Posted at 7:29 PM on April 10, 2007
by David Zingler
At about 5:45 pm on Tuesday night, Derek Jeter finished batting practice and headed to the visitor’s dugout. On his way, however, the Yankee superstar made a pit stop and handed his bat into the waiting hands of 5-year-old Riley Larson of Cottage Grove, who was leaning over the first row railing.
“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” his excited father, Bill Larson explained moments later. “When you are sitting at Yankee Stadium, you are ten people deep...fortunately enough, we have two kids that are 5 and 3...and the Yankees like young kids.”
Larson, unlike many of the Minnesota-bred wannabes in attendance, is a real Yankee fan. The Westchester, NY native looks forward to this series every year. “Unfortunately (the Yankees) only play three games (in Minnesota),” he pointed out. “I brought (the kids) tonight, I’ll bring Mom and Dad tomorrow. That’s how it works.”
This won’t be the only time this year the life-long fan sees his favorite team play in person however, “We have a bunch of buddies that have season tickets (at Yankee Stadium),” Larson commented. “They gladly give them to us when we get out there.”
As Riley and his 3-year-old brother, Logan, played tug of war with the valuable piece of lumber, I asked Bill what would become of the bat. “Dad’s going to get the bat,” he laughed. “It’s going up on a mantle somewhere. (Riley) can enjoy it for the next 20 minutes, after that it’s Dad’s.”