Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Staten Island Yankees Media Day

I got to take part in Media day on Saturday afternoon for the Staten Island Yankees. It was my first experience with any kind of media day and it was fun. It was held at Richmond County Ballpark in Staten Island, New York, home of the Staten Island Yankees who are the class A short season affiliate of the New York Yankees. The ballpark is really spectacular with a nice backdrop being the Manhattan skyline.

I didn’t really know what to expect, I kind of thought we would be led to a press area and they would bring players and coaches to us for us to get to ask questions. When I arrived I was led to an elevator to wait with a couple other media members. Staten Island Yankees staff came up on the elevator and led us down to the clubhouse where we were able to chat with some of the players, after about 10 minutes or so they announced that Justin Pope the manager was available and me and a small group of reporters were led into his office where we asked him questions just like you see on TV with Joe Girardi. Pope is a guy I remember from his Trenton Thunder days. He was very gracious and a good guy. He answered all the questions; he shook all of our hands as we came into his office. I look forward to working with him this year as I cover the team.

I can’t say that I got any real news worthy statements but I do have some quotes from Pope on the upcoming season and also about him managing in his second year compared to his first which was last year. He said, “I just want the guys to play hard and to get better” He said that is their main goal at this level developing over winning. He said the potential to have three first round picks this season is very exciting and can be a good thing for the team. He said in his second year it could be more relaxing, he knows what to expect now but he is always nervous during games. He loves seeing guys succeed of course and go to the next level. He did say he felt that last year was a tough year, that they started off bad the team and he wants that to change this year. He felt that chemistry was an issue, which I found interesting. He said that you have a lot of guys out of college that have never been with a Latin player before and vice versa and they have to learn to be teammates and respect each other. He said that he has to do better with that because when they get to the next level Tony Franklin and Dave Miley aren’t going to put up with that stuff. Franklin is the manager of the AA Trenton Thunder and Miley of the AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders.

Pope said he doesn’t really feel his approach has changed but he may be more aggressive and more ahead of the game then last year. He said the hardest thing for him is to leave his wife in Florida and who knows how many times he will see her now until Sept/October when the season is over. He said the good thing is he has been down in Tampa since March with spring training and then extended spring so he was home until now when he had to leave to start the season with Staten Island. He said it sounds weird but it is normal for him because baseball is what he knows and he has always had to leave her for a few months a year. He said that he loves baseball and it never goes away, he can never get away from the game.

I find it very interesting and cool that the Staten Island Yankees will have Michael O’Neill the nephew of Paul on the team along with Eric Jagielo at some point who was their number one first round pick out of Notre Dame. Jagielo tweaked a hammy down in Tampa and will miss a few weeks. He will be at third base though when he does join the team. Aaron Judge hasn’t signed yet but when he does he will also be on his way to Staten Island. He is a tall outfielder with a lot of power. I think it will be exciting to see these guys in action this season and the Staten Island Yankees have a chance for a good season. I may be covering these guys this year and then who knows in the next couple of year’s maybe I will see them in the majors with the New York Yankees.   

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