Vinny Milano is one of the most recognized fans in the baseball world. He is one of the fans at the center of the Yankees Bleacher Creatures.
When it comes to fans, Vinny Milano has seen it all and is recognized as one of the biggest. Bleacher Report's Featured Columnist, Chris Chavez, had the opportunity to interview one of baseball's biggest fans fixated in the tradition of one of the finest teams in baseball, the New York Yankees.
Chavez: Hey Vinny, tell readers a bit about where you are from and what made you become a Yankee fan?
Bald Vinny: I was born and raised on Long Island. Both of my parents worked when I was a kid, so I spent many days at my Grandmother’s house. My Aunt and Uncle both lived at home (my Dad’s brother and sister) and they got me into the Yankees.
Chavez : Much accreditation is given to Ali Ramirez as the founder of the Bleacher Creatures. Did you ever meet Ali and what are your thoughts on the legendary man?
Bald Vinny: I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Ali. He passed before I got to the bleachers.
Chavez: You are the Bleacher Creature that starts the role call at the beginning of every game. How much of an honor is that as you have now become part of Yankees tradition?
Bald Vinny: I’m still incredibly flattered when people say we are part of Yankee tradition. Really, we are just a group of passionate fans that like to yell real loud. The fact that roll call has taken on it’s own life is really amazing. The interaction we get with players on the field is unlike any other sport and that is what keeps it going every day.
Chavez: In 2002, David Cone went out to Section. 39 and sat with the creatures for the home opener at Yankee Stadium. What was your initial impression of the man and what was it like sitting with ‘royalty’?
Bald Vinny: It was pretty hectic that day, cause everyone was clamoring for an autograph. We let Cone start the roll call, and prior to the game I told him that if he got to start roll call, that he had to make it possible for me to throw out the first pitch at a game! He took my number, but I never heard back from him on that.
Chavez: What was it like getting beer back to the Bleachers in 2009 after having a ban for almost a decade?
Bald Vinny: I don’t drink, so it didn’t matter much to me, but it certainly helped get some of the old atmosphere back to the section. People tend to be a LOT more passionate when they’ve had a few!
Chavez: Who are some of the people that sit with the Bleacher Creatures consistently and could you please describe their roles?
Bald Vinny: The only other people that have defined “roles” in our group are Tina (the queen) and Milton (the cowbell guy). Tina is one of the longest standing members in the bleachers, and is considered by most of us to be the unofficial “boss”. She keeps an eye on the section to make sure no one is giving us a bad name. Milton rings the cowbell, and helps get the fans up and making noise. The rest of the crew are dedicated, loyal fans….not everyone has a gimmick!
Chavez: Nick Swisher has his salute to you guys, Damon use to drop down on one knee and point at the Creatures. Who had the most creative salutation during your time with the Bleacher Creatures? Also, will Johnny Damon be called in his first game as a visitor with Detroit? It was done to Boomer Wells and Alfonso Soriano, why not Damon?
Bald Vinny: Damon originated the “custom roll call response” and is considered by me to be one of my favorites. We will certainly shout him out once (and only once) when he returns to the BX. We do it often for players we like/feel like we have a connection to. It amazes me that when players leave they often mention roll call as being something they will miss about playing in NY. Its incredibly flattering.
Chavez: During the final game at the House That Ruth Built, you were aired on television. How emotional of a game was it and what was your favorite memory from that final game?
Bald Vinny: We wore the tuxedos to the All-Star Game, not the final game. The last night was about being with friends and taking it all in one last time. I have been to over 800 games in the old park, and the final game was the only time I brought a camera. That night was about creating memories, and I’ll never forget the good (amazing) times I had in that building
Chavez: What was your favorite memory at the old Yankee Stadium?
Bald Vinny: Way too many to pick from so I’ll give a few. Well’s Perfect Game, Boone’s home run, the 2001 World Series, the All-Star Game (and HR derby) and throwing out the first pitch at a playoff game are all memories of the old stadium that I will cherish forever
Chavez: How long did it take for you to start to call the House That George Built home?
Bald Vinny: Not very long. It only took a couple of weeks to get into the swing of things and get a new routine down. Once I got used to the building, it felt pretty familiar pretty quickly. Winning it all in 2009 certainly helped, too.
Chavez: You were called the most loyal fans that any team could want. Yet, you said that you were thinking of not moving into the new stadium. You loyalty was tested and you had your doubts. You said, “I have zero faith that anyone that works with or is involved with the Yankees actually cares one way or another if any of us go to the new stadium. Personally, I'm not even sure that I will make the move.” Do you take back those words one year and one World Series Championship later?
Bald Vinny: We retained our section through the hard work of two people on our side and through a representative from the ticket department. We went after them, not the other way around. They were kind enough to work with us and help us relocate. Like most fans, I did not see the need for a new ballpark (still don’t) and I was not happy about the move. Like most people, my opinion on it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. They moved, we followed. Not much of a big deal to make there.
Chavez: What is your favorite chant?
Bald Vinny: the Horse’s Ass Song
Chavez: According to the Creatures , who is the most hated player to ever play at Yankee Stadium?
Bald Vinny: It really depends on the creature, I guess. I bet half of the people you would ask would probably name former Yankees as the most hated!
Chavez: What player would you like to visit Section 203 at some point in the near future?
Bald Vinny: Anyone who wants to join us is a welcomed addition in my book
Chavez: What advice can you give to other Yankee fans in order for them to love the team as much as you do?
Bald Vinny: Just be passionate about your team and no matter how crappy they play, never EVER give up on your team
It was a pleasure to have you as a guest for Bleacher Report. I wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors. It was an honor to get to know you.
*This article was featured on MTR Media's Yankees Website, Bomber's Banter , and is written by the same author Christopher Chavez.