Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Levine, Rahul Drabid, and Minaya talk Cricket

The first time I ever heard of Cricket was when I saw a movie called Return to Paradise. It was a film that was done in a beautiful island off the coast of India.

The reason I watched that film at that time was because the film’s star was my Hollywood hero Gary Cooper.

Ironically I fell in love with baseball because of Cooper’s depiction of Lou Gehrig in the classic film… The Pride of the Yankees. Then I would see Cooper swing a Cricket bat in Return to Paradise and got fascinated by the sport of cricket.
When I lived in Springfield Gardens I use to watch the West Indian and Pakistani guys play the sport and I would always say that I would stick to baseball because I liked the game of Cricket but I felt like a complete spastic every time I tried to play.

Recently I ran into Omar Minaya and our Team President Randy Levine talking with Rahul Drabid who is the manager of the National Indian Cricket team. They were having a fascinating conversation about how big Cricket was getting in America. I was shocked to hear about the attendance numbers at the matches. When Mr. Drabid said that they sometimes get 100 thousand fans at their matches I was really surprised.

This past Sunday driving through the Meadowbrook Parkway towards Yankee Stadium was unusually heavy. I was wondering why so bad on a Sunday. My curiosity had me check with Omar only to find out that the same National Cricket team was playing in Eisenhower Park. The reason I called Omar was because as kids we used to play our baseball games there. Omar would tell me that a Stadium for Cricket and Soccer had been built there.

The fact that Omar and YES Network executive Jared Boshnack who happens to be V. P. Of Productions were attending the big match told me that some great things could be in the horizon for the world of Cricket and the Yankees Universe. To see Rahul Drabid who happens to be one of the most famous men in India very excited about meeting with Randy Levine also spoke volume’s!

Oh and by the way, the Stadium At Eisenhower Park was totally filled to capacity. 35 thousand!

Thank you Gary Cooper for introducing me to Cricket.

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