Bob Sheppard would like to dine at "Sheppard's Place"
I assume it came across in my interview with him, but just in case you were wondering, Bob Sheppard still sounds good, and remains extremely sharp mentally.
It was no shock for him to tell MLB.com Wednesday and Newsday Thursday that he does not expect to be back on the job as the Yankees' p.a. voice; he has been inching toward accepting that reality for many months now.
What did shock me was him admitting he turned 99 last month. I'm not sure, but I might be the first reporter to whom he ever has divulged his age - or at least the first in many decades.
In the early 1990s I wrote a short profile of him focusing on his announcing duties at St. John's basketball games and made the mistake of speculating about his age.
Sheppard got about as mad as he gets in reaming me out the next day.
Anyway, when I pressed him on whether he might visit the new stadium in 2010, he seemed particularly curious about "Sheppard's Place," the press box dining area named in his honor.
I assured him the food and ambience were a big upgrade from the old basement dining area across the street. He joked he would eat there if the price were right.
When I suggested the Yankees might be willing to comp him, he said they should, after all the money they made in 2009.
(I was paraphrasing in that last sentence. I'd give you the exact quote, but my laptop fell when I tripped over the power cord at my brother-in-law's house Thursday, causing the computer to crash to the ground and five years worth of interviews, articles and emails to disappear forever. At least I have my health. For now.)
Photo: Newsday/Paul J. Bereswill