February 2012

Scott Brosius: McMinnville, Oregon’s Humble Hero

February 17, 2012 – Following the two days I spent with Bucky Dent in South Florida, I traveled to McMinnville, Oregon.

McMinnville is the home of Linfield College, a Division III school in one of the most beautiful parts of the county I’ve ever been.

You many not have ever heard of Linfield College, but I’m confident you’ve heard of the school’s head baseball coach.

Former Yankees third baseman and 1998 World Series MVP Scott Brosius is the skipper of the Linfield College Wildcats. On February 1, Yankees team photographer James Petrozzello and I spent the day with Brosius for a story that will be published in the May issue of Yankees Magazine.

Brosius, who was born and raised within a stone’s throw of McMinnville, attended Linfield College and played on the Wildcats baseball team in the late 1980s. Following Brosius’ retirement from the Yankees in 2001, he returned to Oregon, began volunteering as an assistant coach at Linfield College, and ultimately was named the team’s head coach in 2008.

“If I could have picked any job, this would have been the one,” said Brosius, who met his wife while he was a student at Linfield College and who has three children between the ages of 15 and 20. “We wanted to stay in McMinnville and raise our family here. I feel very fortunate we were able to do that.”

In the time I spent with Brosius, I quickly realized that he is as humble as he was talented. When he’s not coaching his team during practices or games, the 45-year-old is taking care of everything else.

By everything else, I am referring to maintaining the baseball field, making recruiting calls to prospective student athletes and walking incoming student athletes through the admissions and financial aid process (because at the Division III level, there are no athletic scholarships).

Most of Brosius’ work is done from his office, which is located inside of the third base dugout, and while the former third baseman could certainly be coaching or managing in the professional ranks — and, in my opinion, at the major league level — he loves working at his alma mater and living in what he considers the greatest place on earth.

“I’ve been asked if I would want to coach at the professional level, but I am very comfortable where I’m at now,” Brosius said. “I love the game of baseball, and I love teaching it. I love teaching the game to these guys, and I really enjoy being on the field.”

Brosius has exceeded expectations as the Wildcats coach. In 2008, he led Linfield College to the World Series for the first time since the ’70s, and he brought the team back to the World Series in 2010.

I interviewed Brosius before, during and after his team’s four-hour practice and over lunch at the Golden Valley Restaurant & Brewery, which is located a few miles from the college’s campus. Besides exuding a rare humility, Brosius is as kind as they come and as passionate about his life today as when he was a big-league ballplayer.

Based on my experiences in the Pacific Northwest, the Scott Brosius feature will be an alumni story worth reading.

–Alfred Santasiere III

 

Congrats, Matt!

February 17, 2012 – Congratulations to the New York Giants on their second Super Bowl championship in the last five NFL seasons.

On December 18, my wife, Tiana, and I were at the Meadowlands when the Giants dropped their seventh game of the season. As we drove home from East Rutherford, New Jersey, the words “Super Bowl” were not part of our conversation.

However, because of our knowledge of the character and determination of the people within the Giants organization, we certainly didn’t count the team out.

Our insight comes from a friendship with Matt Shauger (pictured below with Mariano Rivera and I at Yankee Stadium), who is a pro scout for the Giants, and who was also part of the Big Blue’s 2007 Super Bowl Championship team. Matt has been my closest friend since third grade, and I can confidently say, he is the most loyal and caring friend anyone could ever have.

Matt’s work ethic is inspiring — as are the hours he and his colleagues in the Giants personnel and scouting departments put in — and still he remains a devoted confidant and a wonderful godfather to our son, Alfred.

After the Giants loss to Washington, they won six consecutive elimination games, including road victories against the 15-1 Green Bay Packers and 13-3 San Francisco 49ers.

Of course, the Giants thrilling Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots capped off what will go down as one of the most improbable championship runs of all-time.

A few days before the Super Bowl, the New York Daily News published an article about the Giants’ personnel and scouting departments. In that piece, Wayne Coffey discussed Matt’s work in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

“Early last week, pro scout Matt Shauger, who scouted the Patriots and Ravens in the AFC Championship Game, delivered a 125-page report to Tom Coughlin and staff that provided the template for the Giants’ game plan on Sunday,” Coffey wrote.

In my opinion, the article recognized the efforts of a group of front office people who played a major — and sometimes unnoticed — role in the triumph that was the 2011 season.

I enjoyed watching football over the last two months of the Giants season more than at any time since my childhood because the team’s play on the field was absolutely captivating, and more importantly, because Matt paved the way for that success.

–Alfred Santasiere III

Available Soon: Digital Versions of Yankees Publications

February 17, 2012 – In a few short weeks, we will be launching the first digital issue of Yankees Magazine. The Spring 2012 edition will be available via computers as well as applicable tablets and cellular devices.

A one-year subscription to the digital version of Yankees Magazine will cost readers $24.99. We plan to also have single issues available for purchase.

Additionally, there will be a digital version of the 2012 New York Yankees Official Yearbook, which will be released in April for $9.99.

The New York Yankees are one of the first Major League Baseball teams to offer fans the opportunity to enjoy its official publications digitally, and I am proud to be part of that effort.

To purchase the digital version of either publication, as well as any of our print publications, please visit www.yankees.com/publications.

–Alfred Santasiere III

Memorable Dinner with Bucky Dent — at Boston’s on the Beach

February 6, 2012 – I spent two days with Bucky Dent last week for a feature story on the former Yankees shortstop, which will be published in the July issue of Yankees Magazine.

The story will be about Dent’s life today, as well as his career with the New York Yankees.

These days, Dent lives about an hour north of Miami. He recently sold the baseball school that he owned for 37 years, and he spends a lot of time following the collegiate careers of his twin children. Dent’s son is an infielder for the University of Florida, and his daughter plays softball for North Carolina State University.

Along with being a dedicated father, Dent remains an avid fisherman, and he also plays a hands-on role in the planning of his annual charity golf tournament.

The Bucky Dent Invitational golf tournament took place on January 30.

On the day before the outing, Yankees team photographer James Petrozzello and I joined Dent and a few of his close friends on a fishing trip on the rough seas of the Atlantic Ocean.

At 6:30 a.m. we arrived at the Boca Raton, Florida marina where Dent’s friend docks his boat. By 8 a.m., we were a few miles off the shore, and everyone was catching fish.

Everyone but me, that is.

I was not catching fish because I instantly became sea sick.

A few hours into my saga, Dent encouraged me to grab a fishing pole and reel in the next fish.

Without much strength, I grabbed a first fishing pole I saw, got a bite and settled into the “fighting” chair. After about three minutes, I landed a Bonita, which is a type of tuna. It wasn’t the biggest fish I ever caught, and it was far from being the largest fish that anyone on the boat caught that day, but I was happy to have mustered up the strength to avoid getting shutout.

Dent and his friends landed several King Fish, mackerel and grouper, ranging in size from five pounds to 10 pounds, and I felt fine the moment we reached the dock.

Later that evening, Dent, his wife and few friends, joined my wife, Tiana, and I (see photo below) at an interesting dining location.

Since I was a young child, I have been frequenting a Delray Beach institution named Boston’s on the Beach. The ocean-side eatery is filled with memorabilia from each of Beantown’s sports teams, including the Red Sox.

When the idea of writing a feature story on Dent came about, I immediately began thinking about bringing Dent, whose home run in the Yankees’ one-game playoff against the Red Sox in 1978 is widely regarded as the most significant moment in the vaunted rivalry, to Boston’s on the Beach.

Dent accepted the invitation, and the evening was filled with great memories from the Yankees triumph in 1978, from Dent’s career and from our day on the ocean.

During our time there, Dent reflected on the home run that sunk the Red Sox and that has made him a household name in New York — and in New England.

“Because of what that day meant, there was more pressure than I’ve ever been under at any time,” Dent said. “But I was just trying to hit the ball hard, and I wasn’t really nervous at all.”

After dinner, Petrozzello took a photo of Dent standing in front of a large mural of Fenway Park’s Green Monster, which is located near the bar in Boston’s. Petrozzello asked Dent to lean against a table, which sat in front of the mural. The table was one of about six high-tops in the bar area, each of which featured a different Boston sports icon or team. After the photo was taken, Dent looked down at the table and noticed that we had randomly chosen a table that had a photo of Babe Ruth on it (see photo below).

The photo of Ruth was taken before he was traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees. It was snapped before the Curse of the Bambino — which so many New Englanders attribute Dent’s home run to — was ever part of anyone’s imagination.

“That’s really funny,” Dent said. “Who would have thought I’d be posing for a photo with the Babe?”

The following day, Dent hosted his annual golf invitational. The proceeds of the outing are donated to the Miracle League, a program in which children with disabilities are given the opportunity to play baseball. Funds from the event are also donated to the Delray Beach American League, which is a youth baseball program that was founded in 1971 and that promotes the growth of baseball in the African-American community. Additionally, two collegiate scholarships are awarded, thanks to funds that the golf outing generates.

“Everything about the Miracle League is heartwarming,” Dent said. “It fulfills the dreams of so many young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to get out onto the baseball field. Over the last three years, we have been committed to helping them in any way we can.”

Petrozzello and I spent most of the afternoon with Dent on the course, observing him as he entertained friends and sponsors with the same kindness he gave us throughout the two days.

For the most part, my story will focus on Dent’s significant contributions to the local community over the past three decades, but I will be sure to include plenty of anecdotes about the unforgettable home run that Dent launched over the Green Monster — and a few tales from our time on the water.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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