Tonight the Yankees have officially earned their pass into the World Series. This is always a very fond time for me to reflect on because I love post-season baseball and all the great memories myself and my family have with it.
It’s hard not to be a little bit upset that Uncle WRC isn’t in pinstripes and pitching. However I tend to think about the completely magical times I’ve had in New York during the month of October.
I think my favorite memory has to be 10 years ago in 1999. I had just met Matthew McConaughey two weeks before and I was on cloud nine. My mom and her two sisters were in New York to support my Uncle while he pitched in the World Series as a Yankee.
I, on the other hand, was at school (in 7th grade) trying to get through tests and getting excited for the Halloween festivities coming up. One of the cute guys in my math class, Lee, was having a huge halloween bash and I was so excited to dress up and go. The day after I was invited, however, was the fourth game and subsequently the one game that would determine if the Yanks would sweep the Atlanta Braves. This meant shipping up and moving out that night in case of a clean sweep.
Being 13 and having been invited to the party of a somewhat popular boy was very important to me! I mean, come on, I was 13. So when I was told I was going to New York I was excited but then pissed I’d be missing the party. I got over that real quick.
Having completed all my tests, my family went forward with the decision to fly everyone up to NY. I remember going to school that next day on “hat day” sporting my fresh new Yankees cap. I was leaving school at noon to go home, pack and fly away to a place I’d never been before.
I remember everything clearly. I was flying up with my Uncle Mark and cousins Ash and Chase. My dad and my little bro were staying behind in the event NYY didn’t sweep because my brother was only six at the time. On the plane on the way there, I was listening to music on my CD player, praying to God the plane didn’t crash (a phobia of mine) and would take frequent music breaks to listen to the captain report on how the game was going. About 45 minutes before landing it was official: THE YANKEES WON! THE YANKEEEEEES WON! Yes, it was that World Series where that famous saying was said.
We land, get to our hotel and go right to sleep. There was going to be a ton of festivities going on and we needed a ton of rest! The next day revolved around visiting the Stadium, getting a look at the private locker room, meeting Mr. Derek Jeter among other things like shopping with Aunt Deb and having an overall blast. ESPN Zone and Sephora were frequent stops in Times Square. The day after next was such a great memory of mine because it was the Ticker Tape Parade where everyone basically shuts down their business in the city of New York and celebrates the win. It was especially fabulous since it was a sweep (I mean, the Braves didn’t show up to those games at ALL). I got up early and got ready, was overloaded with different passes around my neck and had a pen handy – I knew I wanted to get some autographs (oh to be 13 again). After getting around the mounds of traffic, we arrived… well, I’m not sure where but it was set up for a few honorary speeches by Mayor Guiliani himself and MVP Jete. Before that happened we were allowed to go in and out of all of these tents and eat delicious food and mingle. That’s where I met Matthew Broderick and Mrs. New York herself, Carrie Bradshaw, or as most people call her Sarah Jessica Parker. I was too young to watch Sex and the City so I had no idea really who I was meeting – basically “that chick” from First Wives Club and Hocus Pocus.
Then it was time for the parade! Yippee! We all had on our Yankees gear and we climbed into a double decker bus with my Uncle and the rest of my fam. We were carted all around New York City with thousands of New Yorkers packing the streets and hanging out of their windows showing support for their hometown team. It was truly amazing. I can honestly said I never felt so connected to the human race as I did during that parade (funny how sports can bring people so close together). I have a vivid memory and my favorite thing was watching fans open their windows, wave to us and pull out their brooms to “sweep” the ticker tape off their windowsills (to symbolize the sweep).
As if things couldn’t get any better, we went to a reception after the parade and basically ran amuck. Me and my cousins would run from baseball legends to performers asking for autographs. I got to meet Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Clint Black and his wife and Darryl Strawberry among others.
I have to say I love my family and all of the great blessings we have had together. Soon enough I’m sure we’ll be traveling all over the country to watch my cousin Koby hit a few homers in a championship series (hopefully in pinstripes)!