Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Big Fundraiser

What's up, Yankee fans? Hope you are all enjoying your off-season so far.

Got a new project that I'm working on, and I need your help. I can't really get into specifics just yet. It's top secret. But it's something that I've wanted to do for a few years now, I just have not had the opportunity to work on it.

This is where you come in.

In order to make this happen, I need some funds. I'm not really looking for a venture capitalist, and this isn't the type of project suited for Kickstarter. I'm going to go about this the old fashioned way, by selling things.

Therefore, I am happy to announce the BIGGEST sale in Bald Vinny's House of Tees History:

The HALF-OFF Sale.

That's right. You can enjoy up to 50% off EVERYTHING in the store for the next week. No coupon codes are necessary. Discounts are shown on the site and are effective immediately. Most tees are just TEN BUCKS and you can even get a few shirts for just FIVE DOLLARS!

In addition, I expect that I'll be digging into my archives and selling off some of the crap, errr....I mean collectibles, that have been taking up space in my basement for years. Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter for some interesting memorabilia auctions!


So start your holiday shopping now at BaldVinny.com and help me begin my quest on this new project (I hope to be able to share details in a few weeks)

As always, I thank you for your support.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Contest: Where do YOU TiqIQ?

New York Sports Fans, Win $500 in Tickets from TiqIQ.com! COMMENT a location in New York where you use your TiqIQ (anywhere, be creative). Include a PHOTO for extra credit.

Example: “I use my TiqIQ on a tugboat in the Hudson.” Show your New York-Pride!

Rules: The top 3 entries from participating cities will be chosen by TiqIQ.com and announced Monday, October 7th. Deadline: Sunday, October 6th, 11:59PM.

1st Place: $250 in tickets to any event on TiqIQ.com
2nd Place: $150 in tickets to any event on TiqIQ.com
3rd Place: $100 in tickets to any event on TiqIQ.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Birthday Wish

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you '81 days in 203'. a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. '81 days in 203' articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqIQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. They now offer tickets directly from the Yankees ticket exchange, the official resale marketplace of the New York Yankees.




Let me start this post by saying that I'm not a fan of Birthdays.

Unless you are like, ten years old, you should not be making a big deal about the day you came into this world (notable exceptions for the 18th and 21st, but that's about it). 30 isn't really a milestone, and 40 is the new 30. If you clock in at 50, go ahead, you deserve to celebrate.

And don't get me started on the people who insist on having "birthday weeks" or taking the day off from work on their Birthday!

But I digress.....

The point is, I'm not really into making a big deal about Birthdays, especially my own. However this year, my birthday falls the day before the final Regular Season home game of the year (September 25th) and I think I have an opportunity to actually make myself happy on my birthday.....

Therefore, I am declaring the September 25th game against the Rays to be #BanTheWave Night at The Stadium




It's pretty well known how much I despise The Wave, so I thought that maybe for ONE DAY this year, The Stadium could go Wave Free. I know it's a tall task, but if I get the word out early enough, I think we could succeed!

Of course, you can't have a promotional night without some sort of promotion. So, I've ordered 500 #BanTheWave buttons that we'll be giving out all night long at Bald Vinny's House of Tees to help spread our message (there might be another huge surprise in store as well!)

This would also be the perfect time (hint, hint) to sport the brand new #BanTheWave tee and, if you order before September 15th, the shirt SHIPS FREE! (Happy Birthday to YOU!)

So, please spread the word to anyone you know going to the game on September 25th. I know Section 203 has The Wave shut-down, but we're going to need plenty of sleeper cells in the other sections to make sure The Wave STOPS Here!


Thank you in advance for helping stomp out this terrible epidemic. With your support, we can be sure The Wave ends once and for all!

If you need tickets to the 9/25 game, my buddies at TiqIq have you covered. Check out the available tickets here



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Matt Fortese/Stand For the Silent

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you '81 days in 203'. a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. '81 days in 203' articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqIQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. TiqIQ now offers tickets directly from the Yankees ticket exchange, the official resale marketplace of the New York Yankees.



Not gonna lie to you guys.

I've been putting off the writing of this blog for the better part of a month now. I've constantly made excuses for myself and just plain ignored it at times, but I've finally carved time in my evening to sit down and get this epic blog out of my system.

As I mentioned, this all started about a month ago. I woke up one morning to a Tweet linking me to a news story out of Baltimore. It was about a Yankee fan, Matt Fortese, who had gone to an Orioles/Nationals game with his girlfriend. Like most Yankee fans, Matt wore his team colors in enemy territory. However, Matt paid a terrible price for doing so.

The article described how Matt and his girlfriend were taunted all game by two (presumably drunk) Baltimore fans. It escalated to the point of an altercation, which found Matt on the wrong side of angry punch. He went head over heels over a railing, cracking his skull rendering him unconscious. Additional reports include the two men spitting on Matt as he lay motionless on the floor.

The story immediately hit me hard. How many times have I been in almost that exact situation? Like most of you, I rep my Yankees gear home and away, in season or not. I have been to NUMEROUS ballparks where the taunting has gone just a bit too far and I have seen way too many fights over the game of baseball. Granted, these were in my more youthful days, but it seems that little has changed over the years.

So, I sat on this story for a few weeks. I didn't quite know what to say. I mean, was comment really necessary? Could anyone NOT see the absolutely abhorrent behavior of those two fans?  What was I goint to add to the story? I wasn't going to get on a moral soapbox. Lord knows I've done more than my fair share of taunting and teasing. It wasn't until just this past week, when I met Kirk Smalley during a HOPE Week event, that I knew how to bring it all together.

Kirk is the dad of an 11 year old boy, Ty. Ty was, by all accounts, a good kid that was fun to be around. Except for some reason, he was the subject of bullying at school. The bullying got so intense over a two year period that finally, one day, Ty fought back. As Kirk told the audience, "it's always the second guy who gets caught", and Ty was the one caught fighting. He got the punishment, and was sent home to a suspension. It was during this suspension, home and alone, that Ty took his own life.

Kirk's message was emotional, to say the least. As a parent, some of the stories he was telling of other children who had been bullied was just heart wrenching. He told of a six year old girl who was so afraid to go to school for fear of a bully that not only did she tell her mother that she wanted to take her own life, she had a plan in her mind on how to do so. SIX years old....

My daughter is five.

Needless to say, I was moved.

Kirk, and his group Stand For The Silent, travel all around the world hosting assemblies for hundreds of schoolchildren to educate them about the terrible, real-life consequences of bullying. As I stood in The Great Hall, looking at the faces of not only kids, but many adults, fighting back tears, I somehow thought of Matt Fortese.

In a very real way, Matt was the subject of bullying in the same way Kirk's son Ty was. Instead of daily torment at school over a two year span, this happened in less time than it takes to play a baseball game. A lot of things became very clear to me at that moment, and I hope it's doing the same for you right about now.

We've all been a part of some intense baseball rivalries, and nothing that I say here is going to influence you one way or another the next time Boston comes to town. But I really do encourage you to check out Kirk's message and perhaps he'll change your perspective a little bit, just as he's changed mine.

When I first heard Matt's story, I reached out to a few of his friends in Baltimore to see how I could help. I never met the kid, probably never will, but just felt the need to stand behind another Yankee fan during a difficult time. The guy was in bad shape, he'd spent a few weeks in a hospital, but thankfully is now home beginning the long recovery process.

His family is left with a ton of hospital bills, so to help raise some money, I'm hosting a few eBay auctions that I hope you'll take a look at (and bid excessively on!)

First up is my token donation for any fundraiser: An evening for two in Section 203 of the Right Field Bleachers at Yankee Stadium. Winner will hang out with me during Roll Call and each guest will get their choice of shirt from Bald Vinny's House of tees. To make this one even better, our good friends at the Hard Rock Cafe at Yankee Stadium have donated a gift voucher for dinner and non alcoholic drinks for two (for up to $150).

The next item has been donated by my good friend "Yankee Vic" and comes from his extensive personal collection. It is a very rare 2000 Subway Series/World Series commemorative envelope signed by Mariano Rivera (included is a Steiner Certificate of Authenticity). The envelope is in pristine condition AND is stamped by the Subway Series Station in the Bronx Dated October 21, 2000.


Next up is a Tino Martinez signed baseball, courtesy of my good friend and right hand man, George Brew. Also culled from his personal collection, this Tino autograph is housed in a great display case ready for any collection.


Finally, the big one. The show stopper. Pretty much the coolest thing I ever laid eyes on, is a hand painted original Mariano Rivera painting by Internationally known artist Craig Mahoney. If you don't know Craig's talent, you are missing out (and can catch up here). Craig gained recent fame for his "Grown Up Calvin And Hobbes" and his art/comedy can be found all over New Jersey. Craig was awesome enough to donate this 36"x24" acrylic on canvas masterpiece (additional "in progress" photos can be seen in the listing)



You can see any of the auctions here, or by clicking the links above.

Thanks, and be kind to each other :-)


lmL









Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Contest: Win $100 in Ticket Credit

BOOM!

Been gone from the blog scene for a week or so, but I'm back with a SWEET contest from our pals over at TiqIQ.

This is a super simple contest to enter. Just head over to the contest page and enter your name, email address and mention your favorite 2013 Yankee moment to date to be entered

SO simple, right?

There are no wrong answers, so be creative!

And be sure to pass the contest link to your friends!

One winner will be chosen among entries to win $100 worth of ticket credit to ANY upcoming Yankee game!




Don't forget, TiqIQ is your BEST source for all events! Click here for New York Yankees tickets.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Be Prepared

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you '81 days in 203'. a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. '81 days in 203' articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqIQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. TiqIQ now offers tickets directly from the Yankees ticket exchange, the official resale marketplace of the New York Yankees.



You never know when opportunity arises, so it's always best to be prepared.

As I'm sure most of you know I operate a small t-shirt company with a retail location outside of Billy's Sports Bar on River Ave across from the old stadium. On Thursday and Friday of this week, our good friend Michael Kay was broadcasting his show from the newly renovated VIP area inside Billy's.

His guest for Friday's show was long time friend of The Creatures (and pretty much one of my most favorite people of all time) David Cone. Once we finished setting up my shirt stand, I went to park my van, and flipped on ESPN Radio to check out Coney's interview.

After a few minutes of banter, Cone commented on how enormous the inside of Billy's is, claiming that they could have a whiffle ball game right there by the bar. Cone's request went something like this:

"If you are at the stadium and could bring a whiffle ball and bat to Billy's Sports Bar RIGHT NOW, I want to face off against Don (LaGreca, Michael's co-host on the show)"

Now, I'm not sure how many people were listening, or were by the stadium, OR had a wiffle ball and bat to lend.....but I did!

I practically live out of my van in the summer, and it just so happened that I had a bat and ball buried under boxes of tees (the bat was easy to find, the ball a little tougher).

I hustled down to the bar, passed off the items, and had a front row view as Coney warmed up to face Don (sorry the pictures kinda suck):

discussing grip selection with The Twins



He's still got it

I tried to get some video of the actual at-bat, but it came out pretty crappy so I'll spare you guys. But it was a ton of fun. And, in the end, I scored one of the most unique autographs to add to my collection:

Whiffle Ball Bat signed by Michael Kay, Don LaGreca and David Cone


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What A Long Week!

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you '81 days in 203'. a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. '81 days in 203' articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqIQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. TiqIQ now offers tickets directly from the Yankees ticket exchange, the official resale marketplace of the New York Yankees.


I've been really slacking on my writing duties this week, and I apologize for it. I've been running around like mad, and kept putting off the blog in favor of other priorities. But fear not, loyal reader, for I have returned to re-cap some events from last week (it'll be like two blogs in one!).

The first blog worthy event happened on Wednesday when we welcomed not one or two but THREE members of the NY Football Giants out to 203 to join us for Roll Call. By my count, this would make the 4th, 5th and 6th member of the Giants to join us in the bleachers (David Baas, Chris Snee and  Justin Tuck were the first three).


Tight End Bear Pascoe, Running Back David Wilson and Wide Receiver Rueben Randle take in Roll Call
Before I get to the video link, I'd like to call attention to something in the photo above. Take a look, if you will, at the background of that photo. See the guy standing between David and Rueben, talking on the phone? He's not really talking on the phone. And that guy on the right in the away jersey taking a picture? Yeah, he's not really taking a picture either.

Those two guys would be Jersey Steve and Mike Donahue, long time Bleacher Regulars. They are partaking one of the newest trends to make it's way out to the 203, photobombing Bald Vinny pics. It happens quite a bit (and I mean a LOT!). So much so, that I've created an entire Tumblr dedicated to my photobombs.

Anyway, back to the Roll Call video, you can check it out here.

Fast forward to Saturday, and I can take you through one of the most epic (in length, and awesomeness) day  of the very young season. My day started at 5:15am (after getting to bed around 1:30a from the game the night before) in order to take my wife Rose to run her second half marathon, the Brooklyn Half (she kicked major ass, shattering her personal record by SIX minutes!). From Brooklyn, I made my way straight to the Bronx in no time (no traffic at 6:30am, go figure) and hopped out of my van at exactly 7:04am to snap this shot:



Of course, there was a really good reason as to why I would head to the stadium a good 3 hours before I would normally arrive for a weekend game, and that was to attend the second annual Yankee Stadium Photo Day (for season ticket holders). The Yankees have recently begun a few efforts to "connect" with their fans, and photo day is by far one of the best.

Fans line up around the warning track, and players (as well as some of the broadcast team) walk the warning track, shaking hands and taking pictures. I won't make you all incredibly jealous with all of the amazing pictures we got that day, but I will share a few of my favorites (you can check out the whole gallery here).

With the man in charge (and my friends Lauren and Tommy)


My new BFF, Vernon Wells


Posing for a shot with the G.O.A.T. 


Very funny, Cash

The Bleacher Crew poses for a shot
As if this day wasn't awesome enough, it continued in its awesomeness well into the night. After the game, I headed in to Manhattan to lend support at a fundraiser held at my favorite bar in the city, Foley's. The event was for the YAI Network (an excellent organization dedicated to creating hope and opportunity for people with learning and developmental disabilities) and featured our old friend, David Cone, as a guest bartender.

I love Foley's, I love Cone, and I love being able to help out ( I donated "The Ultimate Bleacher Creature Package" as a raffle prize) so going to the event was a no-brainer. To top it off, we were able to drop the kids off at my parent's house, and Rose and I had a chance for a rare date night.


Needless to say, Sunday was pretty rough. Waking up to rainy skies (and then, standing in said rain for 5 hours) didn't make it any easier. Thankfully, we were (slightly) spared and the afternoon game was a wash out.

But, in the end, I wouldn't trade a minute of it. As I used to say (in my much younger days) "You can sleep when you die".

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An Important Date in Bleacher History

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you '81 days in 203'. a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. '81 days in 203' articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqIQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. TiqIQ now offers tickets directly from the Yankees ticket exchange, the official resale marketplace of the New York Yankees.


I usually don't write a blog before any home games have taken place, but I'll make an exception this week in order to give you a brief history lesson (trust me, this one is important). 

On this date in 1996, prior to the game, a special service was held in Section 39 of the Right Field Bleachers at the old Yankee Stadium. It was a somber night, as one of the leaders of the group that sat out there had passed away just a week earlier. His name was Ali Ramirez, and without him, I wouldn't be writing these words to you today. 



Ali Ramirez and his Cowbell

Ali is credited within our group as being the "original" Bleacher Creature, as his presence pre-dated all of the Bleacher Regulars (that was what the group was called before we were dubbed The Creatures). Ali attended his first game in the Bleachers in 1959 and was proud to call Section 39 home for the better part of 37(!) years. He is most known for bringing a cow-bell to the section to help rally the fans and cheer on the Yankees (a tradition we are proud to carry on to this very day). It was the rhythm of the bell and the raucous cheering from the crowd that attracted fans from all over the ball park into the bleachers. 



For several years in Section 39, there was a brass plaque dedicated to Ali that adorned the seat he called home. We were touched and honored when the Yankee Organization moved the plaque to our new house, cementing the tradition that Ali's seat always remained "reserved". 







Prior to the "dynasty" run of the late 1990's, the bleachers were General Admission, meaning you could buy a ticket and sit anywhere you wanted. Except on this night in 1996, the confines of Section 39 were off limits unless you were a family member or part of the Section 39 crew. It was blocked off by Yankee Security as well as many Bleacher Creatures. The flags at the stadium flew at half-staff, and there was a banner hanging in the back of Section 39 dedicated to Ramirez.

A small private ceremony was held pre-game, and as the sun set and night descended on the Bronx, a lone star twinkled in the sky. As the innings ticked away, the impending feeling of "Yankee Magic" filled the stands and concourses of The Stadium. For, it was this night, that Doc Gooden would toss a no-hitter and etch his own name into the Yankee history books.

Tonight, some 17 years later, the Yankees will once again be facing off against the Seattle Mariners (the team against whom Gooden tossed his no-no) but this time within the confines of the new Stadium. Lots of things have changed since that date in 1996 (new stadium, new players, new fans and new staff), but one thing will always remain: the everlasting memory of the man who started it all for us so many years ago.

Rest In Peace, Brother Ali. Keep ringing that bell up there in Heaven and cheering on our Yanks.







(Below is a reprint of the original article in the Daily News about Ali's passing)



click to enlarge

Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Contest From TiqIq

Got a great contest from our friends at TiqIq that can enter you for a chance to win a $100 ticket credit AND 50% off for your choice of ANY Yankee game from CrowdSeats!

It's super simple to enter. Just head over to the contest page , enter your name and email address, and answer a simple question about the Yankees Skipper:

Is Joe Girardi the Manager of The Year (so far) and why/why not? 

Obviously, it's very early in the year, but Joe has been responsible for a few bold moves (Playing Wells at third base, batting a pitcher in the 8 spot) and he's got the Yankees into first place while most of our stars rehab in Tampa.

Let us know your opinion and you could have a chance to win $100 in ticket credit AND 50% off for your choice of Yankee game. So Simple. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Week in Review

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you '81 days in 203'. a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. '81 days in 203' articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqIQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. TiqIQ now offers tickets directly from the Yankees ticket exchange, the official resale marketplace of the New York Yankees.



I knew there would come a time in the life of this blog that I would really struggle with finding something to write about. I'm slightly discouraged that it's happened the first week in May. 

What can I really say about an otherwise lack-luster homestand? We hosted the Astros for a set early in the week, and I would be surprised if the combined attendance of all three games would be enough to sell out the stadium just once. Yeah, it was that bad. Here's a shot of Left Field on Wednesday night 

"If you're driving by the stadium folks, plenty of good seats still available"


I hate to get all "tow the company line" on you guys but seriously, what's keeping you from the ballpark? I keep hearing that it's too expensive, but if you look at the secondary market, tickets are often lower than face value (yes, even in the bleachers). The weather has been improving, and slowly the kids will be getting out of school and people will be going on vacation. People should really take advantage of the current deals now. 

The weekend got slightly better, if only for the appearance of our first celebrity guest of the year, Gabriel Macht from the hit show Suits (Thursdays at 10pm on the USA Network) and his Dad, fellow actor Stephen Macht (best known for his role on General Hospital).

Photo Credit: Mike Stewart www.bleachercreatures.tv


Gabriel was an AWESOME guest. He's a Bronx boy and a real deal Yankee fan. While we waited for the game to begin, we chatted about the old stadium, and how he used to come out to the Bleachers back in the days before he became famous. 

That conversation reminded me of a similar one I had with former Roll Call guest Justice Sonya Sotomayor. She told me of being able to come to the stadium in regular street clothes and a baseball cap, and blend in to the crowd to enjoy a game. For three hours, she could escape her hectic schedule and just be a normal person. 

And that's something we all share about our love for the Yankees. It's a way to escape life for a hours and just be a face in the crowd. I have extolled the virtues of getting on a bench and yelling your face off within these very pages before, and it's clear by the video below (and the joy in Gabriel and Stephen's faces) that you can never be too big of a star to cheer on the Yankees:


So really, what are you waiting for? I'm always posting great links to ticket deals on my Twitter feed and my FaceBook page, so be sure to follow along and come join us at the stadium for a little noise! '

You just never know who may show up.....

Monday, April 29, 2013

Double Duty

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you ‘81 days in 203’, a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. ’81 days in 203’ articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqiQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. Remember, for the best deals on not only New York Yankees tickets, but all MLB tickets, visit TiqIQ.com.



We all wear many different hats in our daily lives, be it parent or sibling, boss or employee or even friend or enemy. Each hat requires us to act a certain way, or perform certain responsibilities  Most of us try to keep our hats separate (never bring work home, never take home stresses to work) but sometimes we have no choice. Sometimes, we just have to perform overlapping responsibilities.

Such was the case for me this past Saturday. When the schedule was released  I knew immediately I would be in trouble. The Yanks were scheduled to take on the Blue Jays at 4pm. Sometime during the 2012 season, my youngest sister and her fiancee chose that evening as their wedding date.

Had the game been a normal 1pm Saturday start, I wouldn't even be writing this blog. I would have worked the game and made it to the evening wedding with plenty of time to spare. But, for some reason, it was a 4pm game (that was NOT aired on FOX). Being a member of the wedding party required me to arrive in Commack, Long Island (about an hour away from the stadium) at 5pm for photos.

Not good.

As many of you know, one of the hats I wear is of small business owner. I create/design/sell sports apparel geared to the passionate and hard core yankee fan (also known in some circles as The Bleacher Creatures). My point of sale location is outside of Billy's Sports Bar, right outside of the stadium on River Ave. We are open every game day, and this past Saturday (being sunny and warm for the first time all season) was a day that I couldn't afford to miss (it's not like I can just add another game to the schedule and make up the work some other day).

Since I was going to be in the Bronx all day, there was no way I was going to work all morning and skip out on Roll Call. But I was still going to be pretty pressed for time, so I did what anyone else in my position would have done. I put on my tuxedo, did the roll call, and high-tailed it out of the Bronx for the wedding!

Cleans up nicely

It was, without a doubt, my shortest trip to the stadium. I don't believe I actually even sat down in my seat. I was in, screaming, then on the road in what seemed like minutes. Thankfully, I made it to the wedding in time (I missed some of the photos in the Groom's Quarters while the Groomsmen were getting ready, but I made it in time for all of the group photos).

The wedding was awesome, and it was such a relief to have made it in on time. I was able to keep my responsibilities as a business owner, as a yankee fan, and most importantly, as a brother, intact. It all just happened to work out well, and I wouldn't have been able to do it without a lot of help. First, George (and my webmaster Craig) held it down at The House of Tees in my absence. Tracy and Nick at The Yankee Bar and Grill helped out by housing all of my gear (tables, shirts, display) in the bar overnight. And the guys at the parking garage, who usually bury my van deep in the lot as I'm usually the last to leave, left me a nice open lane to maneuver my van out of the lot. Without all of those guys kicking in a little bit of extra effort, I would have never made it, so to each of those guys, Thank You.

With the beautiful bride

My good friends at MLB's CUT4 were also on hand to film the Roll Call and were nice enough to post this little story about my day here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Our First Guest

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you ‘81 days in 203’, a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. ’81 days in 203’ articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqiQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. Remember, for the best deals on not only New York Yankees tickets, but all MLB tickets, visit TiqIQ.com.





We're kicking off a nice long 10 game home stand this week, and what better way to begin than by welcoming a special guest? Last year, we were quite fortunate to be visited by many celebrities, athletes, and musicians in Section 203 to participate in Roll Call. But not every guest is a celebrity, and sometimes the guest is just a friend celebrating a birthday. Such was the case last night, when we welcomed our friend Karter Chamberlain to join us for his 7th birthday (You may know Karter's Dad, Joba)


Karter, and Aunt Tasha

The Creatures have shared a great relationship with Joba since we got to participate in a HOPE week event in 2010, so I didn't hesitate for a second to reach out and invite Karter to join us. Once I got permission from Dad, I reached out to Joba's sister Tasha to coordinate details. She said that Karter was excited to make some noise, and that was just about all I needed to hear to get fired up! I love that people are passionate about the Yankees and Roll Call, and I love it even more when that person is a kid.

The Creatures pose with Joba (and AJ Burnett) at HOPE Week 


For years, the Bleachers have been about as far from a "family section" as you could ever imagine. But, because of many factors (which are way too numerous and theoretical to cover here) the atmosphere in the Bleachers (and the stadium in general) have become more genteel. Add to that the sheer awesomeness of Roll Call (seriously, where else can you get pro athletes to say hello to you, every day?) and you're bound to attract more kids. Personally, I think it's awesome. Mainly because I have kids of my own, and I can see the passion these kids have for the game and the Yankees and I hope to instill that passion within my own children as they mature. 

These days, it's not uncommon at all to see kids participating in the shenanigans in 203. Sure, sometimes the language can get a little blue, but on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, Section 203 can often be confused for Romper Room. And, to be honest, I wouldn't want it any other way. Most of the kids belong to my fellow Creatures. We've all been sitting together for years, and through those years we've seen plenty of weddings and births. We consider each other parts of our (extremely dysfunctional) second family, and we have a love for each other that probably isn't too common at public sporting events. 

One of the many "Family Days" in Section 203, Circa 2011


Over the years, we've adopted a few players into our unofficial family and the Chamberlains were some of the first. Whether it be a friendly fist-bump to Harlan as he cruises past my shirt stand on River Ave or by checking in on Joba during rehab or inviting Karter out for Roll Call on his birthday, it's easier to reach out when you genuinely care about the people on the other end (which is why, to this day, many Creatures still secretly root for AJ Burnett). It's a bond unique to the Creatures and I am thankful every day that I get to be a part of it. 

Getting back on topic (sorry, got distracted there for a minute) I was really excited to get Karter to participate in Roll Call. I knew he had spent the day playing ball in the outfield and relaxing with some video games, but I was hopeful he had some energy left to make some noise (what 7 year old DOESN'T have loads of energy?). As you can see by the video below, he had no problem fitting right in with the crew




Last night was a great way to kick off the home stand, and I hope we were able to give young Karter a great Birthday memory (and maybe we've even convinced him to come sit in the bleachers again!)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

This Blows!

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you ‘81 days in 203’, a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. ’81 days in 203’ articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqiQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. Remember, for the best deals on not only New York Yankees tickets, but all MLB tickets, visit TiqIQ.com.






This past winter, when I sat down with the guys at TiqIq and agreed to do this blog, I was really concerned with having enough content.

"What will I write about?" I said. "I'm not an analyst, I'm not a stat guy. Yankee fans get plenty of information out there on the web. What am I supposed to cover?"

"Just cover you." They said. "Take us through what it's like to work 81 games on River Ave and just be Bald Vinny". 

Well, I was worried about what to write about this week, and then it struck me (well, exploded on me anyway).

I'm talking about the rear driver's side tire on my well-worn 2000 Ford Econoline 250 van. It decided to end it's relatively short life (bought new shoes for the old girl just two years ago) on my way up to the stadium, right in the middle of the Throgs Neck Bridge. I heard it go, hoping it was one of the cars around me, but the noise got louder and I could see a little bit of smoke from my side view mirror. I pulled over to the right, hit the hazards and slowed down considerably. I decided that I didn't want to be the guy on the news causing the rush hour back up on the bridge, so I made a run for it. I was about half way over anyway and gimped it to the toll (throwing plenty of tread behind me along the way). I managed to make to the Exit 9 off ramp (if you're familiar, they have a small area for disabled vehicles) and started to asses the situation. 

The situation, as they say, looks bleak.


At this point it's about 3:45 and George, my right hand man, was expecting me at the stadium any minute. I rang him first to explain the delay. Next call was to my wife. Not sure what I expected her to do in an office in Manhattan, but I figured she should know. Of course, my next thought was that I wasn't going to make the game for Roll Call. I knew I had some time, but I wanted to let everyone know about the delay, so I had to update Twitter and Facebook. Next, I decided to seek some help. After confirming that I did not have roadside assistance with my insurance company (so *that's* how you save 15%) I needed to come up with a plan. 

If this had happened anywhere on the other side of the bridge, I would have called my Dad in an instant. He's my go to guy in emergencies and at the very least he would have calmed me down. But my Dad is on Long Island, and way out of the area of where I was. So I called the next best man for the job, my buddy Nick Madio, the owner of The Yankee Bar and Grill (if Section 203 is my second home, this bar is my third). Nick is a Bronx guy and has been in the auto body business for years. Within 5 minutes he had me on the horn with a tow truck driver who promised to be there in "a half hour" (that old gag).

I figured I would get as much done before the truck arrived, so I got to work on the blow out. There were a few stubborn lugs, but I got them all loose and started to assemble the jack. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the van off the ground high enough to change the tire, so I got stuck waiting for the truck anyway (all the while thinking of the missed sales I could be making on the ave). Almost 2 hours later the truck arrived, and he was able to boost me up high enough to make the tire switch. By this time, it's about 6:15, so I know I can make it to the game on time if i hustle. 

I pretty much flew the rest of the way to the Ave, making it to my spot in about 10 minutes. It took less time than that for George and I to unload and set up, and by the time I parked the van, I had just enough time to calm my nerves with a Jameson shot (or four) before I had to scurry off to 203 for first pitch. 

 I was still pretty aggravated (to say the least) and I really didn't feel much like Roll Call-ing. But, I remembered to back when I first started to sit in Section 39 of the old stadium. One of the reasons I enjoyed sitting there so much (aside from the fun, the songs, the camaraderie, and the baseball) was the yelling. I learned early on that a good release for all of that pent up anger and stress from your day was to get up on a bench and scream your bloody face off. 

And I did just that.

And I felt remarkably better.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DBacks/Boston Tribute

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you ‘81 days in 203’, a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. ’81 days in 203’ articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqiQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. Remember, for the best deals on not only New York Yankees tickets, but all MLB tickets, visit TiqIQ.com.



Tuesday night saw the return of Inter-League action to the Bronx as the Arizona Diamondbacks (or are they they D-Backs now?) came in for a three game set. Obviously, these two teams have some memorable post season history, being the dramatic 2001 World Series (which, even in loss, is still my favorite World Series to be a part of). While the mood around the stadium Tuesday was FAR from post season like, there was another ominous coincidence, being that the two teams are meeting once again after a breach in National Security. 

There was a noticeable increase in police presence, both uniformed and undercover. There was no shortage of armored vehicles and officers with tactical gear. Having experienced the old stadium immediately post 9/11, it certainly brought back some unpleasant memories. Obviously, it's a necessary precaution, and as fans we have to deal with some of the extra inconveniences (like officers making fans throw out sealed bottles of water, which have previously been allowed in the stadium). Aside from being a little parched after Roll Call, it wasn't much of an issue.

Of course, there were a few customary tributes to the city of Boston, including this shot of the marquee between gates 4 & 6.



 Along with a Moment of Silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy, The Yankees played Sweet Caroline (a Fenway Park tradition) at the end of the third. Without a doubt, it was the most support for anything Boston related to ever happen at 161st and River. 

The NY/Boston rivalry had gone on for decades, but for at least one night, it was suspended on The Ave. All of the outside vendors (myself included) removed our "anti" Boston apparel from tables and shelves and everyone was much more tolerant of of the random Sox hat in the crowd. It was certainly something we are not completely used to. For years, the bulk of my shirt sales were due to popular rivalry apparel. 

Personally, I've noticed quite a decline in the "heat" the rivalry has drawn over the last several years (not so much after 2004, but certainly after the Sox second win in 2007). For Yankee fans, the joy of the rivalry came in the fact that we most often came out on top. Once we lost some important games to the Red Sox (and some of the key players that were apart of those teams have departed) the more hard-core fan became less obsessed with the rivalry. It still held value in ticket sales (as well as merchandise sales) for a few years because it takes a while for things to trickle down to your casual fan, but I think it may have finally run its course (and the events of recent days are the proverbial nail in the coffin). 

To be hones with you, I'm not all that upset to see it go. Sure, I've sold quite a few shirts regarding the rivalry, but agree that it's time to move on.  As far as my brand/business is concerned, I'm focusing on creating apparel that supports OUR team instead of makes fun of another team (shocking, I know!). It's going to take a bit of getting used to, and I might see a little slump in sales, but I think it's the right thing to do. Not just because of what happened Monday in Boston, but I think it's important for my development of the Bleacher Creature brand. 

After all, we are Hardcore Yankee fans in the Bleachers, and we have plenty of guys on our own team who could use our vocal support. 

As always, if you want to join us out in Section 203 to lend some of your vocal support, check out our friends at TiqIq.com for the best deals on Yankee Tickets. 

Baltimore Re-Cap (Originally Posted 4/14)

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you ‘81 days in 203’, a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. ’81 days in 203’ articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqiQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. Remember, for the best deals on not only New York Yankees tickets, but all MLB tickets, visit TiqIQ.com.

Well, we survived our first weekend series of the year against our "bitter" division rivals the Baltimore Orioles

We almost didn't see a game on Friday, after a long day of steady rain throughout the metro NY area. But the bad weather shifted out of the area in time for some baseball, and it was a good thing too, since the previous two games in Cleveland were rained out.  

To say it was a quiet night on the Ave and in the stands would be an understatement. By my guess, there were probably about 10,000 fans who showed up that night. Those that did, however, were treated to an incredible game. The Yanks came back to win it thanks to a HUGE error by O's center-fielder Adam Jones. He was not too happy with himself (and probably not too happy with some of the things he was being serenaded with from the bleachers). To top it off, the Yanks turned an incredible triple play in the top half of the following inning, making the game one for the history books.

On a side note, it's nights like these that first attracted me to sitting in the bleachers for so many games a year. You never know when something historical will happen, and when you go to many games, missing one of those games is like a dagger (shout out to my buddy Anthony who sits in front of me all summer and missed Jeter's 3,000th!).

Saturday's game was a 4pm start, but not a nationally televised game. We weren't quite sure why the timing was as such, but it didn't seem to affect attendance much (admittedly, a big high school game could have looked like a larger crowd compared to the night before). Yanks fell to the Orioles 5-3, and secretly, I was just happy that I didn't have to wear thermal underwear to the game.

Sunday's night game made absolutley no sense to anyone other than the fact that the two teams met in the playoffs last year. In my opinion, it was way too early in the year for an 8pm Sunday game. Kids are still in school, people aren't on vacation yet, and most other folks have to work on Monday mornings. To top it off, the Knicks were looking to clinch a playoff berth and it was the final day of The Masters. 

We (and when i say "we", I mean myself and George, my right hand man who runs the tshirt stand while i yell at baseball players) got to the stadium and set up to open around 4. Little did we know, we would be the only people on the block for a while. By 6pm, I was wondering if we would even have a crowd. But my brothers and sisters in the bleachers don't fail to show up (and make a lot of noise) and we were able to cheer the Yanks on (behind a STELLAR pitching performance by Hiroki Kuroda).

A side note to Sunday's game: We officially changed the Youkilis Roll Call from Kevin to You-Ki-Lis. The Kevin thing wasn't really working for anybody, and truth be told, i was getting a little tired of having to explain myself over and over. As pretty much anyone will tell you, Keep It Simple Stupid, so we went for the easiest option (he waved, btw, which means that it worked)

Arizona comes in this week for a three game set to kick of the inter-league match ups for the season. There are plenty of tickets floating around, so come check out the Bronx (and some of the lunacy we have in the bleachers!)

First Week Re-Cap (Originally Posted 4/6)

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you ‘81 days in 203’, a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. ’81 days in 203’ articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqiQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. Remember, for the best deals on not only New York Yankees tickets, but all MLB tickets, visit TiqIQ.com.




The first homestand for 2013 is in the books, and it feels like quite a relief (though, admittedly, I do wish it was a bit longer than three games). After the exhilaration of Opening Day (and the requisite day off) Game Two could be summed up in one word: Cold

It was seriously one of the coldest games I had ever been to. The temps were low, the winds were whipping, and the play on the field made it even harder to sit through. Aside from a brief respite in the early innings (shout out to Zak at Steiner Sports for the Luxury Box invite) I stayed for the entire game in Section 203. 

Yes, the ENTIRE game.

For those of you that know me, it's not uncommon for me to bounce out of the game an inning early to head to my t-shirt stand. Business comes first for me in the Bronx, and if the crowd is heading for the gates or my assistance is needed, I will sometimes split early. I really had nothing to do outside on Wednesday, so I stuck it out with a few of my Creature brothers and sisters until the final out (there were 6 of us left in the bottom of the 9th). Not sure what I was hoping to see, but when I finally thawed out, I swore that I still had a good time.


Game three was immensely better, if not simply for the weather, but for the Yankee win. I know it's still very early in a long season, but with the way people talk about this team coupled with the first two games, we even found ourselves getting excited about simply having a lead (yeah, sometimes confidence can feel that low). Yanks hung on to win it, and the mood on the avenue felt good after the game for a change. 

I hate to sound like a sap, but I do get a little sad when the Yanks hit the road. I really enjoy being on the ave and interacting with so many passionate and knowledgeable Yankee fans. It makes even the longest, coldest, losing-est game a bit more bearable (and this week, every little bit of that helped!). Yanks return next Friday, and I'm already looking forward to the first Friday night game in Section 203 (If you've never been, it's an entertainment spectacle unto itself). 

Hopefully next week will show the return to more seasonable, baseball like weather. If you get the chance to join us out in 203, it's sure to be a good time. As always, if you need the heads up on tickets, make sure you check out our friends at TiqIq 

The Day After (Originally Published 4/3

This season I have partnered with TiqIQ to bring you ‘81 days in 203’, a series of articles breaking down the life of a super fan. ’81 days in 203’ articles will be featured on various Yankees blogs within the TiqiQ network of blogs and will be posted throughout the 2013 season. Remember, for the best deals on not only New York Yankees tickets, but all MLB tickets, visit TiqIQ.com.




It's really hard to top the excitement of Opening Day. The buzz on River Ave lasts from early in the morning, until well in to the evening. For me, it was almost a 13 hour day, so I can certainly appreciate the following day off (especially since we haven't seen "baseball weather" yet!). But, even with the Yankee loss, it was an incredibly fun day. Seeing so many old friends after such a long winter is really the best. Getting back to work felt great, and I was really inspired by the positive comments I've been getting about our new shirts for this season. 

The first Roll Call went off without a hitch. I think the new guys enjoyed finally being on the receiving end (you can practically see Vernon Wells in the video soaking in the serenade before tipping his cap). There was also a bit of chatter about why we chose to go with "Kevin" instead of something "Youk" related for Youkilis, and the reasoning behind it is fairly simple. Kevin is inherently easier to chant than Youkilis. 

That's it. 

There was no secret meaning behind it. Nothing done just for the sake of being "different". I think Kevin might have been thrown off a bit by it, maybe himself expecting something Youk related (though, also important to point out, that he was in the middle of a play when his turn came up) but for the sake of clarity and volume, it was easier to go with Kevin (so get used to it!)

Yesterday was a great recovery day. I got some desperately needed rest for my voice, re-packed my van full of shirts, and got to spend some quality time with the kids. Tonight, it's back on the grind for the second game against the Sox. While tonight won't have the buzz of opening day, it is *still* the Red Sox so I expect a pretty full and lively crowd. If you are going to be joining us in the Bronx tonight, remember to dress warm (and, don't forget, the best way to keep yourself warm at the game is to MAKE NOISE!). 

See ya on the Ave

BV