Taking fire from Joe Girardi
The Yankees had a terrific idea this morning, as Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi and Jason Zillo invited the beat writers to come out to a place called ‘Jungle Games‘ in Lutz, Fla., and take part in a little paintball fun with the coaching and support staff. I’d never played paintball before, but it sounded fun, so why not?
It really was a great time. I wish I had taken better mental notes during the whole thing, but when you’re ducking for cover while you take enemy fire, the reporter notebook tends to close a little bit. I was one of the team captains and my first-round selection was Chad Jennings, only because I know enough to surround myself with someone who looks like they know what they’re doing.
Mick Kelleher had the same idea. He took Kevin Long – wearing a bandanna and war paint – with the first pick, and then scooped up Joe Girardi with the second. We were off. (Yes, there is video of all of this. The YES Network was there recording us for an upcoming Yankees Magazine segment.)
The course was really neat, littered with hollowed-out, paint-splattered old cars and vans that you could use for cover. In one of the war games, we played a little something like Capture The Flag – the objective was to run to a gasoline jug on the far end of the course, pick it up and carry it to the enemy ‘base,’ all under heavy fire.
With Mark Feinsand set up as a sniper, we were making good progress, and I was about 100 feet away from the jug when my gun suddenly jammed. Unable to get a shot off, I told Jennings I was a dead man anyway and decided to make a run for it.
I took off and hit the ground in a figure-four slide, skidding into the jug like it was second base.
Snatching it in my left hand, gun in my right, I popped up to take off on a sprint to the promised land, thinking this silly plan might just have a chance.
Then I saw Girardi spring up from behind a car.
BLAM. BLAM. BLAM.
Two bullets to the chest and one head-shot later, my tour of duty was over. My parting gift? “Nice slide, Hochy.”