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A Pleasant Spring Training Surprise

The New York Yankees called Fort Lauderdale Stadium their Spring Training home from 1962 through 1995. Fort Lauderdale was a cool place to be in those days. Thousands of college students lined the beach, sailors painted the town in their uniforms, and a movie was even made about the Yankees starring Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford.

And it was sometime during the first decade of George Steinbrenner´s tenure that a Yankees fan had one of the luckiest days of his life. When he got the call that he would have the day off, he jumped in his 1967 GTO and headed for Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

This was not a mint condition GTO, mind you. It had a good paint job. But it had no door panels, no carpet and no muffler. It did start right up, though. And when it did, you could hear the engine growl from a block away. On the front of the GTO, the license plate read: Yankees Fan Dan.

Most of the Yankees Spring Games were sold out then, and with the opponent being the Mets, Yankees Fan Dan knew his chances of getting a ticket were slimmer than none. But he had to try.

When he got to the stadium, the grandstand and bleachers were all sold out. He walked all over the parking lot trying to find a scalper. But he had no luck. As he headed back to his car, he noticed that an additional advance ticket window had been opened, the sign said ¨Future Games Only,¨so he decided to stop and get a couple of tickets to upcoming games. That way not all would be lost.

To this day, he still can´t  believe what happened next. The guy at the window leaned forward and said softly, ¨Would you like to have a ticket to today´s game? It´ll be ten bucks!¨

But that was only the start. Inside the stadium, he checked his seat and row numbers to the numbers on each row. As he did, he got closer and closer to the field. Finally, there was his seat, a box seat on the corner of the Yankees dugout! Just a few minutes before he wasn´t getting in. Now, he was sitting right in front of the field!

 Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

 

When the Yankees ran in from their positions to the dugout, it was like they were running straight to him. When they came out of the dugout to go to the on deck circle, they passed right in front of him. They were so close that he could have reached out and touched them.

After the game, he stayed to watch the Yankees do sprints in the outfield. Then he waited with other fans outside the players parking area to try to get some autographs.

Sometimes life puts you in a losing streak. It seems like one bad break happens after another. But then one beautiful day comes along that makes it all worth it. And as Yankees Fan Dan got back into his GTO, he felt like he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

Tags: Fort Lauderdale Stadium George Steinbrenner New York Yankees News Spring Training

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