NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the first time in 62 years, Nick Clarelli stepped onto the field at Yankee Stadium.
“Grass smells nice,” he said, taking in the view from the sacred ground that is playing field. “The last time I did this I was 19 years old.”
Clarelli was at the old Yankee Stadium in 1956 for a tryout that went so well, the Yankees wanted to sign him, reports CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.
The dimensions of the current stadium are similar to old Yankee Stadium, something Clarelli could recognize.
“Out there in right center field is the old Yankees bullpen,” he said. “As a kid with the batting machine, I put two in that bullpen.”
How’d he hit such a long way away?
“They must of moved the fence,” he said.
After seeing the Snap Shot video on the Bristal All-Stars Softball, a group of octogenarians playing baseball with Clarelli, Yankees team president Randy Levine and his wife, Mindy, extended an invite to see the stadium from new perspective.
The Yankees treated the group to VIP field passes, lobster rolls at the Legends suite and seats so close to the game, the players could hear you.
“On TV, it’s so little,” said Ernie Catanese, a fellow ballplayer on the Bristal All-Stars. “Out here you can see the whole ballgame.”
The group even got a bonus of seeing Gary Sanchez taking batting practice as he’s trying to return to the lineup.
Clarelli was offered a contract from the Yankees back in 1956 for $400 a month.
The stadium wasn’t the only thing that was different from what the teammates expected.
“I’m impressed by how big they all are,” Clarelli said about the athletes. “We’re all midgets here standing next to them.”
And while the fans were grateful, their spirit for the game stayed tough.
“I can’t thank Mrs Levine and Randy Levine enough,” said Clarelli “And let these Yankees start winning some ball games.”