Women’s Issue will include Condoleezza Rice Interview

June 13, 2011 – As I announced on this blog earlier this year, the first ever issue of Yankees Magazine dedicated to women will come out in August.

This very special issue, which is the first of its kind in professional sports in the United States, will feature an interview with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

I had the opportunity to interview Secretary Rice on May 24 at the Sojo Grand Hotel for this piece, and Yankees team photographer James Petrozzello took several exclusive photos for the piece.

We chose the Sojo Grand because of it was the most convenient location for Secretary Rice to work with us at — because she was staying there. But it ended up being the perfect setting for Petrozzello’s photos.

The photo that will be used on the first page of the interview, features Rice standing in front of a window with a partial view of the New York skyline behind her. As Petrozzello was setting up for the photo shoot, we noticed a few men on the roof of the building that our window faced. As if they were setting the scene for this patriotic feature, they began to raise an American flag. That flag is apparent in the photo, as you can see below.

As for the interview with Secretary Rice, it’s hard to imagine being more impressed with anyone I’ve ever interviewed. She is as elegant as she is brilliant, and I especially enjoyed her answers to two questions.

I asked Secretary Rice where she thought President George W. Bush’s ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series ranks among the most inspirational moments in sports and American history.

“He really practiced hard for that pitch,” Secretary Rice said. “That was an emotional night, and I remember thinking, ‘Mr. President, the American people need you to throw a strike today more than at any other time, especially because we are in New York.’ When he did throw a strike, the Stadium went wild. It was like an explanation point or an underlying statement saying we’re going to be ok. Our National Pastime is back. You’re in good hands with this President. Get back to your lives, and don’t let the terrorists take that away from us. I think there was a lot said with that pitch.

“It ranks very high among all sports moments from a National perspective,” Secretary Rice continued. “Jackie Robinson’s first game marked the end of two separate Americas. The day the NFL cancelled their games following the assassination of John F. Kennedy and President Bush’s strike two weeks after 9/11 are the moments in which sports and history really came together.”

Near the end of the interview, I asked Secretary Rice for her thoughts on the upcoming Women’s Issue of Yankees Magazine, and I was honored by her response.

“I think it’s a great idea, and I congratulate the magazine for putting it all together,” Rice said. “It recognizes, not just the contributions of women to sports, but also that a lot of women are sports fans. You have great fans among women, and I hope the professional leagues will realize what an important fan base women are. This issue will help to make that happen.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

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