25 Random SPORTS Things About Phil
By Phil Bildner - February 18, 2009
More Posts by Phil Bildner
February 12, 2009
1. In college, I batted against Curt Schilling and Pete Harnisch, both prospects at the time in the Orioles organization. Needless to say, I didn’t do too well and was scared out of my mind. 2. In grade school, I took tennis lessons after school. Martina Navratilova and Dr Renee Richards practiced on the next court. 3. I have an NCAA Lacrosse Championship ring for Johns Hopkins University. In 1987, I was co-manager of the team. 4. In middle school/junior high, I used to do interviews with athletes for the school paper. I met Ron Darling in the Mets front office, Bob Bourne (Ken Morrow, John Tonelli, and Butch Goering) in the New York Islanders locker room (Bobby gave me his broken hockey stick), and played tennis at Marv Albert’s house. 5. I’ve thrown out the first pitch at two minor league baseball games. The first time I threw a perfect strike from the mound. The second time…let’s just say I would’ve had the batter chasing a slider away in the dirt. 6. For my tenth birthday party, I went with my friends to a New York Nets game. In the mail the next week, I got 8x10 autographs from the entire team – Super John Williamson, Rod Thorn, Nate Archibald, Jan Van Breda Kolf. 7. I was at the Knicks-Rockets playoff game the night of the O.J. Simpson white Bronco low speed chase. 8. During the Orioles 0-21 start of the 1987 season, I sat in the bleachers at Memorial Stadium with my friends and threw snowballs at Bo Jackson. 9. The coldest game I ever went to was the 1988 playoff game at Shea Stadium between the Mets and Dodgers. Kirk Gibson made the greatest catch I ever saw in person in left, and Jay Howell got thrown out the game by then National League President Bart Giamatti for having pine tar on his cap. 10. I’ve played baseball on the Field of Dreams in a cornfield in Dyersville, Iowa. I dropped the first fly ball hit to me. 11. I sat in Spike Lee seats at two Knicks games before they were Spike Lee seats. One game was against Moses Malone and the Sixers. The other was against Mark Eaton and the Jazz. During a timeout, Coach Frank Layden took my camera, handed it to referee Earl Strom, and took a photo with my buddy and I. 12. I saw Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins play for UNC at the ECAC Holiday Festival against Chris Mullins and the St. Johns Redman. 13. I’ve never been to a no-hitter. I had tickets for one (Wilson Alvarez in 1992), but didn’t go. I’ve seen one triple play. The Twins turned one against the Yankees. 14. I went to Dwight Gooden’s one-hitter (that was really a no-hitter) against the Cubs in 1985. 15. I sat first row for Super Bowl XL in Detroit. I also stayed in the same hotel as the Seattle Seahawks. After the game, I rode the elevator with Matt Hasselback. He looked like a kid who just had his puppy and bicycle stolen. 16. For my book The Greatest Game Ever Played, Alan Ameche’s daughter wrote me a thank you note. Her kids finally got to meet their grandfather through my words (he passed away while she was on her honeymoon. 17. I was at the Reggie Miller game in May of 1995 when he single-handedly beat the Knicks scoring 8 points in the last 9 seconds. 18. Roger Clemens threw the bat at Mike Piazza in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series. It was the only time I feared for my safety at the ballpark. 19. Only July 24th 1988, I went to Tom Seaver day at Shea Stadium with Jeff and John. My friend John (age 19) passed away of a heart attack a month later. 20. At my summer camp, the indoor facility had the floor from the old Boston Garden. Even though I was a shorty, I always crashed the boards. If a big man ever put the ball on the floor in the paint, I would steal it. It was one giant dead spot. 21. 40 of us attended the 2008 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. The tickets were courtesy of the NBA. They donated the tickets to our NY2NO students, a showing of appreciation for our volunteer efforts. 22. I was at the first inter-league game between the Yankees and Mets in 1997. Dave Mlicki blanked the Bombers in the Bronx. 23. The greatest basketball player I ever saw play live was Len Bias of the University of Maryland. 24. For my book, Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy, Hall of Famer Bob Feller left me an angry voicemail in response to the request that he blurb the book. Turns out, he wasn’t exactly a Joe Jackson advocate after all. 25. As a teacher in the Bronx, I took my students on a tour of Madison Square Garden. The went into the Knicks and Rangers locker rooms. The Rangers locker room has a carpet with hockey lines on it so the players can walk through plays.