From Where I See It: Yankee Stadium

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Today, it’s easier than ever to watch a sporting event on TV. But despite that, the allure of being at a stadium to watch the action unfold live still very much exists. What is it that keeps bringing us back? Is it the atmosphere? Is it the people? Is it the food? Maybe it’s all of these things, and a few more that can’t quite be put into words. The Players’ Tribune wanted to get a closer look at the people surrounding sporting events who nobody comes to watch, but serve a vital role in creating the game-day experience.

This is ‘From Where I See It,’ and for our first entry, we wandered in and outside of Yankee Stadium to get stories from the people behind the scenes.

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Luis Martinez | Yankee Stadium Grounds Crew, 25 years 

“I was 19 when I started here. I was a cook for 10 years for the clubhouse and at the Pinstripe Pub in the old stadium. In August of 2000, I moved over to the grounds crew. So I’ve been on the grounds crew for 15 years.”

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Ron Forbes | Media Dining Cook, 7 years

“I worked at Verizon for many, many years, but food was always my passion. I’m always cooking at home. I retired at 49 and then went to culinary school. Now I have my dream job. I’ve been a Yankees fan since 1970! It never feels like I’m at work.”

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Teddy | Longtime Bronx Resident

“I’ve been a Yankee fan since 1974. I was a Mets fan before that, but I moved from Manhattan to the Bronx. My apartment is located right at Gate 2, so I can walk right to the stadium. I went to one game and it started raining like crazy. I mean it seemed like every cloud in New York had burst. Everyone was scrambling around getting wet and trying to catch a cab. And I just took my time walked right across the street and I was home.”

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Lucilo Barona | Yankee Stadium Housekeeping Attendant, 6 years

“I’m from the Dominican Republic, but I moved to the Bronx in 1973. I was a fan of the Yankees before I even came here. Yankee Stadium is so important to New York, and especially the community of the Bronx. We’re proud to work here.”

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Fran Mulvey | Media Dining Cook, 16 years

“Even though I was originally from Brooklyn, I’ve always been a Yankees fan. My father used to take me to Mets games growing up because they were closer to my home. As I got older, he said we could go over the bridge to ‘see how the other half lives.’ This is now my 16th season as an employee with the Yankees.

My favorite Yankee of all time is Tino Martinez. I always just liked watching him play. When I started working here, Louie Cucuzza, the equipment manager, asked me who my favorite player was, and three days later, Tino came to visit me. We became friends, and he’s still one of the sweetest, nicest people I’ve ever met. Even when he started playing for the Cardinals, he made sure to stop by to visit me during interleague play.”

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Ray Norberto | Securitas Supervisor (Press Gate/Press Box), 5 years

“The craziest game I’ve ever worked had to be in 2013. I was in a different location, I was at the Jim Beam Suites on the 300 level. We had a rain storm come through, and it came in so hard and so fast that they ended up canceling the game. We had barricades blowing sideways, and there were some fans sitting up in the 400 section, just hanging out. They were dancing around like it was nothing. And all of the sudden, a bolt of lightning hit right by the garage at the end of the block, and it shook the whole stadium! Those guys dancing around froze in their tracks and then just booked it out of the stadium.”

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Erick Capstick | Yankee Stadium Cameraman, 18 years

“Typically I’ll try to hit all four levels and both bleachers, because I like the fans to feel like the camera could show up anywhere.

“Mariano’s last appearance was one of the most memorable things I ever shot here. At the old stadium, I would wait by Monument Park and follow Mariano from the bullpen to the edge of the field. At the new park, it’s more difficult to get to the bullpen, but for his last appearance, they put me inside Monument Park, and when Mo walked by, I opened the door and followed him. Networks ended up using my footage. Funny thing is, there were these steps by the door that I had been told to look out for but completely forgot about. Thank God I didn’t wipe out on national TV! I never would have lived that down.”

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Paul Cartier | Yankee Stadium Organist, 12 years

“I started playing the organ when I was eight or nine years old. I remember coming to games with my father when I was a kid, and you’d see the green grass and hear the organ playing, and you knew you were at a professional ball game. I have to pinch myself when I think about the fact that I get to help keep that tradition alive. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get to follow in the footsteps of guys like Eddie Layton.

“During the game, there’s not much time for songs, just chants. You know, stuff like ‘Charge!’ and ‘Let’s go Yankees!’ I get 8-10 seconds at the end of each half inning, and in that time, I’ll usually try to play something to get the crowd going. In the second inning, they do the smile cam on the jumbotron, and I’ll try to play ‘Smile’ or ‘Put On A Happy Face.’ I don’t know if anyone makes the connection, but I know I do.”

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Francisco ‘Cisco’ Estevez | Securitas Team Leader (Field), 17 years

“My favorite Yankee in the 17 years I’ve worked here was Robinson Cano. He always made sure that he fist-bumped me before a game, and that made me feel special, you know?”

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Brian Richards | Yankee Stadium Museum Curator, 7 years

“I like telling stories about players who are a little less known than the big names. Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Jeter — everybody knows those names. But I like reflecting on the players who were big contributors but didn’t necessarily grab headlines. There’s a story we have up in the museum about Wilcy Moore. He was our ace reliever in 1927. Wilcy had 19 wins, 213 innings pitched and he actually led the league in ERA retroactively. But unfortunately, he hurt his arm pitching in the World Series that year and he was never quite the same again. However, for that one season, Wilcy’s contributions were just as big as Ruth or Gehrig or anybody else on that roster. I love talking about players like that.”

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Julio Eduarte | Securitas Team Leader (Press Box), 10 years

“Right before Jeter’s last at-bat in Yankee Stadium, I was standing right here and just thinking that this was his moment. I knew he was going to come up big. I knew he was going to do it for his fans. We aren’t allowed to cheer while we’re on the job, but when he got that hit, I cheered like crazy inside.”

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Tyler | Bronx Resident

“We play out here everyday. I live in the Bronx, but I don’t really go to a lot of games. I’m going to play in Yankee Stadium one day.”

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