Today my family and I were able to do something that maybe only comes along once in a lifetime. We were invited to the Steinerfest Champions Show hosted by Steiner Sports. Today featured the appearances by some of the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees.
As we turned the corner of the event looking for the parking garage we noticed the very long line of people waiting to get in. Today in NY the high temperature reached only 24 degrees, so that didn’t help when you had to wait outside. We parked the car and approached the end of the line. My wife called the person from Steiner Sports that we were supposed to meet and he met us outside with badges to get us inside the event. As we walked towards the doors and passed the hundreds of freezing fans waiting to get in I could only think of one word “Wow”.
Chris Console who does Marketing and Entertainment for Steiner Sports walked us by everyone and as we approached a young lady she handed my wife, my two children and myself gift bags compliments of Steiner Sports. Oh, but this was just the beginning of it all. We walked into the area where there were vendors selling all kinds of baseball memorabilia. As we walked around Mr. Console told us about Steiner Sports and how they do things with different teams and different players. Walking around I could see the long lines of fans waiting to meet some of the Yankees and get their autographs. The first Yankee we saw was centerfielder Brett Gardner. Mr. Console had left us for a few minutes only to return with two new baseballs for the kids so they could get Brett Gardner’s autograph. After Gardner signed the baseballs my kids were able to get a picture with him as well.
I then noticed pitched Andy Pettitte sitting at a table signing autographs. The line to see him was incredibly long. I then noticed pitcher Joba Chamberlain also signing autographs. Mr. Console walked over towards him and spoke to a few people standing around Joba and then he motioned to us. We were actually able to go right over to Joba and meet him. He signed my children’s baseballs and we took a picture with him. Once again the only word I could think of was “Wow”.
Mr.Console walked us around some more and showed us many different items and how authentic everything was that they sold. Everything from photographs, to items from old Yankee stadium like stadium seats and dirt from the field. He also showed us items from the old Giants Stadium that will be coming down soon. There were also some unbelievable items from some of the all-time Yankee greats.
We then braved the cold weather as we walked outside and across the street towards the Steiner Sports main office. Mr. Console brought us downstairs where they keep their inventory of all their items. I will tell you this. It was an unbelievable site to see. Baseballs, bats, bases, jerseys, footballs, helmets, photos, hockey sticks and so much more. But what was more impressive was how well organized everything was in the room. We walked around looking at all these items as Mr. Console continued to explain about how Steiner Sports operates. Of course as we walked through the warehouse my eyes went directly to anything Dallas related. Everything from signed helmets and signed photos. We also walked past some of the old chairs from the Cowboys old locker room. But what really caught my attention were the game worn jerseys hanging in one row. I noticed one with dirt and grass stains on it. Moving the jerseys around it to the side I noticed it was Tashard Choice’s jersey. Made me smile as I thought of him always being out there for the Cowboys doing whatever he could to gain yards to get the Cowboys first downs and touchdowns.
We moved on with the tour and saw the old NY Jets locker of Joe Namath that he also signed. We approached a room with a few people in it. Mr. Console went inside and motioned to us to come in. To my surprise pitcher AJ Burnett was in the room signing many different items for Steiner Sports. As we walked over to him another person was sitting next to him and he said hello to my son and shook his hand. Taking a second look I noticed that the person was rightfielder Nick Swisher. He went out of his way to talk to my kids and ask them how they were and what their names were. He just seemed like a lot of fun to be around. He signed my children’s baseballs and joked with my son because my sons school is actually having a raffle for a signed Swisher baseball. AJ Burnett was then nice enough to also sign the baseballs. I wished them good luck this season and we left. In the hallways of Steiner Sports were the most beautiful pictures of athletes that I have ever seen.
We then left the offices of Steiner Sports and back into the cold weather. We walked to our car and thanked Mr. Console for everything that he had done for us and told him what a great time we all had. Although my children my not fully appreciate what they had the opportunity to do today, we did try our best to explain it to them. We even stopped on the way home to buy baseball holders so that nothing would happen to our autographed baseballs. My family had it all today. Everything from learning about Steiner Sports and meeting some of the World Champion NY Yankees to getting what I call the royal treatment.
My thanks to Chris Console for taking the time to show us around and talk to us about the workings of Steiner Sports. He was great to my family and treated us very well. Also a word of thanks to Yankees Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, Nick Swisher and AJ Burnett for taking the time to meet us and giving us their autographs. I think I lost count today of how many times I said the word wow. Whether it was out loud or too myself. It was a day that I will never forget.
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