I had never been to New York City but had it on my bucket list of things to do before I turned thirty…so a month before my 30th birthday, Mark surprised me with a trip to NYC for spring break. We checked off of our list all the typical tourist attractions: the Statue of Liberty, a view of Manhattan from the top of the Rock, a carriage ride through central park…but Mark’s most anticipated event of the week was taking in a ball game at Yankee Stadium. We had bleacher seats in center field directly adjacent to the batter’s eye which, Mark quickly explained, is an empty area that provides a visual backdrop in the line of sight of the batter that allows the batter to see the pitched ball against a sharply contrasted background. He also informed me that if a homerun were to be hit into this area, he would have no qualms about hopping the fence to retrieve the ball, even if it meant being kicked out of the stadium. “If that happens, we WILL be on TV,” he stated emphatically. Now comes the part of the story that he and I remember quite differently…The Yankees were trailing the Orioles 7-3 in the fifth inning. It was pretty chilly and with the home team so far behind, Mark suggested that we leave after the 7th inning stretch. I was fine with that, considering my fingertips and toes were numb, in APRIL for goodness sakes…not a balmy tropical style spring break that elementary school teachers long for…So soon after we swayed and sang about “peanuts and crackerjacks,” we went on our merry way back to the subway and continued our sight-seeing adventure in Manhattan. Later that night, we were back at the home of our friend, Terrence, when we caught the tail end of the game on ESPN. A-Rod had hit a walk-off grand slam straight into the batter’s eye to win the game…and plain as day on TV, was the man who had been sitting directly behind us that had taken a photo of us just hours earlier. Of course, Mark never let me live this down, telling and re-telling the story dozens of times… “In the 5th inning, Erin started complaining how cold she was…”


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