By: Graham Hays
Published: May 31, 2012
ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Standing at the railing in a dugout normally reserved for the home team in the old Yankee Stadium, real estate once occupied by the likes of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, Mallory Holtman watched ball after ball sail over the iconic checkerboard outfield grass and settle back down to earth in the seats beyond during the 2008 Home Run Derby. As Texas Rangers star Josh Hamilton put on a show at the plate, the night sky in the Bronx was illuminated by camera flashes as much as by the stadium lights high above her.
It was a sensation at once familiar and foreign. The nice hotel, the gift bag and the gate attendants at the stadium who passed around her ticket before politely suggesting she and the other two girls might want to try the VIP entrance the next time — all of that was new, if not exactly unpleasant. But much of her life to that point had been spent in dugouts, more hours than might be wise to count and certainly more hours than she spent sitting in stands, so those surroundings, at least, felt normal. Or they did until someone like Derek Jeter walked by as casually as if he was in, well, his dugout. It was like a person who had been raised on ponds stumbling across the Pacific Ocean. (READ MORE…)