ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Everybody's checking in with their Yankee Stadium memories, but here's one you're not going to hear anywhere else.
You know how former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani spends more time in Yankee Stadium than some of the box seats?
Well, before the first game of the 2002 playoffs, Los Angeles Angels bench coach Joe Maddon -- now generating a few stories as the manager who turned the Tampa Bay Rays around -- approached. But not necessarily to see Guiliani.
Maddon's motive: He went to high school with Judith Nathan, who was Giuliani's girlfriend at the time and now wife.
"Graduated together in 1972 in Hazelton, Pa.," Maddon says. "Her mom and my mom were buddies. I'm not saying we were great friends in high school. ..."
"I walked toward him and go to introduce myself and the goons started coming over and said, 'Hey, slow down!'" Maddon says. "I said, 'I just want to introduce myself to Mr. Giuliani.'"
So he did, told the mayor he was from Hazelton and Giuliani replied, "Hey, that's where Judy's from." Maddon told him they went to high school together and he just wanted to say hello, and Giuliani said she was running late and should be there in about 15 minutes.
Maddon didn't get to see her that night, nor has he seen her since.
That's one of his Yankee Stadium memories, but not the most vivid. No, that came in August, 1963.
"My dad took me with my Uncle Pete and Hank Toth to a Yankees-White Sox game," Maddon says. "The Yankees won 3-0, Whitey Ford pitched, Johnny Blanchard hit a home run, we exited out the center field gate by the monuments and when we walked outside my dad asked if I wanted a hat.
"I said yes, and I chose the St. Louis baseball Cardinals hat. That's the year I became a Cardinals fan. St. Louis Blues, Hawks, football Cardinals, even the St. Louis Billikens for awhile.
"All from that hat."
Likes: Been a lot of fun to watch baseball fans develop a crush on the Tampa Bay Rays here during the past week. ... The New York Times coverage of the closing of Yankee Stadium, including reminiscences Sunday from singer Paul Simon, director Penny Marshall and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, among others. ... Also, the memories of two of the Times' terrific, long-time baseball writers, Jack Curry and Tyler Kepner. ... Another W for the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High football team, this one 49-21 over New Boston Huron on Friday night. The mighty Falcons are 4-0, and all of those young sophomores they're starting are gaining some experience.
Dislikes: So many teams are fading that there's little drama shaping up during the season's final week. Milwaukee, Minnesota, the White Sox, Arizona ... just one of those years.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Hey Frank won’t you pack your bags
"And meet me tonight down at Liberty Hall
"Just one kiss from you my brother
"And we’ll ride until we fall
"We’ll sleep in the fields
"We’ll sleep by the rivers and in the morning
"We’ll make a plan
"Well if you can’t make it
"Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive
"If you can
"And meet me in a dream of this hard land"
-- Bruce Springsteen, This Hard Land