I’m here in the Big Apple for what I guess you’d call the “front-half” of the All-Star festivities. Once the Futures Game wraps up later today, I’ll be packing up and heading to Louisville for the Triple-A All-Star activities.
Coming back to NYC is really like going home. On Friday we did something I’d never done, despite living in the NY metropolitan area for most of my life: ride an open-top tour bus around the city. The tour was set up as part of a feature we were doing with Scott Campbell and Luke Hughes, two Futures Gamers who had never before been to New York. The tour was interesting and we even took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry (something I had done before, but not within the last twenty years or so). The feature turned out well, and can be seen on either MLB.com or MiLB.com.
It had been about 18 months since I was last here, and even longer since I’d been to Yankee Stadium. I spent about eight hours at the House That Ruth Built yesterday, setting up for today’s Futures Game where I will be manning a camera for between-inning interviews. Realizing that this trip probably represents the last time I’ll be in the grand old ballpark brings back some memories.
The first major league game I ever attended was at Yankee Stadium. It was August of 1979, I was ten years old and my brother eight when my parents took us to a game between the Yanks and Twins – I’m pretty sure it was this game. This was shortly after the tragic death of Thurman Munson. I don’t remember all that much about the game specifically. We sat in the upper deck, my brother and I got yearbooks and ate hot dogs and pretzels. The things that stuck with me most were that the Yankee catcher was Brad Gulden (“just like the mustard!” I told my parents) and just the sheer size of the ballpark itself.
The ballpark is still impressive in size and even though I’ve been there scores of times as working media now – doing interviews in the Yankee clubhouse and in then-manager Joe Torre’s office when I was producing “The State of the Yankees” for MLB.com several years ago – I still get a sense of awe when I’m there. As a big baseball history buff, the Stadium represents the place where Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Ford, etc, etc all created their legends.
Later in the day we heard about Bobby Murcer’s death. Bobby played in that game in August of 1979, having just rejoined the Yanks in June after being traded for Bobby Bonds back in 1975. I thought about that when I heard the news, that Murcer played center for the Yanks in my first Yankee game. He was a great guy and he’ll be sorely missed.