Featured

FROM FAN TO FOE – BACK TO THE BRONX

Growing up on Staten Island, NY you are a fan of either the Yankees or Mets. No, seriously, I do not know anyone from Staten Island that is not either a Yankees or a Mets fan. For me, I grew up a diehard Yankees fan. I was always watching games on TV and even went to a few games each year. Those games were always exciting to watch, not only because they were winners, but the team had an incredible rivalry with the Red Sox. As a child watching the the “Core Four” (Jeter, Rivera, Posada, and Pettitte) was astounding. My love for the Yankees even motivated my family to name our dog “Jeter”.

fullsizeoutput_4889

Born in 1992, it was a perfect time to be a Yankees fan, especially having an older brother who loved sports. His love for baseball influenced my love for the Yankees. There was a lot of winning and a lot of role models to look up to at that time. Going to games was my favorite thing to do. Since the age of five, all I ever wanted to do was play baseball. My family and I would go to games and sit right behind home plate. I remember one game, we were so close to home plate that Paul O’Neill fouled a ball straight back and I thought it was going to hit me in the face. Luckily, they had a net right there because it would have hit me square in the face (which wouldn’t have ended well for me). The guy behind me was no lucky as but not so lucky, as I had a big soda in my hand and when the ball was coming my direction, I flinched and spilt my drink all over that him. (Whoops)

unnamed-2

As I got a little older my brother and I would go to games via public transportation and sit in the bleachers. We would take the train to the ferry, ferry to Manhattan, then walk to the subway and take the 4 train to Yankee stadium. We would bring food with us, well because “Bleacher Creatures” were allowed to do that (haha). I remember it was the second to last game in the old Yankee stadium and I would run up to the bullpen every inning trying to get a ball. It was about to be the last inning and Mariano Rivera was warming up, so obviously there were a lot of people around watching him throw. I remember he threw his last warmup pitch and the music came on, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. The crowd started to go crazy, as he’s leaving the bullpen and everyone is watching him, I see the bullpen catcher toss the ball up into the stands and while everyone is watching Mariano run out to the field. I’m the only one who sees this ball coming my way. Of course I catch it and immediately run to my brother speechless. I remember how happy I was. I just caught a ball that Mariano Rivera threw. I mean, what are the chances, right? My brother didn’t even believe me a first. It was one of the coolest moments I ever had being a Yankees fan.

Zack+Granite+Minnesota+Twins+v+Detroit+Tigers+r1eFsbcNU2yl

In 2013, following my collegiate career at Seton Hall University, I was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 14th round. Flash forward four years through my journey through the minor leagues, and I find myself in the big leagues playing against the New York Yankees. They came to Minnesota to play a big series against us and I had my first two RBI’s against the Yankees and my first Gatorade shower after the game. It did not really hit me that we played the Yankees until we went to Yankee Stadium in September. Walking into the ballpark I got the chills. I grew up here, as a fan, and now I get to play against this team. First thing I did when I got into the clubhouse was walk out and see the field. I walked out to the outfield and just stared at the field. It was a dream come true. I went inside Monument Park and checked out all the legends that came through the organization and it was so special to see. The amount of family and friends that came out to support me made this moment even more unbelievable. It was a great feeling to see all of them there and cheering for me, even though most of my friends still wore Yankees gear.

IMG_7999We end up back in the Bronx for the one game playoff. It was cool playing them in the regular season but now it was business. I did not care that it was the New York Yankees. We wanted to win and they were trying to stop us. We got out to an early lead but gave it back in the next two innings. The way I describe that game is like a boxing match. Every pitch means so much and is so intense for four straight hours. It was an awesome atmosphere and a great experience. I got to go in the game midway through following an injury. It was crazy, I remember running out to center field like a kid in a candy store. I was playing the New York Yankees in the postseason.

I’m playing in a playoff game, is all I kept thinking about. People go their entire careers without making it to the playoffs. I remember getting a hit off Dave Robertson on a cutter that snuck through the “4 hole” and I remember how fast my chest was beating. Getting a hit in a playoff game was as cool as you can imagine. We ended up losing the game and the weirdest part for me was getting in my friend’s car and having him drive me home. We just lost a playoff game to the New York Yankees, my first season in the Major Leagues was over, and just like that, I was already home. No plane ride back to Minnesota, just an hour drive from the Bronx to Staten Island. I’m not going to lie, for the first time ever, it wasn’t cool that the Yankees won. It actually sucked losing to them. I grew up watching them beat so many teams so many times. But this time, it was different. It’s definitely different when you’re the one on the field and not a fan in the stands.  Its crazy how quickly things can change when you put on a Major League uniform. You go from fan to foe real quick. Either way, the best part about baseball is there is always another day and another season to look forward to. And even though I’ll always be a kid form Staten Island who used to cheer, “Lets Go Yankees”, now I’m a guy who plays in Minnesota yelling “Lets Go Twins”

08-1004047746+14TWIN070917

Digmi  Contributing Author

Zack Granite

Featured

“NEVER LOST MY HUSTLE”

What exactly is a constant? Do we see it as a foundation for what we base our lives on? Is it a routine that we acclimate ourselves to through repetition? With so many definitions, one thing that remains true is that a constant will occur continuously through time. With everything else in life shifting, situations that alter decisions we make, something that remains constant in my mind are these words to remind me where I come from, who I am, and what will guide me through all obstacles:

“Never Lose Your Hustle.”

I spent four years as a part of the Seton Hall University Baseball Team. This was my identity. I lived, dreamt, and focused on baseball those four years, and learned to love the game. In addition to falling in love with the game, I learned to embrace the culture of Seton Hall Baseball. The history, the “Seton Hall Way” was learned, and through that I matured into who I am today. “Never Lose Your Hustle” has been a phrase that is more than preached, it’s practiced. You’ll find it posted all throughout the locker room, batting cages and offices of the coaching staff. Ask any SHU Baseball Alum, and they’ll have a story about what those words meant to them. Here’s the story of how “Never Lose Your Hustle” greatly influenced my life.

IMG_7847

2017 had its fair share of twists and turns for me, as life was sure to change. Graduation, dreams of being drafted were getting closer, and my career would end, hopefully with a Big East championship. What I hoped and thought would happen, didn’t.

April 13th, 2017, Seton Hall vs. Xavier on FS1. The top of the 2nd inning, I felt discomfort in my right hand. As the game went on, this discomfort didn’t go away. By the end of the game, I could barely twist my wrist. I spent hours awake in the hotel, with my hand in and out of an ice bucket to try and relieve some of the swelling until eventually I had fallen asleep in the chair. The next day, I couldn’t play catch. My hand was swollen and I had to sit that game. Later that week, I found out that I had broken my hamate bone.

I had a decision to make. Having broken my hand on a swing during the second week of conference play, I didn’t want to abandon my team and get surgery. I wanted to do everything I could to finish out the season with the boys. I had to try to contribute as much as I could for the remainder of the season. On the flip side, this could really hurt my chances of ever playing professional baseball. Deciding to play through it was my decision.

I was out for what felt like the longest 17 days of my life. Trying different braces to relieve the stress off my hand, different tape wraps to make sure my wrist couldn’t move. The pain level had me believing I would never hit a ball over the fence again. I never gave up on trying to get back on that field.

April 30th, after 17 days figuring out how to make this work, I laced up the spikes, and DH against St Johns. Battling through pain, and discomfort, I would do anything for my teammates. Finishing out the rest of the year, playing 11 more games ended my career as a Seton Hall Pirate.

As time passed, the pain decreased and I was able to perform at a high level again. At the same time, the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft had happened and I had not been drafted. I ended up applying for a job outside of playing baseball. Not having a clue about what life after baseball had in store for me. Thinking my days being a ball player were over, I step foot in a familiar place in my hometown of New York.

The Baseball Center was a place I had been to countless times to workout as a ball player, but for the first time, I was going, looking to become a coach. I sat down and spoke with Michael Lombardi, Executive Director of The Baseball Center. After telling him about my injury, and explaining what seemed to be the end of my career, he gave me these words that I’ll never forget: “Play until you can’t anymore, because you can never get this time back.”

I thought to myself, “Maybe I can still play…” Sometimes you just need to be reminded that your time isn’t up yet, that you need to keep fighting for what you believe in.

Sure enough, later that night, I received a call from the Rockland Boulders, inviting me to an open tryout. Excited and inexperienced, I gathered all my strength to remind myself that those words, spoken so frequently the pass four years of my life, “Never Lose Your Hustle,” and do anything in my power to become a professional baseball player. I was selected out of a tryout of 72 guys, and was offered a contract and given the opportunity to further my career as a Rockland Boulder.

IMG_7846

Through all of the ups and downs, keeping that hustle can land you in places you’d never thought possible.

If I had lost my hustle, if I had forgotten the words etched into my DNA, and if it weren’t for being reminded that I determine when my career is over, not my setbacks, I would have never had my first professional hit June 30th 2017, or my first home run, July 12th 2017.

fullsizeoutput_4798

Maybe the road you’re traveling down is a detour from the path you had set out planned to take, but just like a road trip, staying the course will still get you to your destination. Still on my journey, it is really cool to see how far I’ve come as a ball player since the night I broke my hand. But I truly believe that this detour in my life has made me a better person.

When that time comes, when you’re tested both physically and mentally; when that river you’ve been rowing down turns to a waterfall, you can plunge within the rapids, or you can fight upstream and swim yourself out of danger. We are given the choice, an opportunity, to react to something that is out of our control. The choice you make is what we have control over.

fullsizeoutput_479b

This is how “Never Lose Your Hustle” has changed this Seton Hall Baseball Alum’s life, to build on this opportunity, remembering the words that have paved the way for me to battle adversity, and consistently keep that one attribute a mainstay in our lives. The word that made it all possible, Hustle.

Digmi Contributing Author 

Mikael Mogues 

unnamed-12.jpg

 

“Marbury, ‘Melo And The Mecca Of Basketball”

unnamed-2

Everyone has a reason why they fall in love with their favorite team.  For me, I fell in love with the New York Knicks for a couple of good reasons. You’re going to have to thank my grandfather and dad for that. Like many kids growing up in the New York City area, heading to Madison Square Garden was a thrill. Hopping off the LIRR, walking through Penn Station and heading up those stairs into the lobby was like nothing else. You could fell the energy of the crowd the moment you get inside. It was easy to understand why they call it the Mecca of basketball.

From a very young age, there was one thing I loved more than anything else; the passion this city has for one team. When the Knicks play at home, the Knicks are the only basketball team that has “New York” across their chests. They don’t share the city with anyone. And even though the Nets recently moved to Brooklyn, the Big Apple belongs to Knicks. Anyone who knows anything about New York basketball knows that. Thats just the bottom line. There is something to be said when a team can unify the biggest of rivals. In a world that seems so divided at times, the Knicks have been known to bring New Yorkers together for years. Remember when Larry Johnson hit the famous “4 point play’?; you saw Mets and Yankees fans hugging it out. Rangers and Islanders fans couldn’t stop giving each other high fives when they saw John Starks dunk over “The G.O.A.T” Michael Jordan. And Giants and Jets fans were loving life when Jeremy Lin showed up at the Garden and “Linsanity” took over the city.

Madison Square Garden is such a special place. Whether the team is winning or losing, if there is excitement or frustration, its always sold out. Always. And thats why road teams and opposing players love to suit up and play there. The Garden is the biggest stage in the NBA, if not in all of sports. The games brightest talent gets to play in front of the brightest lights and the worlds biggest stars who are sitting in the front row. Win or lose, Knicks fans feel like they can be a part of something bigger than just being an average fan. Its easy to relate to this team. The hype, the high expectations, the disappointment, the heartache and most of all, the hustle. All of us know that being a Knicks fan is different. Its special. And for all the hard times we have faced, envisioning the day when “The City That Never Sleeps” will shut down to celebrate a NBA Championship parade makes being a loyal fan even easier. When that day comes, it will be like no other parade in sports. Its the Knicks, its New York and it will be so worth the wait.

marbury20s-1-web

You may be wondering why I feel so strongly about the Knicks and what my reason is that I fell in love with this team? Like I said earlier, there are a couple of of good ones. Let me give you the first one. My grandfather went to Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, and was always a fan of their sports teams, especially basketball. He was super excited about this young kid on their team who was starting to get a lot of national attention. His name was Stephon Marbury. My grandfather took me to a game and I’ll never forget the crowd I saw when I walked into the gym. I was immediately hooked. Marbury quickly became “my guy” and I began following the young superstar from his days playing in Brooklyn to Georgia Tech to his debut in the NBA with Minnesota Timberwolves. My man Marbury eventually made his way to Jersey to play for the Nets, which made things a little difficult for me as you could probably imagine. He was my guy, and I ended up rockin’ Nets Marbury jerseys even though I bled blue and orange. This guy had me going to Meadowlands to watch him play as much as I was going to the Garden. But then it happened. My favorite player, Stephon Marbury was traded to my team, the New York Knicks. Its was meant to be. My guy, my team, my city. Marbury brought life and excitement back to the Garden which was missing since the days of Patrick Ewing and company. Marbury got us believing again. An although his time in New York didn’t end the way I had hoped, he was a major reason why my love for this team grew even stronger.

image.jpg

My father graduated from Syracuse which gave me a good reason for them to become my favorite college basketball team. So you know where this going, right? Just like Marbury at Abraham Lincoln, Syracuse basketball introduced me to Carmelo Anthony. This kid shows up on campus and brings home a national title in his freshman year and I was hooked. I followed him as he made his debut into the NBA with the Denver Nuggets and quickly became one of the NBA’s brightest stars. And then just like that, another one of my favorite players found his way back home to New York and was traded to the Knicks. When ‘Melo arrived in the Big Apple, you could feel the excitement, the optimism and the hope that Knicks brightest days were ahead of us. For the first time in years, we had a legitimate superstar leading the way. And like so many other Knicks fans, I believed he would lead us to the promise land. He did his thing, there is no doubt about that. He led us to the playoffs, gave the fans a 54 win season and even played in the All-Star game in front of his home crowd.  And although the team showed glimpses of greatness, the came up short of bringing home a title. And we all know, it didn’t end well for “Melo in the Big Apple. After ? years in blue and orange, he was traded to Oklahoma City this off season.

It hasn’t always been easy being a Knicks fan. Lets get that straight. Everyone knows about the disaster that was the Phil Jackson project, the Charles Oakley ordeal and an owner who seems to rub his fans the wrong way at times. But thats life as a Knicks fan. Thats life as a New Yorker. Nothing comes easy for those that hustle.

fullsizeoutput_3f2b.jpeg

Even during the darkest of days; the fans continue to weather the storm and they keep coming out to support this team. They keep fighting, hustling and believing. Thats what Knicks fan do. Thats what New Yorkers do. Thats what I do. The day of Marbury and ‘Melo are long gone and I cant deny that. But my team has New York across the chest. They have some young talent now who are showing a ton of heart nowadays and have fans hyped. The future is bright. But isn’t that how it has to be when you root for the Knicks. I mean how bad can it be when your team plays in a garden right in the middle of the big apple. I’m not sure if there will ever be another Marbury to me, or who might stroll in with the expectations that came with ‘Melo, but I do know this….no matter who it is, they’re going to do it in the Mecca of basketball – Madison Square Garden.

– Evan Okon.

 

Thanks Doc!

I’ve been a Philadelphia Phillies fan since I was a little kid. I blame my dad for that, haha. My dad grew up in Massapequa, Long Island, and at that time, he said that the house he lived in only got one channel that aired baseball games; and it only had Phillies games. He used to tell me that most of the seasons, the team really wasn’t that good, but there was something he liked about them. He said he always felt like the team gave it their all, and always respected the game and their fans. And just like that, the Phillies had its newest fan…Me.

unnamed-5

From the beginning, I fell in love with the team colors, the iconic Liberty Bell and the entire of city of Philadelphia. It is such a special place. So much history to take in. I was always excited to make trips from my home on Long Island down to “The City of Brotherly Love” to catch a ball game with my pops. The Phillies teams that I grew up with were similar to ones my father had cheered on. They weren’t the most competitive, but seemed to give their all for 9 innings. And they did have some exciting players to watch. They had “J-Roll” Jimmy Rollins who went on to win an MVP award. “Pat the Bat” Pat Burrell, and a hot-shot new infielder named Chase Utley. Before you knew it, these three along with some other quality players had the Phillies making moves and winning some ball games. So much in fact, that they shocked the baseball world in 2007 when they caught the New York Mets and won the National League East title. After all these years, my team had arrived.

This was the beginning of my finest run as a Philadelphia Phillies fan. The years 2007 to 2012 were incredible. My “Phils” ruled the NL East. So many exciting games and moments that kept adding up. One of my favorite baseball moments ever was being at the last home game for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in 2008. Jamie Moyer pitched and Tom Gordon closed out the game. Distant names for this generation of fans, but not to me. Those were my guys. I was only 13 years old at the time, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

The Phillies went on to win the World Series that season, and I probably wore a Phillies shirt to school everyday of 8th grade. As you can guess, it’s not easy being a Philadelphia Phillies fan in the the New City York area. Everyone else is a Yankees or Mets fans, and they always seemed to want to fight me because I wore my teams colors so proudly. I was heckled quite a bit back then, but I would do my best to laugh it off. Sometimes, I would enjoy the attention and embrace it by blowing kisses at them to get them more riled up. Maybe not the smartest thing to do to a bunch of New Yorkers, but hey, it made it all more fun.

Being a Phillies fan has made me appreciate the good teams when they come around. And as any sports fan knows, the good teams don’t come around that often, and when they do, you need to enjoy every minute of the ride. The same can be said about certain players. There are thousands who play America’s pastime, but only a handful of them make an unforgettable impact on us. One of those special players just happened to play for the team I have loved my entire childhood. His name was Roy, but most of his friends called him “Doc”.

Just like the rest of the baseball world, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of the former Major League star, Roy Halladay this past Tuesday. As a Phillies fan, it really hit home. One of my idols, a player who I cheered for and looked up to, was no longer with us. The first thing I did when I got home after hearing the tragic news was go into a box where I keep my old jerseys. There it was, my #34 Roy Halladay Philadelphia Phillies jersey. Those that know me well know that I don’t buy many jerseys. I only have a few of them. And the few that I have are of guys that I have a great deal of pride representing; guys like Pete Rose, Roberto Clemente, Bryce Harper, Chase Utley and of course, the late Roy Halladay. The other item I grabbed was a copy of the New York Post from the day after Halladay threw his post season no-hitter. Remember that? What a game!

unnamed-3

Roy Halladay only spent 4 seasons with my favorite team but instantly became an idol and hero of mine. When my friends and I would play pick-up baseball down at the park, my nick-name would always be “Doc Hils” in honor of my admiration for “Doc Halladay”. Many of my friends reached out to me this week to send their condolences knowing just how much Roy meant to me.

Roy Halladay was the definition of a professional. One of my other favorite players, Chase Utley, who doesn’t say much to the media, put out a statement earlier this week about “Doc”. Chase explained how he arrived at spring training early one day and saw Roy, who dripping in sweat and eating breakfast. Chase asked him if it had rained outside and Roy told him no, that he just got done with his workout before grabbing a bite. That was Roy. An unmatched work ethic respected by his teammates and opponents alike.

I was honored to root for Roy during his final 4 seasons of his career pitching in Philadelphia. During his career, Halladay won 203 games and along with 67 complete games. Thats right, 67 complete games. In an era where we are lucky to see the starting pitcher get through 5 innings, this guy was committed to finishing his job. He was a player who honed his craft day in and day out. Someone who many of his colleagues looked up to. I know I did.

Roy Halladay got his nickname from “Doc” Holliday, the famous wild west gunslinger. The nick name seemed appropriate as Halladay would stand on the rubber, take in his sign, draw his weapon (his arm) and fire strikes across the plate. Some could say that “Doc” was appropriate because of his precision of his pitches, similar to that of doctors diagnosis. Accurate and to the point. That was my idol “Doc” Halladay. Whether fans were thinking of the gunslinger or the doctor, Halladay was admired by all. When he took the mound, all eyes were on Roy. A current Major League player was quoted this week saying “Roy Halladay was your favorite player’s favorite player”.

Roy Halladay had that blue collar mentality of lets go to work and not leave until the job was done. He was a rarity. An exception to the rule. A player who was loved and respected by fans and foes. A player who may one day be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  But beyond his talents on the mound, Roy was a great man, husband and father. He was the kind of man that fans like me could look up to.

unnamed-4

I never did get a chance to meet Roy. I sure would’ve loved that. I’ve asked myself a few times what exactly I might have said to him if I did get that chance. Would I say something about his no-hitter in the playoffs? Would I tell him that I proudly wear his jersey? Or maybe that he was one of my heroes? I’m not really sure. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, if I did get that chance, I would only have one thing to say…

“Thanks Doc…for everything!”

 

– Walt Hilsenbeck

Digmi Contributing Author

More about the author: Walt Hilsenbeck is die hard baseball fan who attends more than 75 professional games each season. Walt is the founder of HilsFilms, a YouTube channel that features candid player interviews and game content. Walt’s material has been featured on media platforms such as MLB Network and Univision.

 

Tip Your Cap – The Official Blog Site of “The Guy In The Tie”

I’ve been wanting to add some cool content from team contributors and introduce guest authors to our growing base of Digmi fans and customers for quite a while now. Every time I was ready to start to work on this concept, another project or opportunity presented itself, pulling our team in a different direction, and leaving this on the back burner. I guess you can say thats a good thing, right? Busy is good. And I can tell you that we have been crazy busy this past year. I’m sure many of you have heard about of our debuts at Bloomindale’s, Tilly’s and Lids. Crazy to think that our story and brand have gone from selling tee shirts in minor league clubhouses to landing on the shelves of some of our favorite retailers, isn’t it?

Well, we still are crazy busy. I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon, or at least I hope not. We have a lot of great things to design, products to offer, and a story to keep telling. But with all of that, I think it’s time that we just start writing and sharing cool, creative content from some incredibly talented people. People that are part of our team, people that have inspired and motivated us along our journey, and people that continue to influence so many with their positive messages.

Welcome to Tip Your Cap, the official blog site of “The Guy In The Tie”, a platform offering articles & video content focusing on fashion, sports and pop-culture.

We are new to this. We are not seasoned writers or experienced journalists. We will never claim to be. We are just a bunch of passionate people who believe that hard work pays off and if you keep pushing forward, you’re bound to find your way. So here goes nothing. Get ready to Tip Your Cap to honesty, creativity, and passionate personality.

Thanks for stopping by!

– Ray Digmi

Founder/Editor In Chief

 

 

From Jeter To Judge…Why I’ll Always Wear Pinstripes

Yeah, I know. Today is Game 7 of the World Series between the Dodgers and Astros. Arguably the greatest fall classic of all time. The cities of Houston and Los Angeles have been electric and their fans have shown such passion for their teams. Reminds me of the love and passion I have for my team…

Growing up in Central Jersey, I loved nothing more than the New York Yankees and their rich history. When it was playoff time I was glued to the TV, next to my Mom and Dad, pulling for Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Tino Martinez to get that big hit. And guys like Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and El Duque to come through with that big strikeout. And how about the unsung heroes like Scott Brosious or Aaron Boone? These guys gave me unforgettable memories and made me fall in love with the game of baseball.

 To the rest of the world, these guys were better known as the Bronx Bombers.

 As a kid, I remember those World Series in the 90’s and early 2000’s like they were yesterday. They were always special to me because I’d always wake up to my dad either cheering loud on a big play or booing even louder on a bad play (we are Yankee fans, you know how it is). The next morning, my mom or dad would go to tell me the Yanks won or lost. Before they could even get it out, I’d yell “Do not to tell me anything!” I wanted to watch the highlights on SportsCenter , before school, and see them for myself.

unnamed

 The only “magic” I knew as a kid was “Yankee Magic”. The magic that made Derek Jeter, “Mr. November”, with his game winning home run at the stroke of midnight; The magic that made Aaron Boone that unsung hero, with his game winning home run off Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of 2003 ALCS. I mean, that is what every little kid dreams of, right? All of these magical moments made me and the rest of the world believe they had what it took to be a ball player too.

 I always would hear “Oh you guys buy championships”, from my bitter friends that were either Red Sox or Mets fans, but to me all I saw were a group of guys that never gave up. They had a lot to do with who I became as a baseball player myself, but I’ll get back to that.  I fell so in love with the Yankees I would try to replicate their exact mannerisms, from the “Jeter Jump Throw” all the way to listening to Mariano’s, “Enter Sandman” (yes its Mariano’s, not Metallica’s haha), as he ran in from the bullpen to close another one of his record breaking saves.

 A day that stuck with me throughout my career was the day the Yankees called me on February 9, 2015, and invited me to come throw at their Spring Training facility in Tampa, Florida, with the opportunity to earn a spot on a roster in their minor league system. Unfortunately, I did not earn that spot, but to have the opportunity to toe the rubber on the same field that many Yankee legends once practiced on and earned their spot, will be something I will treasure for my entire life.

unnamed-1

 After having the privilege to play the game I love for 20 years, all the way from t-ball to Professional Baseball, I hung up my spikes and started to really appreciate the beauty of the game from the outside looking in. On the field, I considered myself one of the most passionate players, and always wore my heart on my sleeve, just like those Yankee greats I got to watch growing up.

 Following playing all those years, I decided to take in my first Yankee playoff game this season. I’ve never been to the Bronx in October before. I went to Game 5 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros. The atmosphere was like no other; absolutely electric every single pitch. Fans from all over meeting at “The House that Jeter Built” to see the Yanks try to even up the ALCS at two games apiece.  Watching every pitch on TV is amazing, but to be at the stadium, watching role call and standing up clapping for every strikeout opportunity cannot be matched. The Yanks came out early and did not disappoint the home crowd, as they forced Dallas Keuchel to an early exit; their toughest rival over the past few years.  After the game all the fans flooded the streets, giving the now famous “thumbs down” sign, while making the transition from Sinatra’s “New York, New York” inside the stadium to Springsteen’s “Born To Run” playing inside Stan’s Sports across the street.

 After all these years, I found that the magic is still there. You see, the “Yankee Magic” actually never left. With guys like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorious, Luis Severino and Greg Bird, the Yanks are back in business, making their presence known and knocking on the door of another championship.

What unforgettable memories will be made in the Bronx over the next few years? Who will be our next big hero? I’m not sure. But I am sure about this…from Jeter to Judge, I’ll always wear pinstripes! And no matter what, I’ll always believe in magic!

– Carlos Ruiz

Digmi Contributing Author