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.