MasterCard Yankees

By Eric Marmon

Fellow NY Sports Digest contributor Mark C. Rinaldi and I had the pleasure of taking part in a recent Priceless NYC Experience from MasterCard, so we could tell you about some of the incredible opportunities they're offering to MasterCard holders in the NYC area.

Our Priceless NYC Experience included, but was not limited to, a dinner at NYY Steak at Yankee Stadium, two tickets for the front row of the MasterCard Batter's Eye Café to an Interleague Game, and a private tour of the Yankee Museum Presented by Bank of America and Monument Park led by former Yankees centerfielder and two-time World Series Champion Mickey Rivers.

Yeah. Mickey Rivers. Mick The Quick. With his .295 career batting average, including a .326 mark for the 1977 Championship team. Member of the Bronx Zoo, third in MVP voting in 1976, and one of the fastest Yankees of -all time Mickey Rivers. THAT Mickey Rivers. Talk about a tour guide.

We're going to have more on our interaction and private dinner with Mickey Rivers a little later on this week. As briefly as I can, however, I'd like to make it clear that Mr. Rivers... or "Uncle Mickey" as we started calling him by the end of the experience... was an absolute pleasure to be around, a truly honorable and gracious gentleman in a world where such an individual isn't easy to come by.

What struck me most about Rivers, during our time together, was two separate occasions when his face lit up to a degree that I would wager could light a room. While he was both personable and smiling from the moment we first met him, there was unquestionably two separate circumstances when that friendliness in his face went to a different plain.

One occurred any time a fan of those 70's Yankees teams came up and commended Rivers on his style of play. He was gracious and welcoming to all fans that addressed him, but it was when someone made a specific comment about the way he played the game that Rivers appeared to take the compliment even more to heart, and his obvious appreciation was something in and of itself.

The other time was when Rivers was describing the summer camps he helps run out of Yankee Stadium for boys and girls. This is a guy who has never managed on any level, but when he spoke about helping these kids, some as young as seven years old, and how he teaches them to become better baseball players, you could visibly see both the passion and joy he gets from such an experience. We can only imagine this feeling is shared by all the youthful ballplayers who get to share it with him.

We already spoke to Rivers about coming down to visit the camp sometime in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully we'll get to share that experience with all of you as well.

As for the rest of our Experience...

For those who don't know where the MasterCard Batter's Eye Café Seats are located at Yankee Stadium, let me put it to you this way: if these seats were a sandwich, one slice of bread would be the 59-foot-high-by-101-foot-long 16mm true high-definition centerfield video board. The other slice would be Monument Park.

How do you know these seats are good? Well there were two separate clues: One was the fact that placed directly next to us were the broadcast cameras, meaning that the good people at YES Network had decided these seats presented the best available vantage point as well.

And the other was that on three separate occasions we had to ask a security officer for directions, and on all three occasions they ended their instructions with a grin and the words "best seats in the house."

As for NYY Steak, I could go into a lengthy detailed prose about the tender, delicious, seemingly -200-pound rib-eye I was treated to... but it'll just make you angry, and make my mouth water, and then nobody's happy. I will say, any steak house you go to that promises to engrave your initials into the bone, well... that's saying something, isn't it?? And the fact that members of the New York Yankees, both past and present, have their own personal steak knife with their name on it isn't too shabby either.

Overall, it was an incredible experience from the moment we stepped into the Yankee Stadium Office Lobby by Gate 2 all the way to Mariano getting the third out of in the ninth with a grounder to A-Rod. The entire night was one gigantic, warm, pinch-me, no-way-its-real kind of moment.

We'll be bringing you a lot more information about our recent MasterCard Priceless NYC Experience, as well as many other Priceless NYC Experiences we'll be attending. Special thanks to MasterCard, the New York Yankees, and of course, Uncle Mickey.