep getting distracted by news. This week, the Yankee organization lost two of its greats: “The Voice of God” long-time Yankee announcer Bob Sheppard at the age of 99, and today, I woke to the news that George M. Steinbrenner III has died of a heart attack at the age of 80. It’s a sad week for an organization that Steinbrenner made great. He was committed to winning and he built this club. I’m saddened. If it wasn’t for George Steinbrenner, I wouldn’t have had the above Yankee Road Trip with my son, so this one’s dedicated to The Boss. RIP.

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…