The End of a Yankee and a Family Era

**NOTE: I’m posting this on Sunday as Derek Jeter has already left the game after going 1-2 with an RBI single at Fenway Park, but wrote this on Friday morning with my emotions still raw from Thursday night.**

I took this photo at the first game ever played at the new Yankee Stadium back in 2009  (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

I took this photo at the first game ever played at the new Yankee Stadium back in 2009 (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

Last night I witnessed the end of an Era. Not only was last night the final home game of Derek Jeter’s amazing Hall of Fame career, but also the last game I will witness with the connection between my grandfathers’ Yankees and my Yankees still intact. Yes, the Yankees have three more games to play up in Boston, but I am typing this on my way to Madison, Wisconsin to watch my University of South Florida Bulls take on my brother’s University of Wisconsin Badgers for the first time ever tomorrow afternoon. So chances of seeing another Yankees game live are slim. Yes, I have the DVR set for Sunday, but watching a game on replay is just never the same as watching it live (I watched Jeter’s last AB live on my phone, isn’t the future great?! And yes…I teared up).

Derek Jeter hits an RBI double in the first inning  (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

Derek Jeter hits an RBI double in the first inning (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

If we’re friends or family you know my connection to the Yankees runs deep. My grandfathers saw amazing milestones at Yankee Stadium like Lou Gehrig’s speech, Don Larson’s perfect game, Chris Chambliss’ home run, etc etc etc. My grandfathers weren’t just Yankees fans, they were baseball fans they loved and respected the game. My Grandpa Morris was probably the biggest Yankees fan you could have ever met. He would watch games, or talk about the team whenever possible. Even when we all moved to Florida, when I was in high school, and he was forced to watch the Marlins, he still spoke about the Yankees. I’ve told this story before, give my grandfather a date, he probably could have told you if the Yankees played, who pitched, who scored the winning run, etc. Grandpa Morris shared his love of the Bronx Bombers with my dad. And my brother and I inherited that love from our dad.

Derek Jeter celebrates his game winning, walk-off hit.  (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

Derek Jeter celebrates his game winning, walk-off hit. (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

The day my Grandpa Morris died, the Yankees clinched the American League to face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series. I remember being on my phone with my dad, sad that my grandpa was gone and instead of consoling my dad over the loss of his father, he was consoling me. My dad’s words that evening will live with me forever, “Go watch and root on the Yankees, that’s what Grandpa would want you to do.” Of course, that’s what I did. A few days later, my family gathered in New Jersey for my grandpa’s funeral. As we stood by the grave, my father spoke about the man his father was and his last words were of course about my grandfather’s connection to the Yankees (and I’m paraphrasing here…this was 13 years ago) “My dad saw some great Yankee players, from Babe Ruth, to Lou Gehrig, to Joe Gordon, to Mickey Mantle (Dad’s favorite player), to Derek Jeter. That’s pretty cool.” Wow…can you imagine being that lucky? Who else was that lucky? My grandfathers were both over 90 years old when they passed in 2000 and 2001. That’s A LOT of Yankees baseball.

CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner give Derek Jeter his much deserved Gatorade shower.  (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner give Derek Jeter his much deserved Gatorade shower. (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

So last night was the last Yankees connection I had to my grandfathers. The last of the players they watched are no longer wearing pinstripes and Bob Sheppard. All gone. No more. Sure, we’ll probably (hopefully) always hear Mr. Sheppard welcome us to Yankee Stadium. Welcome us to Old Timer’s Day. Tell us we’re watching the Yes Network. But we’ll never hear him announce a player as they come up to the plate. No more, “Now batting for the Yankees number 2, Derek Jeter, number 2.” Almost fittingly, the last time we heard that was right before the captain laced an opposite field walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth. Only thing more perfect would have been if he did that to win the World Series. Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be. Mr Sheppard’s voice during a game is now just a memory. Something we’ll only hear during “Yankees Classics.”

I often wonder what my grandfathers would think of the new Yankee Stadium. They’d probably say the same thing my dad did the first time he saw it “It’s cool….but it’s not the same.” Ok, they wouldn’t have said, “cool” but you get the idea.

Ok, I’ve gone on too much of a tangent. Possibly because I had about 4 hours of sleep last night and I’m typing through tears. Tears from exhaustion. Tears that I’ll never get to see my favorite player lead his team onto the field again. Tears that I’ll never get to see my favorite player in pinstripes again (yeah…Old Timers Day doesn’t count). Tears that the last Yankee connection I had to my grandfathers is now hanging up his cleats.

One last time at shortstop  (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

One last time at shortstop (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

I’m lucky to have witnessed last night in person. I’m lucky to have witnessed Derek Jeter’s full career, even as a prospect at Spring Training while he wore number 74. I’m lucky that I still have my dad to share more Yankees memories with. Joe DiMaggio famously said, “I want to thank the good lord for making me a Yankee.” Well, I want to thank my grandfathers for making me a Yankees fan.

Derek Jeter tips his cap to the Yankee fans (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

Derek Jeter tips his cap to the Yankee fans (Photo: Stefanie Gordon)

Posted in Sports, Yankees | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Seeking….

I’m going to keep this short and sweet (Just like me). 

I love my job. It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I love the people I work with, and the challenges it provides me everyday. But I’m looking for another job.

No, I’m not leaving SI and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. To be honest, I just need some extra income. But I need something that is flexible with my SI schedule. (Please do not suggest Rodan & Fields)

The reason I’m looking now is because my gig with WPIX/Mets is ending sooner than I had anticipated due to budgetary reasons. And well….also because MLB didn’t choose me to be their next commissioner.

I’m looking for something either in social media or event planning (which some of you know, I did in my former professional life). 

I think a position in social media is more realistic. I know there are companies/restaurants/etc out there that need services like I can provide, I just need help finding them. Depending on the pay scale, ideally this new position would only require 10-15 hours a week.  I would be happy to discuss contract work instead of an hourly wage as well. 

Event planning is also an option. Maybe working with a wedding planner or someone needing extra help during their events?   

Of course, a mixture of the two be great also. 

Anyway, If you know someone looking for help, or if you’re looking for help, please reach out.  You can find my resume at hirestef.com   THANKS!

If you’ve made it this far and you’re on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn…please pass this post along. Thanks again!

Posted in career, Events, Marketing, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m going to be doing what?!?!?!

As some of you may, or may not know, WPIX here in NYC televises about 30 Mets games a season. Beginning Saturday night, I will be covering these games for PIX, live blogging, tweeting, interviewing, etc. The past few years I have added many new experiences to my professional life, and for 2014 it’ll be reporting from a MLB press box! This isn’t a full time position and it’s only for the games that are on PIX, but I am very excited and thankful…ok and maybe a little nervous…for this new opportunity.  Huge thank you to Brian Reich for referring me for the job!

You’ll be able to follow my live game blog at PIX11.com/Mets and tweets at @MetsonPIX11 (Which will be up and running by game time Saturday!).  So…I guess I should go and read up on the Mets.

 

 

 

Posted in career, Social Media, Sports, Sports Business, Twitter, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts on Derek Jeter’s Announcement

I’m sitting here on the verge of tears (shut up) as I read that Derek Jeter will retire at the end of this season. I have always hoped he would just announce that he was done after a season. No farewell tour, no final game at the Stadium. Just a “thanks for the memories” announcement once the Yankees season was over. This is not to be.

Image

Photo by me

Now, I sit here having to prepare myself for my favorite player’s final season. This is more difficult for me to process than Mariano’s announcement last February. I suppose last season was a dry run for “Life after Jeter” since he missed most of the season due to injury. But he was alway there, when not rehabbing, rooting on the team from the dugout and we always had the thought in the back of our minds “Well, if he can get healthy, he’ll play again this season”.

Image

Photo by me

So here we are Yankees fans. We’re facing our last season with the Captain. #2. The face of the Yankees since 1996. The player who only wanted to grow up to be a New York Yankee. How will things be after this season? Who knows. But one thing I do know. I am lucky that I was raised a Yankees fan (Thank you Dad, Grandpa Jack and Grandpa Morris). That Derek Jeter is our shortstop and has been a constant for so many years, and I’ll miss seeing him on the field, doing his jump throw, holding his hand out to the umpire has he readies himself in the batters box and being the first player to congratulate a teammate for scoring a run. A generation of athletes have grown up watching Derek Jeter and looking to him as a role model of how player should be.

Image

Photo by me.

Of course now I need to reevaluate my plans for the last weekend of the baseball season. I had planned on flying to Madison, Wisconsin to see South Florida play Wisconsin at Camp Randall on Saturday and then possibly drive to Milwaukee on Sunday to see a Brewers game. But now, with Jeter’s announcement, I have to ask myself: Do I forgo this trip and make plans to be at Fenway Park on 9/28/14? Or, do I still go to Madison and let 9/25/14 at the Stadium be the last time I see Derek Jeter play a (regular season) game?  Some of you might laugh, but this is a serious thing I will have to contemplate.

Posted in Marketing, Sports, Uncategorized, Yankees | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rangers v. Devils 1/26/14

Vinny is ready for roll callView from section 203Mike Pullano interviewing VinnyPregame warmups

Dan GirardiRyan McDonaghRyan CallahanRyan McDonagh
Brian Boyle

Rangers v. Devils 1/26/14, a set on Flickr.

I was lucky to attend the Stadium Series game between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. Here are my photos.

Posted in Events, Hockey, National Hockey League, Photography, Sports, Sports Business, Yankees | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

UPDATED: Thoughts on the Logistics of Last Night

Last night, if you didn’t already know, I attended the Yankees game (I know…you’re shocked).  Anyway, last night was also Mariano Rivera bobblehead night. The 4th and final bobblehead giveaway of the season.  As was the case for 2 of the 3 previous giveaways, I and a few thousand of my closest friends arrived at the Stadium well before the gates were due to open at 5pm. 5pm came, they didn’t let us in. 5:10, 5:20, 5:30 nothing…still in line and no word from the team as to why we weren’t being let in.  I looked on Twitter and found out that the bobbleheads were stuck in New Jersey. Long story short, at 5:45pm they finally let everyone in. However, there wasn’t a bobblehead to be found and we were given a voucher to pick up the bobblehead at a later time.

As someone who has worked in the promotions department for a few teams and also ran logistics for major conferences for three years, my mind naturally began to think about how the Yankees would pull off distributing 18,000 bobbleheads during or after the game. At first I thought, set up a few areas where people can pick them up by the gates as they leave. Then it was announced: Between the bottom of the 3rd and up to 30 minutes after the game, fans with vouchers could pick up their bobbleheads by Gate 2.  Wait…18 THOUSAND people to one small area? You’re kidding me right?  Nope.

H/t to Richard Iurilli for this photo

H/t to Richard Iurilli for this photo

During the 4th inning I decided to check out the situation.  The line started back by the left field foul pole, down the 3rd base line, up a ramp, around the upper concourse (grandstand) and then back down. Some people waited in line for an hour and a half, missing more than half of what turned out to be a horrible game for the Yankees, in order to receive their bobbleheads.  I waited in this line for about 30 minutes before getting out because I wanted to watch the game. 

In the 8th inning my friends and I decided to get back in line so we weren’t at the Stadium until midnight. At this point we left our seats in section 129 (which is right by Gate 2), walked down the left field line, under the bleachers and finally found the end of the line by section 112 which is just past 1st base! All in all, we were in this line for just under an hour.

Image

Here’s a map of Yankee Stadium to give you an idea of what I’m talking about above.

Also, there were only a handful of Yankees employees handing out the bobbleheads and I won’t even get into how rude some of the staff were to fans. I’m sure you’ve read about that somewhere else.

As the night wore on and I thought about this more, here’s what I would have done. (Not saying this would have been perfect or anything close to that…just an idea):

There’s an area in Yankee Stadium called “The Great Hall” where most fans enter/leave the Stadium through (which is also Gate 6). Since it seemed they closed off sales in the food court area because of the crowd attempting to go to Gate 2, they should have closed off the Great Hall to anyone who did not have a voucher and then set up the hall like a redemption center.

Image

View of the Great Hall from a photo I took in 2009

There’s three other gates and multiple areas for fans to leave from (except for fans that needed to use elevators to exit). Why didn’t the team set up tables and use the Great Hall?  We’ll never know, but that’s what I would have done if I was running the show over there.

Well, after a horrible game, and a nightmare of an experience, I have my Mariano Rivera bobblehead and he has now joined his friends, Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui in my apartment.

Image

UPDATE: Late this afternoon the Yankees sent out a press release announcing that anyone with with tickets for last night’s game will be able to redeem them for any regular season game next season (aside from Opening Day and Old Timers’ Day).  Also in the press release was information on how people with bobblehead vouchers can still get a bobblehead.  

“The strength of this organization comes from the lifelong relationships we have developed with our fans,” Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost said. “Although a perfect storm of circumstances beyond our control led to the delay in the distribution of last night’s promotional item, the fact remains that our fans were inconvenienced. It matters little why – only that they were. We take last night’s event seriously, and to apologize to our fans and express our loyalty to them, we are inviting all ticket holders from last night’s game back to Yankee Stadium for a complimentary game during the 2014 regular season.”

I am happy that the Yankees are doing what they can to make good on the mess that was last night. Only wish they gave us the bobblehead option last night too.  I am going to the game tomorrow and would have rather just walked up and redeemed my voucher then without dealing with the headache of last night. Also, I can only assume that the majority of fans that were at last night’s game are not on social media, not a season ticket holder or know to check the press release section of the Yankees website and will never know about these options.

Posted in Events, Social Media, Sports, Sports Business, Twitter, Uncategorized, Yankees | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giants v. Yankees 9/22/13 Mariano Rivera honored. Andy Pettitte’s last start.

hmmm...I wonder what could be under that sheet...
Steinbrenner family for the ceremonyMy view every Sunday since 2009.San Francisco Giants in the dugout to watch the ceremony for Mariano.9/22/13 Mariano Rivera Day in NYC
Sharon and Rachel RobinsonJackie Robinson is the first player from another team to have a monument in Monument ParkThe Yankees retire Mariano's number
Mariano Rivera hugs Rachel RobinsonI spy Metallica!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment