“We’re moving to a new facility, but we’re bringing all the good memories to the new facility, so hopefully it will be fine,” Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera was saying to The Observer Monday night.
“We’re not moving that far, you know; a few blocks, a block, just half a block.”
Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton went deep 28 times in the first round of the Home Run Derby earlier in the evening, shattering Bobby Abreu’s single round record, and now the stars of Major League Baseball were scattered around town helping people market products that were tied to the ‘All-Star Week’ events.
“I was able to watch and everything was beautiful,” Mr. Rivera said of hosting the All-Star events at Yankee Stadium.
“The crowd was awesome, and I think it was a great festivity for the city of New York.”
But now Mr. Rivera had traded in his pinstripes for an icy teal dress shirt and black dress pants, and had joined Angels outfielder Torii Hunter chatting with reporters on a purple carpet at the Pink Elephant on West 27th Street.
(Around the corner, Derek Jeter was hosting a Nike event at Marquee.)
The next night he was to play under the leadership of Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Awkward, no?
No, in fact, it wasn’t awkward, Mr. Rivera told The Observer. Then, somewhat cryptically: “It’s his opportunity.”
There’s no clause in his contract about partying with Red Sox rivals, Mr. Rivera said.
“It’s a game,” he said. “We realize that.”
(Mr. Francona led the American League to its 12th straight All-Star game win.)
The DJ for the evening, who performs as PS1, predicted that the end of the affair would find “Mariano Rivera dancing on top of the tables,” but after gamely putting in his 30 minutes, the boldfaced closer was seen leaving the Pink Elephant.
Projecting a little more energy was Mr. Hunter, who didn’t play that day.
“I was actually kickin’ back, kind of getting away from baseball for a bit,” the slugger, dressed nattily in a bespoke royal purple velvet jacket, told The Observer. “I’m looking forward to tonight, I think we’re gonna have some fun, get a chance to listen to some good lyrics, and shake a little booty.”
Yankee fan and DJ PS1 explained what was on tap—it seems there was a whole philosophy at work!
“The rap scene today is dying out,” he said; what the scene needs is someone new, “to refresh the game.”
“More upbeat electro is replacing it,” he said. “House music.”
And he wasn’t too impressed with the new Nas album, which was slated to hit stores the next morning.
“He’s too political,” the DJ said. “His new stuff is really too political to me. And the club won’t even dance to it.”
He had an eager pupil in Mr. Hunter.
“Now it’s more about what you got on your wrists, $100,000 on your wrists, everybody can afford that,” he said. “It’s about the Bentleys, it’s about what you have. And the kind of flossing, and talking and taunting a little bit.”
But Mr. Hunter disagreed with the DJ about whether the stuff was danceable.
“They have good beats, good dance music!” he said.
(Hip-hop artist Talib Kweli was there to provide some live music; he blew through a brief set sporting a Led Zeppelin T-shirt. And the club danced to it.)
Mr. Hunter, who is staying in the Hudson Hotel, said he was spending his time in New York shopping, walking, and “drinking a lot of water today.”
“In California they’re more laid back and chill, out here it’s more of a fast pace,” he said. “But in Minnesota, it’s cold.”
He also had something to say, as everyone in New York seems to these days, about Willie Randolph.
Randolph “brought the Yankee style to the Mets, about shaving the hair and things like that,” he said. “Under Jerry Manuel’s watch they have facial hair, they’re more laid back, and they’re winning. So it probably was a tight clubhouse, and I think the chemistry is there now. A relaxed atmosphere creates winning.”
And though he certainly doesn’t describe the Angels clubhouse as stuffy, it’s not exactly “relaxed” either.
“Oh man, these guys are crazy!” Mr. Hunter said. “You might come to your clubhouse and there might be a snake in your locker. We have guys who will burn your shoelaces, who will put superglue on the bottom of your shoe.”
“We have fun and it creates winning,” he said.