Podium-palooza in New York

Originally Published: January 11, 2005
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

Snow was in the forecast in New York on Tuesday, but baseball filled the back and front pages on a day when both the Mets and Yankees unveiled superstars.

Carlos Beltran
Omar Minaya adds the centerpiece to his reshaped franchise in Carlos Beltran.

10:56 a.m.: WFAN, the Mets' flagship station, breaks away from a briefing by Jets coach Herman Edwards to begin coverage of the Carlos Beltran press conference. After all, the Jets are only in the NFL playoffs; Beltran, on the other hand, might help the Mets conquer New York -- and then the world.

11 a.m.: The Yankees' network, YES, ignores the Beltran press conference, replaying the Yankees' season-opener from 1998. Twenty-five television cameras are aligned at Shea Stadium and about 200 media members are waiting. The Mets serve pepper steak, chicken parmesan and pasta.

11:07 a.m.: Carlos Beltran steps into the room. Wearing pinstripes.

11:13 a.m.: The first question for Beltran comes in Spanish -- and it relates to the Yankees.

Big Apple bonanza
  • Unit era begins with apology
  • Beltran: "I couldn't be happier"
  • Olney: Signing day for Mets, Yanks
  • Klapisch: New York star wars
  • Crasnick: Challenge for Randolph
  • Baseball America trade analysis
  • Vote: New York state of mind
  • Mets work on Delgado meeting
  • Big Unit gets testy with cameraman
  • Johnson off to rough start ESPN Motion
  • Crasnick: Hard hit for Astros
  • Kurkjian: Playoff payoff for Beltran
  • Olney: Gorged Steinbrenner?
  • Olney: Offseason scorecard
  • Fantasy spin: Beltran sill elite
  • 11:20 a.m.: Beltran shows he understands the subtleties of playing in New York. "When you do well, people love you. When you play bad, people boo you." With proud agent Scott Boras beaming; his wife, Jessica, alongside, Beltran dons a Mets uniform: No. 15.

    Noon: Randy Johnson and Yankees executives have reservations at Fresco By Scotto in Manhattan. The Yankees pick up the tab. On his way to Yankee Stadium, the Big Unit will pass under a bold new marquee. (WELCOME TO NY, RANDY JOHNSON).

    12:43 p.m.: In the Bronx, the buffet line opens for reporters at Yankee Stadium. Fried chicken tenders, egg rolls, fried shrimp.

    1:33 p.m.: The third batch of shrimp is rolled out. And Randy Johnson arrives at Yankee Stadium. Twenty-eight cameras are in place, along with about 200 media members.

    1:55 p.m.: Johnson signs his new Yankees contract.

    Randy Johnson
    Yankees president Randy Levine helps Johnson with his new pinstripes.

    2:10 p.m.: Amid bursting strobes, Johnson walks into the press room, his chin and cheeks clean-shaven ... wearing a pinstriped suit.

    2:15 p.m.: Standing in front of perhaps the world's largest Yankees logo, Johnson pulls on jersey No. 41. There are no altercations with cameramen, and Johnson repeatedly apologizes for his incident Monday. "Again, I'd first like to reiterate, the situation yesterday was unprofessional ... Hopefully, it's water under the bridge."

    2:28 p.m.: Johnson has another verbal spat with the same reporter from Monday's incident.

    2:33 p.m.: The shrimp is gone; Johnson finishes at the microphone. As usual, the Yankees, instead of the Mets, have the last word. But will it last?

    Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," is a New York Times best seller and can be ordered through HarperCollins.com.

    Buster Olney | email

    Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine