Aug 26

My brush with greatness ….

The year was 1998, the season of the great home run race and when the Yankees steamrolled through Major League Baseball. It was also the year Cal Ripken’s streak came to an end.

KENNEDY: My brush with greatness.

KENNEDY: My brush with greatness.


That was also my first year on the Yankees beat and I’ll always remember a flight I took from Boston to Washington. I was sitting in the exit row by a window reading a magazine when this man plopped down in the aisle seat. I recognized him immediately, and a few minutes later he extended his hand and said, “I’m Ted Kennedy.”

I said, “I know,” and introduced myself. A few minutes later, I told him, “in all fairness, I should tell you I’m a newspaper reporter.” I didn’t think it would be right for him to be ambushed the next day in the papers by something he might have said or done.

He appreciated the gesture and we began to chat. When I told him I covered baseball, he responded with stories of how his father, Joseph, took him and his brothers to games in Fenway Park. He then spoke of the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run race and Ripken.

I told him I once wrote a term paper my freshman year in college about him. I was a big liberal at the time.

Not once did we talk of politics or social issues. I figured he gets that all the time. I did want to tell him how touched I was about the eulogy he gave for his brother, Robert, but wasn’t sure if it would strike a sad nerve. I always wonder what he might have said had I brought it up.

It was a pleasant conversation. After awhile, he started reading some files and I returned to my magazine. We started talking again before the end of the flight, and when we landed we shook hands and went our separate ways.

I was surprised nobody bothered him during the flight and nobody approached him at the gate when we left the plane. A few days later, I sent him a note telling him how I enjoyed our conversation.

I told my editor of the meeting, and his response was a curt, “What in the hell were you doing in first class?”

Oct 16

Wright willing to help

Wright: Only an idiot would think of trading him.

Wright: Only an idiot would think of trading him.

David Wright said he wouldn’t lobby the Mets’ front office as to what free agents they pursue, but is willing to help out should he be asked.

“I stay out of the whole front-office decision making, who they go after, who they are trading for,” Wright said. “But if they ever came to me and asked me to speak to a free agent and show him around New York, I live there now, so I would be more than happy to do that.”

There are those who have foolishly suggested the Mets trade Wright, but he’s not going anywhere. He remains the face of the franchise.

I covered the Orioles for a long time and told him he reminds me of Cal Ripken in how the club promotes him. He said he was flattered, and like Ripken, wants to play his entire career with the Mets.

Quite simply, you don’t trade players like Wright.