Showing posts from May, 2008

Yankee for Life

I had the absolute honor today of inteviewing Bobby Murcer at the Manhattan signing of his memoir Yankee for Life . Next month marks the 25th anniversary of his move from the Yankee bench to the broadcast booth -- where, according to his book, he's shared the microphone with 31 partners! Below: From 1973, when the original Yankee Stadium was preparing to close and Elton John, Three Dog Night, The O'Jays and Loggins & Messina rocked the radio, Bobby was one of the cover boys on the Yankees scorecard-program.

Battle of the Mascots

Last year, the Mets and Phillies finally developed the on-field rivalry expected from teams in the same division situated just 90 miles apart -- especially as the Phillies overtook Mets for the NL East title. Now, not only are the ballclubs true adversaries, but their mascots have become rivals. Mister Met's game time presence is steadily increasing at Shea Stadium -- accompanied by p-a system announcements touting him as baseball's best mascot. Turning that to reality could be harder than leaping over the Phillies into 1st place. Part of a mascot's job now includes shooting free tee-shirts into the stands. A staple at Phillies home games since the late-'70s, the Phanatic's massive presence greets fans entering through the outfield side of Citizens Bank Park. While Mister Met leads the 7th inning stretch celebration from the video screen. Mister Met and the Phanatic are not alone... heck, he wasn't even first. That honor goes to the San Diego Chicken. As he wasn

Shea Stadium - The Final Season

Shea Stadium's 45th and final season as the home of the Mets is being played in the shadow of its successor Citi Field. There are several ways to see the future rising up against the present; the view above is from the Shea Stadium/Willets Point subway station platform, while below are the shots seen on telecasts with Citi Field rising from just beyond the outfield. The Mets are counting down the remaining games at Shea. The mascot Mister Met participates along with an invited guest. The sweeping panorama of Shea Stadium's circular stands and multi-colored seats. 1st inning action from Thursday May 15th, with the Mets hosting the Washington Nationals. Zooming in on Mets shortstop and leadoff batter Jose Reyes. (Below:) Bottom of the 9th tension... Mets down 1-0, Carlos Beltran on 3rd base, one out, Carlos Delgado batting. (Seconds later, he'd line into a game-ending double play.)

Special Guest Star

One of the perks of my other career as an entertainment journalist is getting to interview celebrities of note. Let me assure you, this person is an ideal fit. Not only has he gone where no man has gone before (and not to scout for the next Dice-K or Ichiro), but growing up in Montreal, William Shatner saw many Montreal Royals games at Delorimier Stadium -- including during the 1946 season when Jackie Robinson was starring for the Dodgers then-top farm club. Fortunately, his Uncle Louie (for reasons you'll have to hear from him, that was the real "character" in his family) had season tickets for the Royals home games, making young Billy an eyewitness to history.

Camden Yards - Baltimore

The ballpark credited with launching baseball's current architectural trend is Camden Yards in Baltimore. It was built, as were many of the game's early 20th century classics, to fit into a square block or finite parcel of land, as opposed to a wide-open suburban space surrounded by an ocean of parking. Most importantly, it was designed and built with only purpose -- as a showcase for baseball. During the mid- and late-'90s when the Orioles still featured ironman Cal Ripken as the centerpiece of a strong lineup, Camden Yards frequently sold out. Out of town visitors instantly became aware of the difference between a ballpark and a multi-purpose stadium. Overnight, the 1960s-'70s generation of Shea, Busch, Riverfront, Three Rivers and Veterans Stadiums and the Oakland Coliseum became dinosaurs. Teams began floating ideas for new parks using the "retro" concept of Baltimore's neo-classic. With seats hugging the field and angled toward the action., the intima

Yankee Stadium -- Present and Future

The final season of the current Yankee Stadium began under far-from-ideal conditions. Chilly drizzle cast a gray pall over the Bronx on March 31st. While I was in LA soaking in the sun, my pal Joe McCoy took in this historic New York occasion -- and captured the moment for us. A tarp covers the infield, backed by emptied grandstands -- no game today! Joe also gave us several glimpses of the new Yankee Stadium, set to open its (very pricey) doors next year. The exterior will try and re-create the classic look of the big ballpark in the Bronx, prior to its mid-1970s renovation. While it will offer design touches of the original park that were lost in the renovation-- such as the decorative frieze elegantly framing the upper deck -- will the ghosts of the Babe, the Mick, Scooter, Thurman, The Iron Horse and Yankee Clipper move across the block to their new address? The other challenge -- will the fans who cheered their heroes feel as welcome? Or be as able to afford more than just an occ