Hey folks. It’s been a while since you heard from me. When not making my superhero turn to swoop in and save Sam from the evil wretches of the golfing universe, “I’m probably doing this.”:http://sixthman.lohudblogs.com
The reason I’m checking in this afternoon is because I wrote a story for today’s paper you may want to check out. “I spent about three hours one morning before practice last week hanging with the Rangers equipment managers in an otherwise off-limits area at the MSG Traning Center.”:http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070213/SPORTS01/702130377/1034/SPORTS You can read the story there, “but you can also see a number of pictures in our gallery.”:http://jukebox.lohud.com/photos/index.php?section=sports&date=2007-02-12
I pass this along because I genuinely believe this is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done in my job, and I’ve covered NLCS and ALCS games, the U.S. Open (golf and tennis), and world championship boxing matches in New York and Atlantic City. The equipment guys Ã¢â‚¬â€ Acacio “Cass” Marques and James “Beets” Johnson Ã¢â‚¬â€ really welcomed me into their workshop, which gave a fascinating look into the sheer volume of gear the Rangers keep in their possession. You’ll see it all in the pictures: sweaters galore, socks, jocks, Under Armour, helmets, gloves. You name it, they had it, and they had every different brand. In fact, I’d estimate the team could outfit more than 200 EXTRA players with the amount of gear it has on hand.
Beets, the son of a sportswriter from Virginia, Minnesota, was especially welcoming. I figure he must understand how important access is to a reporter Ã¢â‚¬â€ although he does drink a lot of coffee and probably has the boundless energy to talk to anyone. I asked him at one point: “How many cups of coffee do you drink each day? Five?” His response was classic, twinged with a Minnesota accent: “Ah, yah. Before noon.”
That was my other impression. Not only to these guys have much more at their desposal than you’d expect, but they work like crazy to keep the Blueshirts on the ice and to keep them happy. They arrive in Greenburgh around 7 a.m. each day before practice. If it’s a game day, they’ll pack up the truck and head down to the Garden around 2 p.m. After the game, they pack the truck back up and drive back to Westchester, arriving at some point between 11 p.m. and midnight. All they have to do then is unpack the truck AGAIN and hang the gear in their drying room before going home. That’s an 18-hour day. And Cass will be back sharpening skates at 7 a.m. the next morning. Makes you understand all the coffee.
Anyway, you can find out a lot more in the story. I know you’ll love the pictures, too, so make sure to check them out. (One not in the gallery is that of Shanny’s All-Star jersey, which hangs in the locker with all the other jerseys. I thought it looked more contoured in person compared to the current sweater than it looks on TV.)
If you see anything in the pics or the story you have more questions about, let me know and I’ll get back to you at some point.