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Special Fishing Story with Wade Boggs – in the October Issue of Yankees Magazine

October 2, 2015 – On a chilly spring day earlier this year, I joined Wade Boggs on a fishing trip that began in Staten Island, New York. I met the former Yankees third baseman and a few of his friends at a marina, and we quickly boarded Fin Chaser — a 32-foot fishing boat — and set a course for the Atlantic Ocean.

For Boggs and the boat’s captain, the expedition was just one of many that will be seen on a new reality fishing show beginning in January 2016 on Discovery’s Destination channel, the Pursuit Channel as well on as Time Warner Cable’s Sports Channel in North Carolina and South Carolina.

The show, named The Fin Chasers, chronicles Boggs’ pursuit of multiple world records and fishing tournament victories. Boggs broke the world Bluefish record and tied the record for the largest striped bass on the day that he shot the pilot episode.

While I fished with Boggs the entire day, I also chronicled his every move and interviewed him during jaunts from one location on the sea to another, for a feature story in the October Issue of Yankees Magazine.

Although no one on the boat reeled in a world record, we all caught a few bluefish ranging in weight between 5 and 10 pounds.

“I love catching bluefish,” Boggs said. “Even when they are 5 or 10 pounds, they are ferocious. They always give you a fight.”

Although I hadn’t caught a bluefish in several years, I was reminded of how fierce they are as soon as I hooked into one. Making things even more challenging was the light spinning tackle that we were using, and before I caught my first fish of the day, two others broke the line.

When I finally landed a bluefish, Boggs celebrated the accomplishment like we had just won a championship. Not only was the nearly 10-minute battle with the 8-pound fish — during which it swan in just about every direction — memorable, but so was Boggs’ jubilation and the relief that I felt (see photo below). As a longtime angler myself, my desire to catch a fish with Boggs was palpable.

Sometime that afternoon — after a few more fish and a few more cold beers — Boggs called it a day. The Hall of Famer and his group shot a closing scene for that day’s episode in the shadow of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

“Well, we didn’t catch any world records on this trip,” Boggs said. “But we had a great day.”

Check out the entire story, which includes much more detail about Boggs’ fishing adventures, in the October Issue of Yankees Magazine.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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Good-bye, Yogi

October 2, 2015 – In the days following Yogi Berra’s passing, I spent a considerable amount of time reminiscing about the great Yankees catcher. I thought about the many instances in which I was fortunate enough to spend time with him. I remembered back on the day I spent with Berra at his museum and then his house in 2009 for a feature story I’ll always be proud to have written (see photo below). So many other memories of seeing No. 8 at Yankee Stadium or in highlight reels have also flashed through my mind in recent days.

While the sentimental feelings stayed with me, I also prepared to write my Press Box column for the October Issue of Yankees Magazine about Berra. That was a challenging task, but not because I didn’t have good material to put the piece together. The challenging aspect was filling a page with thoughts that were different from those in the thousands of other stories that had been written about Berra since he passed — so many of which detailed his heroism in World War II, his Hall of Fame career and the charisma that propelled him to be one of the most well-known and well-liked people in the United States.

And so, I surmised that the only unique angle that I could take was to focus on my own personal experiences with Berra. In doing so, I quickly realized that, like so many others, I got to see the best of Berra.

In my opinion, the truest measure of a person is how they treat others. Berra not only treated me with kindness all the time, but everyone I’ve ever seen him come into contact with got the same treatment. Also, regardless of what subject I asked him about — including his participation in the D-Day invasion as part of the United States Navy — he remained humble. He was as humble as anyone could ever be, and he had so much to brag about.

The legacy that Berra left through his service to America, through his captivating play, leadership as a manager and coach and — most importantly — through the way he treated others, is one for the ages.

He will be missed, but I’m hopeful that more people will follow the example he set. If that happens, Yogi will continue to make the world a better place forever.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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September Issue of Yankees Magazine – ON SALE, SEPTEMBER 4

September 2, 2015 – The September Issue of Yankees Magazine will be on sale this Friday, September 4 at Yankee Stadium and on newsstands in the Tri-State area.

You can purchase a subscription to the print version of Yankees Magazine by calling (800) GO-YANKS, and you can purchase a print or digital subscription by visiting http://yankees.com/publications.

The September edition has two covers. The cover that will be sold all month features a beautiful portrait of two of the most important members of the Yankees 2015 team, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Chief photographer Ariele Goldman Hecht took the cover photo in center field earlier this season, and executive editor Ken Derry scribed a great story on the dominance of the two relief pitchers, who have owned the eighth and ninth innings this season.

The other September cover features an image of an emotion-filled Alex Rodriguez, seconds after his June 19 home run sailed into the right-field seats at Yankee Stadium, putting him in the 3,000 hits club.

That cover will be sold at Yankee Stadium on September 13. That afternoon, the Yankees will be celebrating Rodriguez’ 3,000th hit accomplishment in a special pregame ceremony. In addition to the special commemorative Alex Rodriguez cover, the September Issue will include a commemorative section on No. 13.

After sitting down with A-Rod for an exclusive interview in August, I penned one of the features in the section. My story details Rodriguez’ impressive comeback in 2015 and includes his candid words on several topics surrounding his success (see blog entry below).

The section also includes senior editor Jon Schwartz’ recap of 13 of A-Rod’s most magical hits prior to No. 3,000.

There’s a lot more in the September Issue, including three special Q&A features. Earlier this summer, I sat down with Hall of Famer Joe Torre and New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin for a feature that any fan of sports in the Big Apple will enjoy (see blog entry below). And, last fall, I interviewed Hall of Fame quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Warren Moon for two special Art of Sport pieces, which are also in the September Issue.

Enjoy this issue.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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2015 Edition of Yankees Magazine en Español – ON SALE, SEPTEMBER 4

September 2, 2015 – The 2015 Edition of Yankees Magazine en Español will be on sale this Friday, September 4 at Yankee Stadium and on newsstands in the Tri-State area.

This publication is the fourth annual edition of Yankees Magazine en Español, and in my opinion, it’s gotten better each year.

For the first time in the four-year history of the publication, we have produced two covers. Since the Yankees retired the numbers of Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada and dedicated Monument Park plaques to both of them in 2015, we decided to further honor the Puerto Rico born legends. Half of the magazines feature a portrait of Williams on the cover and the other half feature a portrait of Posada.

Within the pages of this publication, you’ll find two features on Posada. In January, I caught up with the former catcher in Miami, and captured his words about his entire professional career (see blog entry below). And during the summer, I spent a day with Posada in Puerto Rico for an exclusive look at his childhood.

I was also in Puerto Rico in 2014 with Williams, and in addition to the story that we published that last year on his upbringing, I spoke with the centerfielder about his career in pinstripes for a feature that is included in the 2015 edition of Yankees Magazine en Español.

Senior editor Jon Schwartz traveled to Puerto Rico last winter and spent some time with Carlos Beltran for an exclusive story on the Yankees rightfielder. Schwartz’ feature, along with team photographer James Petrozzello’s images from that trip are among the best we’ve published in a long time.

Around the same time that Schwartz was in Puerto Rico, executive editor Ken Derry traveled to the Dominican Republic to cover the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame festivities and to explore the baseball culture there. Don’t miss Derry’s story in this special publication.

Lastly, as I described on this blog, I have had the opportunity to conduct two exclusive interviews with Alex Rodriguez over the summer. My Q&A feature with A-Rod, which was originally published in the August Issue of Yankees Magazine, can also be found in Yankees Magazine en Español. In English and in Spanish, it offers a unique look at the game’s most compelling player in 2015.

Enjoy this annual publication.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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Special Feature on Alex Rodriguez – in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine

September 2, 2015 – About a month after I sat down with Alex Rodriguez for lunch in Boston (for a feature in the August Issue of Yankees Magazine), I met up with the No. 13 at The Mark Hotel in New York City for an even more candid interview.

A-Rod’s words from my latest interview with him are part of a feature story that I wrote for the September Issue. That feature details his great comeback during the 2015 season.

Soon after A-Rod got to the restaurant inside the hotel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I asked him about the game-tying grand slam he hit a day earlier against the Minnesota Twins.

“That was a special moment,” Rodriguez said. You could feel the buzz in the Stadium. Anytime you do something to help win a game, especially in the late innings, especially in a pennant race in the middle of August, it’s huge for the team.”

Besides discussing several of his other clutch hits in 2015, the humble Rodriguez talked to me about his struggles in the month of August.

When I reminded him that he told me a month earlier that he believed he would get stronger in the second half of the season (which has not been the case), A-Rod acknowledged a factor he had not considered.

“When I said that, I didn’t account for one thing — my age,” he said. “I’m feeling it. But that’s part of managing the game and the season.”

Despite those comments, A-Rod wasn’t conceding anything in the conversation.

“The good news is that September is right around the corner,” he said. “From my own experiences, I feel like you always turn the corner in late August and get your second wind. You really start sprinting toward the finish line as fall approaches.”

Rodriguez also shared his feelings on what I feel is the most compelling aspect of his comeback from a year-long suspension. While it’s difficult to imagine that a player who has nearly 700 home runs, more than 2,000 RBI and more than 3,000 hits to his name is still carving out his legacy, that is the case with Rodriguez.

“I’m really grateful that I’m getting this chance to write a different ending,” A-Rod said. “I wanted to contribute to the team and do what I love. And I wanted my baseball career to be about more than my mistakes. I screwed up, but hopefully this season will show that I’m about more than my mistakes.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

FEATURE

The Art of Sport with Bill Cowher

August 24, 2015 – On Saturday morning, just prior to when the Jorge Posada festivities kicked off, I spent some time in a private suite with former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach and current CBS football analyst Bill Cowher.

Getting the opportunity to interview Cowher for an upcoming Art of Sport feature was very exciting. Although I was never a Steelers fan, Cowher has long been one of my favorite people in sports. Whether it was his intensity or his story, (more on that in the Q&A) it was hard not to root for him.

At the beginning of the interview, I asked Cowher — who grew up in Pittsburgh and whose dream it was to coach the Steelers — to describe the experience of getting hired to lead the team when he was only 35 years old.

“It was a thrill,” he said. “When I got the job, one of the first things I thought about was, if I don’t’ screw this up in three years, I can go back to my high school reunion as the head coach of my hometown team. My first goal was to make it to my 20th high school reunion, and that worked out.

“Also, my parents and my brothers sill lived in Pittsburgh,” he continued. “That really made it a dream come true. But when you’re in the middle of it, you’re just coaching. Re-establishing that football team so that they could compete for a championship every year was what I was focused on. That couldn’t have happened in a better place because that’s where my roots were.”

Cowher also spoke with me about the heartbreak of losing the 1994 AFC Championship Game on the last play, and then winning the AFC crown the following season, in an equally as dramatic scenario.

“Our season came down to the last play with a chance to go to the Super Bowl,” Cowher said. “Literally, a year later, we were in the same situation. We were dealing with the same end zone in the same stadium. The first time we were on offense, and the second time we were on defense. When we won, it was a tremendous, overwhelming feeling.”

Finally, I asked Cowher to discuss the man of the hour, Jorge Posada. I was impressed by his response and by the comparison he made to a guy who helped him win the Super Bowl in 2006.

“When you see a guy spend 17 seasons with one team, win five championships and play catcher, that’s pretty incredible,” Cowher said. “Jorge was a selfless leader and the kind of guy who was going to be there when you needed him. He reminded me of Jerome Bettis in that you almost took him for granted. Then, when he’s gone, you see the impact he had on the organization and the individual players, whose eyes light up when they talk about him. That’s how it was with Jerome, and I can only imagine that Jorge has the same effect on the people who played alongside him. Today’s honors are well deserved, and I’m glad I’m here to see it happen.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

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Pinstriped Legends

August 24, 2015 – The last two days have included celebrations at Yankee Stadium. On Saturday, the Yankees dedicated a plaque to Jorge Posada and retired his number, and a day later, Andy Pettitte received the same honors.

Having been around both players for several years, I’m thrilled that No. 20 and No. 46 will never be worn again in a Yankees uniform. Posada and Pettitte were essential to a run of five championships — and as any sports enthusiast knows, that type of success is incredibly rare.

I’ve had the great privilege to cover both players since I began working for the Yankees in 2003, and in the last year, I’ve spent time with each of them in their homes. It’s been an honor.

As I stood on the field for the ceremonies, I was especially sentimental watching career highlight videos of the gritty catcher and pitcher. As I said to my wife, Tiana, after the Pettitte ceremony, “It’s too bad they had to get old — or at least too old to still play the game.” But time marches on, and the memories they left us with will never leave. Posada and Pettitte left nothing on the field, and they are so very deserving of these honors.

Our team of photographers were also on the field, and they captured every moment of the ceremonies. Below are two photos that will be published in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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August Issue of Yankees Magazine – ON SALE, AUGUST 4

August 4, 2015 – The August Issue of Yankees Magazine will be on sale today at Yankee Stadium and on newsstands in the Tri-State area.

You can purchase a subscription to the print version of Yankees Magazine by calling (800) GO-YANKS, and you can purchase a print or digital subscription by visiting http://yankees.com/publications.

Without a doubt, this edition is a tremendous keepsake. It includes my exclusive interview with Alex Rodriguez (see blog entry below), who is the most compelling player in baseball this season.

Additionally, the two men who are being recognized later this month at Yankee Stadium are featured prominently. There are two features on Andy Pettitte and a first-person account from Jorge Posada about his career (see blog entries below).

On August 22, the Yankees are planning to retire Posada’s number and dedicate a Monument Park plaque to him. The next day, the team is scheduled to bestow the same honors on Pettitte. A portrait of Posada will grace the commemorative cover of copies sold on the catcher’s big day. A second commemorative cover, featuring a portrait of Pettitte, will be released at Yankee Stadium on the afternoon of his tribute.

Managing editor Nathan Maciborski covered Brett Gardner’s first All-Star Game for a must-read feature, and a portrait of the outfielder will be on the cover of the August edition during the rest of the month.

Without his speed on the base paths, Gardner might not be an All-Star. A few other guys known for moving at a fast pace are also featured in August. I sat down with 2015 Triple Crown winning jockey Victor Espinoza a few days after he won the Belmont Stakes for an Art of Sport Q&A (see blog entry below). A few weeks before that, contributing writer Scott Walsh interviewed NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, New Jersey, for another Art of Sport piece.

There’s plenty more on the pages of the August Issue. Grab your copy soon.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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Q&A with Andy Pettitte – in the August Issue of Yankees Magazine

August 3, 2015 – While I was at Andy Pettitte’s ranch in South Texas for the story about his post-baseball life (see blog entry below), I also interviewed the pitcher about his time in pinstripes.

Both features will be published in the August Issue of Yankees Magazine. That edition will be on sale all month, including the day that the Yankees will be dedicating a Monument Park plaque to Pettitte and retiring his No. 46.

Pettitte’s feelings about the upcoming ceremony on August 23 are included in the Q&A piece.

“From the first day I put the pinstripes on, I wanted to be the best pitcher in Yankees history,” Pettitte said. “So it’s very satisfying to be appreciated by the organization and the fans. I don’t feel like I had all the talent in the world, but I had the mental ability to handle tough situations, and that helped me to accomplish what I did.”

In our conversation, Pettitte also reflected on the first time he met some of the fellow members of the famed Core Four.

“I don’t remember the first time I met Mariano [Rivera], but I’ll never forget the first time I met Jorge [Posada],” Pettitte said. “I got called up to Oneonta, and Jorge was already there. They asked him to catch me in a bullpen session. I threw a knuckleball back then, and he had just switched from second base to catcher. He missed a few of the knuckleballs I threw. One went off his foot, and another one hit him in the leg. He’s pretty fiery, and he got very mad.

“I met Derek [Jeter] right before a game in Greensboro,” Pettitte continued. “The first thing he said to me was that I looked like one of his uncles. I shook his hand and said, ‘Nice to meet you too.’”

In addition to Pettitte’s take on so many of the pivotal moments in his career, the feature includes a portrait photo of the lefty that chief photographer Ariele Goldman Hecht took in Monument Park this summer (below).

Enjoy the rest of the interview.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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Unique Story about Andy Pettitte (from his South Texas Ranch) – in the August Issue of Yankees Magazine

August 3, 2015 – Around Christmastime, I traveled to South Texas to spend a day with Yankees great Andy Pettitte on his ranch for a story that will be published in the August Issue of Yankees Magazine.

I’m proud of the feature because it’s the product of unparalleled access into Pettitte’s life today. It includes anecdotes and photos that show Pettitte in a very different light.

During my day on the ranch — which has a 16-mile perimeter — I accompanied Pettitte and his family and friends on a deer hunting expedition.

“This is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Pettitte said on the chilly morning. “When I sit on our back porch and look out onto the land, it feels surreal. This is my happy place. There’s nothing I love more than hanging out with my family and friends here.”

After the successful morning hunt, the group gathered for breakfast, and it was great to witness the enthusiasm that everyone shared.

“When everyone’s here, it’s more fun for me to just watch the kids hunt,” Pettitte said. “Just seeing the excitement in their eyes is pretty cool.”

Pettitte and the group would go back out for an afternoon hunt but not before the father of four played catch with his two oldest sons, who are pitchers at the high school and collegiate levels, respectively.

“When people ask if I would ever try to make another comeback, I just laugh,” Pettitte said as he lobbed a baseball back to one of his kids. “Even if I wanted to, I got nothing left.”

Enjoy the complete story, in the August Issue of Yankees Magazine.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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