Tony Pena is interviewing with the Yankees today. The team plans to make him available to the media and I’ll report back when that happens.
Could Pena emerge as a compromise choice? I doubt it. But I do know the Yankees are impressed with the work he has done over the last two seasons.
Meanwhile, here is my Tony Pena story:
I was covering college basketball in the 1990s for a paper in Connecticut when I volunteered to get off a plane to get a free ticket. I forgot I had the ticket and found the voucher one day, almost a year later.
To my chagrin, it expired in a month. It was late in the summer, too late to plan a vacation. So I decided to fly to Chicago and see two games on the same day then return the next morning. My girlfriend at the time thought I was insane.
So I flew to O’Hare, took the train to Wrigley Field and pounded Old Styles in the sun watching the Cubs. Then I hopped on the train to Comiskey Park and watched the Indians play the White Sox.
I got there early and the park was near empty. I walked up and got a seat that was pretty close to the field. Tony, Cleveland’s backup catcher at the time, was hanging out and I got his autograph on my program.
I explained to him what I had done that day and he thought it was great that I liked baseball so much. When he came back out again, he flipped me a ball. I can’t remember who won the games, but I remember it was great seeing 18 innings in two parks.
That ball is still on my desk. I told Tony my tale in spring training and he laughed. He’s still a good guy, always with a smile and a friendly word for everybody.