A few weeks ago, one of my business partners, GCS, and I were looking to host an event in NYC. After searching around, we found out that the Yankees were hosting a make-up game against the Twins, on Monday, Sept 19th at 1pm.
Since it was a make-up game with a team that is well out of the playoffs, the prices for Suites were very reasonable. They were trying to fill them up, so we were able to secure Suite 24, between home and first. A 16-person suite for $4800 that included tickets, food, a couple of parking passes and a tour of Monument Park.
We booked it and the partner started to drive attendance. We ended up with 8 clients from 6 different firms along with a fellow IBMer and two people from the partner, Suzi, the rep and the President, Israel. The agenda was set:
11:00-12:00 – Tour of Monument Park
12:00-1:00 – Presentation
1:00 – First Pitch
Little did we know at the time that Mariano Rivera would be sitting tied for the lead in career saves entering the game. If the Yanks can keep it close, we’d have a shot at witnessing one of the toughest records in baseball be broken.
Israel picked me up at the hotel Monday morning and we made our way into the city. The drive from Bridgewater was pretty quick with very little traffic at 9am. We made it to the stadium by 10am and parked directly across from the park. Parking at $35 was pretty expensive, but not bad for NY – and we had the voucher.
We tried to get into the stadium and suite early to set up, but they won’t open the doors until 11am. We went to Concierge Services to try to get someone to let us in, but we didn’t have any luck. Concierge Services is located by the player entrance so there were quite a few fans lined up waiting for the players to enter. In the lobby, the had a couple of large pictures on the walls. Here’s one of Joe Dimaggio.
We had to wait until 11am to get into the suite and we ended up meeting most of the clients in line outside the stadium. The good news is, it was easy to get us all registered with the tickets and up to the box, but we were already behind schedule.
The location was fantastic and the weather was perfect. We watched a little of the batting practice but as we set up for the presentation, Israel led the clients on a quick tour of Monument Park. By the time they got back, it was already 12:15 and our presentation would have to be quick.
No matter how much you think you’ve got their interest, you can’t help but to think they are all sitting there, listening to you, only because of the game. It’s like going on a Time Share Tour to get the goodies. You act interested, but you’re only there for one reason.
We wrapped up just as Regis Philbin was getting set to throw out the first pitch. I don’t know how old he is, but he walked right to the rubber and tossed a perfect pitch. Most wimp out and throw from the front of the mound. Not Regis. Nicely done!
Let the game begin.
The Yankees started the bottom of the first with a 2-run HR from Curtis Granderson, number 41 on the year! They added on a few more and jumped out to 5-0 lead after 3. The true Yankee fans said “just wait, AJ will give up a few”. Sure enough over the next two innings the Twins mounted a 4-run comeback and chased AJ before he could finish the 5th and was charged with all 4 runs. We noticed that no one came to the steps to welcome AJ back to the dugout. Is that sign of his future?
Our chance at history was back on, but it was in jeopardy shortly after when in the bottom of the 6th when the Yanks added 1 more before leaving two more on base.
As the innings wore on, you can hear the fans change. They wanted the Yanks to win, but they wanted to see Mo close it out. In the 8th inning, they had two on before an inning-ending double-play. It was odd to hear the hometown crowd cheer a double-play, but they knew what was coming.
Enter the Sandman!
Rivera took the field to huge roars from the limited numbers of fans that were there. They listed the attendance number at over 40,000, but you can see from the pictures, I think they added a zero. Of course, 200,000 will say they were there.
Rivera didn’t waste any time and the fans were on their feet the entire time. Every strike a cheer, every ball a boo. In typical Rivera fashion, ground-out, line-out, strike-out (looking), three up, three down, he retired the side and #602 in the books.
One interesting thing we noticed was that after each out, the ball was taken out of play. Wonder where they are today?
The players surrounded him on the mound to congratulate him, but the best was when he took to the mound with no one else on the field. He truly owned the field. It was awesome.
At the end of the day, we had an ecstatic group of clients, with the exception of one Red Sox fan, that got to witness history. A day I hope they never forget.