“5 Questions” With Bucky Dent

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 12/15/10

His home run propelled the New York Yankees into the post season and helped preserve “The Curse of the Bambino.”  It also changed his life.

Bucky Dent During Answering My “5 Questions”

There’s no telling how Bucky Dent’s life would be different in 2010 had he never hit that mythical home run at Fenway Park in 1978.  During his recent visit to the Steiner Sports Corporate Offices in New Rochelle, NY, Dent addressed this topic, among others, after signing some great new collectibles for the Steiner Sports inventory.

Jason Klein: Obviously, your HR in 78 brings back a lot of good memories for Yankees fans…what goes through your head when you think about that day at Fenway?

Bucky Dent: Oh, just how important the game was, and it was just a classic game, and something that you’ll never forget because of the importance of it.  What we did in 78, as a team, coming back, to get to that situation, just the impact of the game.

JK: How many times a day does someone ask you about that home run?

BD: Probably once or twice a day someone comes up to me to talk about it.  I like to talk about it.  I think it’s fun.  It just shows you, the game itself, the impact it has.  People remembering it, that it was a one-game playoff between Boston and New York, it doesn’t happen very often.  I love to hear the stories. Confidence

JK: If you had never hit that HR, how would your life be different today?

BD: I probably wouldn’t be talking about the 78 Playoff game.  Maybe in a different way.  It’s something, as a kid, you always dream of doing, you know, hitting the big home run, and doing it in the World Series or in a big game, and you know, it all happened for me, it all came true.  I got a chance to hit a big home run and also win MVP of the World Series.  It’s just special.

JK: Which of the following, in your opinion, is the biggest home run in Yankees history?  Dent?  Chambliss?  Boone?

BD: That’s hard to say.  I always tease Chambliss about his home run.  I tell him, “I was a kid, driving down the highway, listening on the radio when you hit yours,” and he tells me, “oh, get out of here!”  I don’t know which one was the biggest.  They were all very important and they all impacted different years and different situations.

JK: How special is it to re-unite with all of your old teammates at an event like this?

BD: It’s a lot of fun, a lot of fun.  You don’t get to see these guys all the time.  When you can gather with them and be around them, and kind of, just look back at the memories.  You get flashbacks of the games that you play in and all the special moments.

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“5 Questions” With Lou Piniella

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 12/9/10

During his managing days, “Sweet”

Lou Piniella was brash, animated, and at times, heated.  While visiting with fans at the Steiner Sports 1977-1978 Yankees Reunion Event, “Sweet” Lou was just sweet.

A slimmed down Piniella was excited, full of energy, and at complete peace with his decision to leave the dugout for the final time as a manager.  After signing some great new collectibles for the Steiner Sports inventory, Piniella discussed his retirement plans and addressed the possibility of a return to baseball in the future.

Lou Piniella During My Interview

Jason Klein: The 77-78 Yankees are often referred to as the Bronx Zoo.  Based on what went on those years, is that a fair nickname?

Lou Piniella: It was a very professional team.  We had our problems, off the field from time to time, maybe in the clubhouse, but when the game started, guys were very professional and played very, very well.  It was during the time when we had a lot of new characters, a lot of new players, and a lot of change.  Sometimes, it takes a while for things to settle down.  Look, one thing is for certain, the ‘76, ‘77, and ‘78 Yankees teams, especially the ‘77 and ‘78 teams, were really, really good teams.  1977 was our first World Championship and ‘78 was a repeat as World Champions, and that was the team that overcame a lot of obstacles.

JK: Who was the largest personality on those teams?

LP: We had a lot of them.  Look, we had a 1977 team that won a World Championship and we added two Hall of Famers: Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage.  That’s quite an addition for a team over the winter.  I think, going into Spring Training, because of that, the team was probably a little over confident, had some injuries early in the year, and by the All-Star break, we were 14 and a half games back behind the Red Sox.  We had to battle out of that to repeat as World Champions.  I mean, we had Thurman [Munson], Willie Randolph, Sparky Lyle, he was a character for you, Ron Guidry, what a great pitcher, Donny Gullet, who is here, [Graig] Nettles, what a great player he was, on and on.  I can name a heck of a lot more but no, we were really professional people.  You know, did we all get along a hundred percent?  No.  But when the umpires said, “Play Ball,” We got along great, and that’s why the team won.

JK: You have been in baseball since 1964.  With your recent retirement from the Cubs, what will you miss the most about being in the game?

LP: The competition.  Putting on the uniform.  I’ve done it since 1962 on the professional level, and in 1964 I got a “cup of coffee,” I got back in 1967, 1968 and in 1969 I was up for good.  I played for 17-plus years and I managed for 23-plus years.  That’s a long time with it being part of my life.  Now, I’m going to enjoy my retirement.  Yeah, I’m going to miss the uniform, I will miss the competition, but at the same time, I’m going to really enjoy my post-playing days, enjoy my grandkids.  I’m going to be able to do things I haven’t been able to do.  Spring Training starts in February, then you go onto the baseball season which goes into October, especially when you get into the World Series and the post season, and, I haven’t had any summers.  I’m looking forward to doing things that I’ve always wanted to do.  This spring, I’ll start doing some of those things, and then into the summer, and then we’ll see, we’ll see.  My first year I think I’m going to be fine.

JK: What role could you see yourself in if you decided to come back at some point?

LP: I won’t manage again.  A consulting job for an organization, you know, I think I would have some good thoughts and some good ideas to lend, and help out any way that would be needed.  It wouldn’t be on a uniform basis at all. That part of my life is behind me.

JK: How special is it to re-unite with all of your old teammates at an event like this?

LP: You know, it’s amazing.  I played in New York for twelve years, almost thirteen, and I played with a lot of great guys.  A lot of wonderful, wonderful people.  I got to know their families, I got to know their kids, and I remember the guys on the teams that we won with a lot more than when we had not as good a team.  So, is winning important?  I think so.  But it’s great coming here, seeing all these guys, it’s been a long time.  I basically have been working, so the guys that are here, they do these shows, and have these gatherings like Old Timer’s Day, so they get a chance to see each other a lot more.  For me, it’s more of a treat because I haven’t been able to do these things because I’ve been in uniform.

According to “Sweet” Lou, putting on that uniform will no longer be an issue.

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“5 Questions” With Mark Teixeira

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 12/3/10

Mark Teixeira is thirsty.

After a magical 2009 season, his first in pinstripes, his 2010 season ended abruptly, without any champagne to drink.  He suffered a season-ending hamstring injury running out a ground ball during Game 4 of the ALCS, and the New York Yankees eventually lost to the Texas Rangers in 6 games.

With Teixeira After Our Interview

This week,Teixeira walked into the Steiner Sports Corporate Offices, seemingly pain free and without any limp, ready to move forward and focus on the upcoming 2011 season.  After signing a new collection of items for the Steiner Sports inventory,Teixeira discussed a number of interesting topics including Cliff Lee’s potential future in pinstripes, Derek Jeter’s importance to the Yankees, and his thirst for another World Series championship.

Jason Klein: How has this off season been different so far, compared to 2009, coming off a championship?

Mark Teixeira: It’s been a little disappointing, you know?  When you win a World Series, every single year, that’s what you want to accomplish again.  This year we came up a little short and so this off-season is all about getting back to the World Series next year.

JK: In your first season with the Yankees, you won a World Series title.  How did the experience compare to what you expected?

MT: It was everything and more.  Being a Yankee, winning the World Series in the first year of the new stadium, my first year as a Yankee, it couldn’t get much better than that.  It was just an incredible place to be last year and hopefully these next couple of years we’ll have a few more rings.

JK: Based off your experience as a free agent in 2009, what would you tell a current free agent about the Yankees?  What would your sales pitch be?

MT: My sales pitch is that it’s the greatest place to play in the world.  The stadium, the city, putting on those pinstripes every day is magical.  I think every baseball player should be able to put on the pinstripes for just one day.  I get to do it, you know, 162 games a year, so if I was a free agent coming to New York right now, it would be such an easy, easy decision.

JK: In 2009 you beat Cliff Lee’s team, in 2010, you didn’t.  Is it more fun to compete against someone like Lee, or have him on your team?

MT: It works both ways, you know?  You want to compete against the best and you want to beat the best, but unfortunately if you lose against them, you’d rather have them on your team.

JK: You’ve only been teammates for 2 years now, but what does a guy like Derek Jeter mean inside your locker room?

MT: Derek Jeter is such a great person for our clubhouse.  He’s been there, he’s been a part of 5 Championships, he’s our captain.  Any time there’s a question, or something that needs to be addressed, Derek’s the guy to do it and he’s been doing it for years.

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Derek Jeter Will Return To The Yankees. Won’t He?

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 12/1/10

Attention, ladies and gentleman.  Now batting for the Rays…number 2…Derek Jeter…shortstop…number 2.

It won’t happen…will it?

Will The Yankees & Jeter Turn Their Backs on Eachother?

When the New York Yankeestake the field in 2011, in search of their 28th World Series Championship, Derek Jeter will be in the line up.  Whose line up he’s actually in remains in question.

Now batting for the Tigers

Despite the daily jabs being thrown in the papers each day, an inconceivable approach by both parties, a deal between Derek Jeter and the Yankees will get done.  No other outcome makes any sense for either side.  It will eventually get rectified.  Right?

Now batting for the Giants

The Yankees have reportedly offered Jeter a 3-year deal, worth $45 million – an annual salary of $15 million.  It’s also been reported thatJeter is seeking more years and more dollars, perhaps something in the 5-year range at $23 million per.  The discrepancy is large, but not large enough to keep the Captain from returning to his pinstriped kingdom.  Is it?

Now batting for the Dodgers

Derek Jeter has a long history with the Yankees, and potentially an even longer future.  In addition to everything his on-field play and pristine reputation have meant to the Yankees organization in the past, he is the natural successor to Yogi Berra as the ceremonial ambassador of the Yankees.  Need a first pitch thrown?  Call Derek.  Want recruiting help for future free agents?  Call Derek.  How about a spring training instructor or special advisor?  Call Derek.

There is also the possibility Jeter could pursue a future with the Yankees in a coaching, managing or a front office role.  These are all nice, warm and fuzzy ideas…assuming Jeter wants to maintain his relationship with the Bombers and leverage the immaculate image he has so carefully crafted over the years.  Leaving the Yankees could potentially tarnish his legacy with the club and alienate fans the way Brett Favre did in Green Bay.  He wouldn’t be foolish enough to do that…would he?

Now batting for the Angels

Derek Jeter has seemingly never been about the money.  He has always been about winning.  He is the face of the Yankees, and their YES Network.  He relishes his role as the Big Apple’s King, and the opportunity to play under the bright lights of New York…but on which side of the river?

Now batting for the Mets

Derek Jeter has been irreplaceable for the Yankees, a leader on the field and a true gentleman off it.  He is Mr. Intangible, Mr. November, and Mr. Yankee.  He is consistently productive and revered within his clubhouse.  He breaks records on a nightly basis and is on the verge of collecting his 3,000th career hit.  He is also 36 years-old.

Unfortunately, the track record for 36 year-old athletes signing multi-year deals is not good.  For this reason, the Yankees asked Jeter to “drink the reality potion” in November 2010.

However, the Yankees should know that with Derek Jeter wearing pinstripes, they have their best chance to drink champagne in November 2011.

Derek Jeter has stated, on numerous occasions, his desire to hear Bob Sheppard’s voice every time he steps to the plate throughout the rest of his career.  That request won’t fly anywhere else but in the Bronx.  The two sides will have to ultimately compromise and get this deal done.

Won’t they?

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Members of “Bronx Zoo” Yankees To Run Wild at Steiner Sports

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 11/11/10

Deep in the heart of the ever-changing sports landscape, the Steiner Sports Corporate Office can get chaotic from time-to-time.  On Saturday, December 4, it will be a complete Zoo!

That’s when members of the 1977 and 1978 World Champion New York Yankees, affectionately referred to as the “Bronx Zoo,” will be making their way up to New Rochelle, NY to meet and greet fans at Steiner Sports.  Touting some of the biggest and boldest personalities ever to sport the pinstripes, this group of players draws a crowd wherever they go, holding a special place in the hearts of Yankees fans everywhere.

The 1978 Yankees Celebrate their WS Title.

Rightfully so.  This distinctive collection of Bombers captured imaginations in the late 1970’s, winning back-to-back Titles, the first Championships of the George Steinbrenner era.  While their World Series rings secured their place in baseball history, it was, perhaps, their colorful personalities that created lasting power with their fans, even inspiring a 2007 ESPN Drama, The Bronx is Burning.

There is no doubt, fans in attendance on December 4th will be treated to a wide-range of behind-the-scenes stories, as told by the men who lived them during the summers of 1977 and 1978.  Among those in attendance at Steiner Sports will be Ron GuidrySparky LyleChris ChamblissBucky DentGraig NettlesPaul BlairRoy WhiteWillie Randolph and Lou Piniella.

The event will be catered, Yankee Stadium-style, including the World Famous Lobel’s Steak, peanuts & Cracker Jack.  Fans can take photos with the players, participate in question & answer sessions, raffles, giveaways, and a silent auction.  In addition, special activities will be set up for children.

Those in attendance will get the unique opportunity to re-live historic moments like Reggie Jackson’s 3 home run performance in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series and Bucky Dent’s curse-preserving blast at Fenway Park during the one-game playoff in 1978.

It’s just the latest meet & greet event offered by Steiner Sports, the leader in authentic sports gifts and collectibles.  With so many great Yankees on-hand, this particular event figures to take on a Zoo-like atmosphere…minus the giraffes and elephants, of course.

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Cashman, Yankees Look Forward to Spring Training…Already.

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 10/23/10

The words on his hat were sobering.

Just a half hour after the New York Yankees stunningly lost to theTexas Rangers in Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS, General Manager, Brian Cashman was seen sporting a cap that read, “Spring Training,” and featured a Yankees logo.

Yankees Look on As Rangers Celebrate Capturing the AL Pennant

Symbolically, the hat represented a positive look forward to the 2011 season and the franchise’s next opportunity to capture their 28th World SeriesChampionship.  But where did the hat come from so quickly?  It was a curious, pre-meditated decision to have that hat on-hand, to wear at that particular moment – a choice that had some Yankees fans wondering if their team was mentally into last night’s elimination game, or had already waived the white flag and were ready for a vacation.

It’s a moot point now.  The 2010 Yankees season came to an end last night, deep in the heart of Texas.  There will be no parade down the Canyon of Heroes this year.  To ensure the Yankees are back in the hunt in 2011, Cashman will have to remove his controversial Spring Training headgear and put on his General Manager’s hat for the next 3 months in order to re-stock his pinstriped roster with younger, and hungrier talent.

For sure, the Yankees will look to sign Cliff Lee away from the Rangers, and possibly woo the speedy Carl Crawford away from the Tampa Bay Rays, but interesting decisions will have to be made internally as well.

It will start with the future of Manager, Joe Girardi.  Cashman acknowledged he wants the skipper back in 2011, but admitted he had not confirmed the sentiment with ownership yet.

The future of the “Core 4” is in question too.  Captain, Derek Jeter is at the end of his 10-year deal, and will no doubt command a big contract to end his career with the Bombers.  Likewise, Closer, Mariano Rivera is a free agent, and at the age of 40, is still pitching as well as he ever has.  Standing at his locker last night, Andy Pettitte was indecisive about his plans for next season, admitting his desire to spend more time with his family.  Finally, Catcher, Jorge Posada is likely to be pushed for playing time by top catching prospect, Jesus Montero.

The 2011 Yankees will no doubt look different from the team that came just 6 victories away from a World Series title in 2010.  One thing is certain, whatever combination of superstars take the field in the Bronx next year, Cashman will make sure they contend for a title.

World Series hats tend to be more fashionable than Spring Training caps anyway.

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It’s Dinner Time, Are the New York Yankees Ready to Eat?

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 10/22/10

How are the New York Yankees going to eat this Texas-sized elephant that stands before them?  If the Bronx Bombers are going to capture their second consecutive Title, and twenty-eighth in franchise history, they’ll have to do it one bite at a time.

The Yanks Look to Hughes To Extend the ALCS Tonight.

The mission statement consistently reads: World Series Championship or bust, but this is no time to think about a confetti-littered Canyon of Heroes.  Instead, the Yankees must rally around a more immediate goal, winning tonight’s ALCS Game 6.

Nothing more, nothing less.

After falling behind the Rangers 3-1 in the series, Manger, Joe Girardi addressed his squad, urging them to believe in the old cliché of “one game at a time.”  He reminded his pinstriped audience that they had won multiple games in a row many times before, but that it always started with a single victory.

With that said, the Yankees pulled themselves up off the canvas on Wednesday afternoon, wobbled towards the center of the ring, and threw a series of haymakers at the suddenly mighty Texas Rangers, winning the game 7-2, and sending the series back to Texas.

Their first bite of the elephant went down smoothly.

As the Yankees prepare to chew on another piece tonight, it’s important they ignore the man waiting in the room reserved for Saturday night, Cliff Lee, an elephant unto himself.  However, Game 7 doesn’t happen without a victory in Game 6, a task the Yankees are well equipped to complete with Phil Hughes pitching on regular rest, and a suddenly rejuvenated line up.  Standing in their way tonight is Game 2’s winner, Colby Lewis, backed by a hungry and formidable Rangers line up.

There’s no doubt, the task is a daunting one, but the Yankees would not have boarded a plane to Arlington, TX if they didn’t believe it was one they could accomplish.  They stand just six wins away from their 28th World Series Championship, including one with the seemingly unbeatable Lee.

It all starts, and potentially ends, with tonight’s Game 6, the next bite of the elephant on their plate.

Hope they’re hungry.

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New York Yankee Legacy Magazine Advertising

By Jason Klein  

Originally Written & Designed For New York Yankee Legacy Magazine – October 2010

Click each individual thumbnail below to view the Advertisements, exactly as they appeared in New York Yankee Legacy Magazine:



Long Live The Boss

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For New York Yankee Legacy Magazine – October 2010

Click each individual thumbnail below to read the feature story, exactly as it appeared in New York Yankee Legacy Magazine:










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