New York Yankees-Virginia Tech Hokies
tuesday march 18, 2008 blacksburg, va.
Bronx ’Burg to the
New York City
MAGINE BEING IN THE FRONT YARD AS A YOUTH PLAYING baseball with your friends and family. You imitated your heroes and imagined that you’d be just like them, competing with and against some of the top ballplayers in the world. All aspiring young baseball players dream about it. Very few have that dream realized. Not all of the players on the Virginia Tech baseball team will reach the top level, but after Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees, they’ll get to say that they were able to play against a Major League club. And for a select number of Hokies, they will be on the field against a team that they have been devotedly following since early boyhood. One of those Hokies is sophomore catcher Anthony Sosnoskie, who grew up in Morrisville, Pa., just a few minutes away from Philadelphia. Although he lived in the Keystone State, his baseball love was in the Big Apple. “I remember wearing the Yankees hat backwards and catching with my d a d
when I was two years old while my brother was hitting,” he said. “I’ve just always been a Yankees fan when I was growing up.” Through the years, Sosnoskie has had many favorite Yankees, including first baseman Don Mattingly and outfielder Paul O’Neill. His all-time favorite is shortstop and current team captain Derek Jeter. However, as a catcher in high school at Notre Dame Academy in Front Royal and now as the Tech backstop, he also played close attention to the men behind the plate, such as Jorge Posada and present manager Joe Girardi. Sosnoskie has seen the Yankees in person, both on the road and at their fabled home park, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. “Once you walk into the stadium, it’s incredible,” he said. He’s been there three times, most recently in 2001. He also went to see them play at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles. There he got to sit near the Yankee bullpen and watch closer Mariano Rivera warm up. “He’s as good as advertised,” Sosnoskie said of Rivera, who has 443 career saves and is widely considered to be the greatest relief pitcher of all time. Rivera is the favorite player of sophomore Kyle Cichy, who is a relief pitcher himself. “I love watching him close out games,” the left-handed Cichy said. “You try to learn as much as you can from a guy like him.” Cichy, a native of Vineland, N.J., is anxiously awaiting the chance to meet the members of the team in person. “At first, you’re not going to know what to say,” he said. “If there are any questions we want to ask, they’re going to be baseball questions. We’re going to try and learn as much as we can from them. These guys are the best players that you’re going to see and they’re all my favorite players. I’m going to have my hands full.” Being from Chappaqua, N.Y. in Westchester County, redshirt senior cocaptain Sean O’Brien has certainly been exposed to the team in pinstripes.
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“Every day on the front page of the newspapers from March to October, because they were always in the playoffs, there was always Yankees stuff,” he said. O’Brien thought, grew up a fan of their biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox. Nevertheless, he never had complete disdain for the Yankees. “I was a Red Sox fan, but I was also a baseball fan,” he said. “Even when the Red Sox weren’t in town, my dad and I would go to Yankee Stadium and watch the games. We’re not Yankee haters. We still respect the Yankees and the way they play the game.” When his Hokies take to the diamond at English Field on Tuesday afternoon, O’Brien expects there to be a mixture of anxiety and excitement. “Obviously, you’re going to be shaking out there,” he said. “We’ll certainly be in awe of these guys. It’s going to be a great to see them take batting practice and to see what they have to tell us. Maybe will get some tips on how to do things. So, it’s going to be a great experience.” Playing against a group of big leaguers is one thing, but when a player gets to go toe-to-toe against his favorite team, that is a fantasy that turns into reality before their eyes. “I’m sure it’s special for a lot of people,” Cichy said. “But since I’m a Yankee fan, I’m really going to enjoy it.” — Brian Wright, CT sports staff
YOU WILL BE IN AWE TODAY — IT’S THE YANKEES TAMPA — Odds are that a sense of awe is going to invade English Field this afternoon. Really, how can it not? It’s not just any professional baseball franchise the Virginia Tech Hokies are playing host to at 3 p.m. — it’s the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have been the most successful team over the course of the lifespan of many Virginia Tech students. Heck, most of us can probably remember at least one of the Yankees’ four World Series titles won from 1996 to 2000. When you see those world-famous navy hats and New York written in all capital letters across the front of the jerseys the awe will start to build.
see AWE, page eight
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GATES OPEN: Noon YANKEES BATTING PRACTICE: 1 p.m. TECH BATTING PRACTICE: 2 p.m. FIRST PITCH: 3:06 p.m. GAME TIME: 3:10 p.m. TV: WDBJ 7 RADIO: 105.3 FM PARKING: There will be two bus routes transporting ticket holders from Perry Street and Burruss Hall from noon to 6 p.m. The routes will drop oﬀ on Washington Street. A second shuttle will be picking up handicap individuals at the Rec Field Parking Lot on Tech Center Drive. Parking lots to be closed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. include the Stadium Lot, the upper section of the Smithﬁeld Lot, the Track/Soccer Lot, the east side of the McComas Lot and the Horticulture Garden Lot. A portion of Duck Pond Drive will be closed to traﬃc from the intersection of Washington Street to the intersection of Southgate Drive from 1:15 p.m. to 6 p.m., or the end of the game. Drivers are encouraged to use Spring Road. At 4:30 p.m. the section of the road will reopen only to those driving southbound. Faculty and staﬀ who use the Vet-Med school lots and customers of the Vet Hospital will be the only drivers allowed to use the road during those hours. The portion of Washington Street that is currently closed will be open from 7 a.m. March 18 to 7 a.m. March 19. WHAT’S NOT ALLOWED: • tailgating • grills • alcoholic beverages or other beverages • noisemakers • signs • audio or video recording equipment • ﬁreworks or other explosives • large backpacks • coolers/containers • umbrellas • pets (Except for service animals)