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Out to Lunch

Karen's Restaurant Revue airs on Sept. 18 and Sept. 25, (2 different shows), both at 9:00PM on Time-Warner Cable, Channels 98, 77, or 3. Check your local listings for stations in your area.

Growing up in NY, you were never supposed to be a fan of both these teams. My father was a broken-hearted Dodger fan, but got on board with the Mets. Therefore, I had been to Shea Stadium many times in my childhood. (My niece Veronica’s middle name is even Shea, in honor of the place!) Oh, and I’ve always been a big Mets fan myself.
I didn’t become a Yankees-lover until I was 20 and hooked-up with my boyfriend of that era. Luckily for me, Mr. X is one, too, so there were no problems when I switched. (Boyfriends, not teams.) But living out here since I was a teen-ager, rarely spending summers in NY, and not having many baseball fan friends there, I had never made it to Yankee Stadium.
As this is the last year for both stadiums, (new ones are being built for occupation in 2009), I was panicked to make it to them before the wrecking ball does. I knew since March that I was planning to be in NY for the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium in July, but never addressed the issue, not wanting to bother anyone for help, and just hoped and prayed that something would come up.
So, of course, I wound-up bothering everyone I know, and even some I don’t! Some tried to help, others didn’t answer at all, and most just mocked me, but in a nice way.
Shockingly, it all came to pass perfectly, and before I tell you about my experiences, I feel the need to laud everyone who came through for me. So, from the bottom of my heart, I give major thanks and appreciation to the following fabulous folks: Mitch Nedick of the CW Network, BettyEllen Berlamino of WPIX , John-Paul Basile and Barb McHugh of the NY Sports Museum, Howie Goldstein of Creative Cuisine, Lauren Clarke of Vava Water, Bobby Zarin of Zarin Fabrics, Paul Williams of Kobe Beach Club, Luc Robitaille and Kehly Sloane of the LA Kings, JR of the NY Rangers, Ken Braunstein of Power Crunch Bars, Ted Seifman, and all others who tried to help me, which means not the Yankees PR Department!!!
Not my best look, except for the mini Mets helmet

I had so much fun at Shea! And, I got to see the Mets beat their arch-rivals, the Phillies! The whole experience was great, especially the Carvel ice cream in a Mets batting helmet. Oh Ma Ga! The Nathan’s hot dogs they serve in the stands were pretty good, too.
We had great seats and seeing Jose Reyes hit a 3-run home run was the highlight. I swear, I called it, too. My friend, Ethan, is my witness. It was gorgeous.
The weird part is that even with my amazing memory (which I’m grateful for every day), good old Shea didn’t look anything like I remember. Possibly because I was a little girl, or maybe never had such good seats.

Shea Stadium
Shea Stadium exterior

The only thing that I’m upset about is that the Mets organization was kind enough to give me a press pass. I know the heat of NY clouds my mind (seriously!), but I didn’t think to ask what access it afforded me until AFTER the game. What a jerk!
I could have spent the entire pre-game period on the field, or better yet, in the locker room!!! I could have posted pix of Jose and me in this very space! But in truth, I never would have left my friend waiting while I was so happily engaged, so it all worked out okay. But just look for me on the field, or in Jose’s lap, next season at the new Citi Field!!!

Shea Stadium
Shea Stadium from my seat


This whole experience was something out of a Vince Vaughn movie! Only, I never would have believed it if I hadn’t lived it. I’ll try to pare it down for you, but my mouth is watering to tell the whole story with exact details on my next show.

Whitey Ford
Karen with the legendary Yankee, Whitey Ford

A few months ago, I went to a reception for Yankee legend Whitey Ford’s memorabilia here in LA. Whitey couldn’t have been nicer or spent more time talking with me. He said he was sure that he was going to see me at the All-Star Game and that I should run out to the mound to give him a big hug. I told him I wasn’t yet credentialed for the event, and he said I should call the Yankees PR staff. (I was planning on guesting on Fred Wallin’s sports radio show to discuss it, as well as writing this piece that you’re reading.)
I did and they told me that not only couldn’t they accommodate me for the All-Star Game, but said that there were no tickets for this whole season! Meanwhile, they were giving out tickets for the Home Run Derby all over NY to anyone who walked by, and I watched every game in the month I was there, and trust me, there were plenty of empty seats.
My prospects of getting to the stadium were looking bleak, but my friend Lauren invited me to the Hamptons for the week-end, and said maybe I’d meet someone there who could help. I forget to mention it to anyone for the first day or so, and then she took me to a party for Orphans International. She introduced me to a man, Bobby Zarin, who asked if I’d be in LA the next week-end when his wife would be here. I answered, “I’m not leaving NY until I get to Yankee Stadium!”
As he was about to say he might be able to help, the caterer, Howie Goldstein (read about his Creative Cuisine and the party next week in this column), walked up and Bobby said, “This girl wants to see the Yankees.” Howie said, “Okay, I’ll take you. What night do you want to go?,” and proceeded to tell me who was pitching each night, which of course, I already knew, too.

Derek Jeter
The back of Derek Jeter on first base,
proving that he does, indeed, look better
in a baseball uniform than anyone in history!

I couldn’t believe it! Who ever meets anyone this kind??? (And I even looked not fabulous because, trust me, it’s hard to be glam in the super-moist Hamptons!) I chose Tuesday because that’s the night they were giving out Derek Jeter Uno decks! (I’ll wait till you all finish rolling your eyes.)
I held my breath for the next four days because rarely does anyone live up to their word nowadays. But lo and behold, not only did Howie live up to it, he picked me up in Brooklyn, with caviar and Coronas, took me to dinner first, and got me a gorgeous Yankee cap! And none of that was even the best part!
Rarely do I follow behind anyone these days because I’m more often than not the founder of the feast. But I was more than happy to follow Howie, and I wound-up doing it with my mouth open. (And not just cause I was gasping for air in the oppressive east coast heat, either.)

Yankee Stadium
Me on the field of Yankee Stadium!!! Finally!

No exaggerating, from the second we walked up to the entrance, every single employee we passed said, “Hi Howie” or some big greeting to him! And that happened ALL THE WAY TO THE FIELD! I was standing on the field watching batting practice! I still don’t understand how, but there I was! If I had known I’d be that close to Derek, I might have eaten a lot less over the past few months. But who woulda figured on this?!

And we watched the game from three rows behind first base! I was so worried that I’d wind-up interfering with the game somehow. (Trust me, I’ve interfered with this team before, by accident. You don’t want the details.)
Of course I got my Carvel in a Yankees helmet, but this time I ate it from the members-only bar, where of course the manager invited Howie into. Nice to be out with such a popular guy. Who needs the PR people when you got a new best friend like this?!
Some pals who knew of my difficulties with the un-cooperative Yankees PR staff sent me one of the best presents ever--a DVD gift basket that included DVDs of “Yankee Stadium, Baseball’s Cathedral” and “When It Was A Game” Volumes I, II, and III, along with a disposable camera, seeds to grow grass for my own stadium, and tons of candy.

I’ll tell you more about this fabulous company in a near-future products column, but if you want to copy my gift for someone this summer, here’s their info: 877-218-4438


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