Results tagged ‘ Babe Ruth ’

“Bronx Bombers” brings the Yankees to Broadway

The cast of "Bronx Bombers." (Photo: Joan Marcus)

The cast of “Bronx Bombers.” (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Over the weekend, while the rest of New York was gearing up for a Super Bowl that didn’t quite live up to the hype, I had the pleasure of catching a matinee performance of the new “Bronx Bombers” play at the Circle in the Square theatre. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the performance very much; moving the Bronx to Broadway is no easy task, but they’ve succeeded.

The play opens in Yogi Berra’s (Peter Scolari) suite at the Boston Sheraton in June 1977, the day after Billy Martin (Keith Nobbs) pulled Reggie Jackson (Francois Battiste) from a nationally televised game against the Red Sox. All of Boston seems to be talking about what happened in the Yankees’ dugout yesterday afternoon, and Yogi is nervously pacing, rattling off the greatest hits from the catalogue of Yogi-isms. He’s hoping he can broker peace between Reggie and Billy before George Steinbrenner gets involved; good luck with that.

Reggie and Billy are at it again. (Photo: James Leynse)

Reggie and Billy are at it again. (Photo: James Leynse)

Thurman Munson (Bill Dawes) is the first player to arrive in the suite, and he’s terrific – the captain is instantly recognizable, cracking wise about his aching knees and sour about his own issues with Reggie. Martin soon enters the room, rage flooding the room in a southern drawl. He’s shading his eyes with dark sunglasses and a cowboy hat, sneaking the occasional airline bottle into his coffee cup. Finally there’s Reggie, dressed head to toe in red polyester swiped from the ’70s. His strut instantly owns the room, fully in the heart of his “magnitude of me” years, months away from hitting the three homers that will cement his legacy in pinstripes.

You’ve become a fly on the wall in the history books. They’ve clearly done a lot of research to incorporate realistic portrayals of the players’ personalities, and if you’re familiar with those back stories, you’ll appreciate many little easter eggs.

The Yankees are falling apart and Yogi is terrified that Steinbrenner will fire Martin, he tells his wife, Carmen (Tracy Shayne). That soon leads Yogi – and us – into a wonderful dream sequence that is a highlight of the play. Forget time and space: imagine if you could have put all of the greatest Yankees legends in the same room. What would they say to each other? How would they interact?

Life is a party for The Babe. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Life is a party for The Babe. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Your imagination runs wild at that possibility, and clearly the writers had a lot of fun with it too.

An all-time lineup joins Yogi and Carmen for dinner — Babe Ruth (C.J. Wilson, playing the fur-coat clad Bambino larger than life), Lou Gehrig (John Wernke, channeling the Iron Horse’s strength and pain), Joe DiMaggio (an aloof, impeccably dressed Chris Henry Coffey), Mickey Mantle (Dawes, spot-on as the muscled-up, hard-living Mick), Elston Howard (Battiste) and even Derek Jeter (Christopher Jackson).

It’s great fun. I won’t spoil the rest for you. If those names mean anything to you, you’ll want to see it for yourself!

“Bronx Bombers” is now in previews at the Circle in the Square Theatre (West 50th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue). For ticket information, visit bronxbombersplay.com or call 212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250. 

 

Birthplace of The Babe

BabeRuthMuseum.jpgBefore Thursday’s game in Baltimore, I had the opportunity to visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, which is something I’ve wanted to do for years while on the Yankees beat. I’m so glad I finally made it over there.

Just a short walk from Camden Yards at 295 Emory Street, the museum is built on the site of the row house where The Babe joined us on Feb. 6, 1895, at the time the rented home of Ruth’s grandparents. The history of the building alone is a neat tale – by the 1960s, it had fallen into disrepair and was scheduled to be razed before public outcry saved it.
The sections of the home where the Babe would have taken his first breaths have been restored with period decorations, including the upstairs bedroom where Ruth was born. 
The rest of the museum is a tribute to Ruth’s life, including many artifacts donated by his family over the years, like a pair of bats he used during the 1927 season, original seats from the reserved section at Yankee Stadium and even a radio Ruth treasured in his New York apartment until his passing in 1948. 
There are some amazing artifacts that somehow survived over the years, like the tattered gloves Ruth wore playing ball as a youth (in addition to his fielder’s glove, he also got behind the plate with a right-handed catcher’s mitt, which he used Jim Abbott-style) and what may be his first-known autograph – “George H. Ruth, World’s Worse (sic) Singer, World’s Best Pitcher,” scribbled on the inside cover of a hymnal book found under a floorboard at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore. 
Special thanks are in order for Mike Gibbons, the museum’s executive director, who took a few minutes out of his busy day to help show me around. If you’re planning on heading down to Baltimore the next time the Yankees are in town, you’ll definitely want to set aside some time to drop by the Ruth birthplace, as well as the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards

On this date in 1923…

Yankee Stadium became The House that Ruth Built.

Fitting, perhaps, that the Yankees will be in Ruth’s home town of Baltimore for the weekend, opening a three-game series with the Orioles. While they’re there, some of the reporters who cover the Yankees are heading over to the Babe Ruth Museum for a tour.

If you’ve never headed down I-95 to ‘invade’ Oriole Park at Camden Yards, let’s just say that there are plenty of Yankees fans who do. You should definitely put this one on your travelogue. It’s a great ballpark and the Inner Harbor is quite nice for walking, shopping and eating, especially on a day as nice as this one.

Here are the pitching matchups for this series:

Friday: Phil Hughes, RHP @ Daniel Cabrera, RHP (0-0, 5.94)
Saturday: Ian Kennedy, RHP (0-1, 8.74) @ Brian Burres, LHP (1-1, 5.40)
Sunday: Andy Pettitte, LHP (2-1, 3.38) @ Steve Trachsel, RHP (1-2, 5.65)

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