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So how great is this Yankees’ season going so far?

Ok, let’s hope I didn’t jinx it.

I had the pleasure of attending the home opener up in the Bronx last month with one of my best friends along with my sister and some of her co-workers. Then I returned to the Bronx for the first Saturday and Sunday games at the Stadium this season. Chances are by now you know that any weekend me and the Yankees are both in the city, I’ll be heading north to the BX.

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For the home opener and the Saturday game I bought the newly-installed Pinstripe Pass. This ticket is really a response to my generation’s desire to share unique experiences with friends both in-person and online.

What I’ve always loved about the new Stadium since it opened in 2009 is the open corridors and standing room only areas, including the Batter’s Eye Café, which offers an awesome view of the ballpark from center field. The Yankees expanded that café platform for the new season. Also changed are the obstructed view bleacher seats, which were the sections on each side of the 1893 Club (formerly Mohegan Sun Sports Bar). Those benches were demolished and tiered terraces were installed in their place. Each terrace features a full-bar, TVs and drink rails with power and USB outlets.

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But wait… there’s more! The Pinstripe Pass also comes with a free 12 oz beer or non-alcoholic beverage.

And if you get there early enough, you may even see Aaron Judge crush a batting practice home run in to a one of the HD TVs.


The Yankees won all three games I’ve been to this year; the team has a great home record. Heck, it’s a good record period – the Bronx Bombers are first in the division. Judge is leading the league in home runs and was the American League Rookie Of The Month for April.

Something tells me the Yankees will be selling plenty of Pinstripe Passes this year… should help pay for some of those new TVs they might need in center field.

It was a Sunday Funday for the books.

First stop: The World’s Most Famous Arena. I’ve been to countless Knicks games, Syracuse University basketball matchups, concerts and press opportunities at Madison Square Garden. But from my earliest visit (1998, WWE Summerslam) to this weekend, I had never attended a Rangers game.

On Friday night, I knew that was going to change as soon as I mentioned to my friend who is from Pittsburgh that the Penguins were playing the Blueshirts in Sunday matinee matchup. We purchased two tickets in 308 about 40 minutes before the puck dropped, and I raced down to MSG.

Section 308 is in an area that The Garden calls “The Lounges.” It’s like a suite, built for groups with inclusive food and non-alcoholic beverages, but it isn’t enclosed by walls. It’s on the same level as the equally-new Chase Bridge and offers a nice view of the rink. We were behind the net that the Pens shot on twice, so we had a nice vantage point as Sidney Crosby banged home an empty-netter to seal a 5-3 victory for the bad guys.

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The assorted sandwiches and couple Bloody Marys did not slow me down; I headed back uptown, fit in a 4 mile run in Central Park and hopped back on StubHub. The Nets were home in Brooklyn against the Milwaukee Bucks. I really don’t care for either team but two former Syracuse stars, Tyler Ennis and Michael Carter-Williams, play on the Bucks. Not to mention, despite the countless events I have attended at Barclays Center including the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and a New York Islanders game, I had never been to see the Nets!

That changed as well.

My buddy and I scored lower sideline tickets for this game but what really stood out besides our nice view and the padded seats were the extra amenities. As part of our ticket, we had access to the “Happy Half-Hour,” which commences an hour before tip-off and wraps up 30 minutes before game time.


The special? Free domestic beer and wine in the Honda Club. Deal!

Our tickets also included a special pre-game buffet on the suite level and an all-access pass to the food vendors: we could buy anything we wanted from any stand. The cashier simply scanned our ticket and it was free.

Brooklyn played a good game but Barclays Center played a better host. The Nets fell to the Bucks; to be honest, I was a bit too full to notice.

The summer of travel took me down south again last weekend, as I visited Atlanta for my first time ever. Thursday night I left the studio, pulled an all-nighter, and made my non-stop 6 a.m. flight to the ATL. Instead of taking the airport shuttle upon landing, I thought it’d be a good idea to walk from my terminal to ground transportation at Hartsfield. That airport is MASSIVE and my idea was not one of the good variety. Regardless, I eventually made it on to MARTA, Atlanta’s public transit. That’s where I snapped this selfie.


First stop: Cumulus Media headquarters. Our Senior Vice President of Programming and Content, Mike McVay, was kind enough to score me Yankees/Braves tickets for that night in Turner Field AND give me a tour of our facilities. The corporate HQ is located in the Buckhead section of town, an upscale area with a lot of great hotels (and subsequently, hotel bars), high-end shops, and steakhouses. It was great to see familiar faces and meet some new ones, all in their element instead of on the road in New York or Los Angeles.

Next up: CNN World Headquarters downtown! I had no idea that the massive property is connected to both an Omni Hotel and the Phillips Arena.

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I joined the panel on HLN’s “The Daily Share” to chat about everything from Donald Trump to Justin Bieber.


Again, it was great meeting people who I have corresponded with for years in real life and seeing a few familiar faces. I said my goodbyes and took the Marta back to Midtown, where my hotel was. I needed to tape and edit two radio segments for affiliates, and it left me with just enough time to grab a Caribou Coffee and egg sandwich (again!), change in to my away Derek Jeter jersey and meet colleagues at this spot called The Nook. From there, it was off to the 755 Club at Turner Field for the Yankees game.


We at some point made it to our seats and yes, I ate that full hot dog. I know, real sexy.\
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ANYWAYS, Yankees won, and my coworkers were kind enough to treat me to a steak dinner afterwards because they’re great.

Saturday was awesome. Slept in, day drank, thrift shopped, bar hopped, went to an outdoor wine festival.

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And at the suggestion of many, tried the Coronary Burger from The Vortex. It lived up to the hype.

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Special thanks to Aaron Roberts for playing the role of “tour guide” for most of the trip. Happy to be back home, and next weekend it’s back to home-home – Niagara Falls!

My summer of travel continued last weekend to beautiful Houston, Texas. I had never been to H-Town; it was only my second time ever in The Lonestar State. I booked the trip to surprise my friend Roberto Clemente Jr., whose wife was throwing him a 50th birthday party!

First stop: Minneapolis. I had a quick layover there and was sure to grab a cup of Caribou Coffee at the airport. Not bad!

Checked in to my hotel around 1 p.m. on Saturday – here was my view of The Galleria, a neighborhood populated with shops, restaurants, expensive homes and high-rises in Houston.

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The Westin Oaks is actually connected to a shopping center also called The Galleria, which is the biggest mall I’ve ever been in. Growing up in Western New York and playing ice hockey as a kid, I couldn’t pass up the chance to skate in the mall’s rink for a bit.


The birthday boy! Also ran in to Buffalo Bills Hall Of Famer Thurman Thomas at the shindig. Proud to call RJ a friend.


Woke up early the next day and after a quick run, headed towards downtown. MKT Bar offered up quite the brunch: eggs in a taste tomato paste served with fresh pita bread and a Sake Bloody Mary infused with ginger and wasabi. So. Good.

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And yes, that was my iPad in the last photo – tuned to the YES Network to watch the Andy Pettitte ceremony at Yankee Stadium. That’s ironic because Pettitte is from Houston; he pitched for the Astros and played the last game of his career at Minute Maid Park. That’s where the next stop of my trip would take me. After a Houston Police Officer threatened to write me a $250 ticket for jaywalking (you’re not in New York anymore, Ralphie) – I hit up MMP in my old-school Don Mattingly Yankees shirt to watch his Dodgers take on the Astros. Clayton Kershaw, one of the best pitchers in baseball, was starting for Los Angeles. Of course, I kept tabs on my Yanks while at the ballpark.

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Left the game early to avoid any chance of missing my flight. Astros won in extra innings on a walk-off home run. And Houston won for it’s amenities and hospitality during my quick stay (save the police officer; c’mon man!).

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Last weekend I visited Charlotte, N.C. for my first time. A friend of mine from college lives there, so in addition to getting to see them, I was able to experience what “Southern Hospitality” is all about.

Overall I was impressed with the area. They call their downtown area “uptown,” thus invoking a Bruno Mars-sing-a-long every time it was mentioned (“Funk you up!”). About 75 people move there a day, so the the city is experiencing a vast amount of growth.

Of course, my trip did not come without its share of moments that reminded me I was far from home. At a house party, a woman spotted an oppossum and immediately went to grab her gun. Later she explained that she would have shot it but she left her purse in the car.

Other noteworthy moments: jogging past a front yard with a chicken pen (live hens included!), seeing a liquor store with a kids play area and of course being called an “expletive Yankee.”

There were also some great people, excellent food (BBQ! Grits!) and a whole lot of sunshine.

I head back home to Niagara Falls, N.Y. every July for my Mother’s church’s picnic. Yes, the home-cooked Armenian food is to die for, but more importantly my Mom appreciates that I make the trek to Western New York for it.
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This year when I went home, I tried this novel idea: a vacation without working. As you’ll see, it was glorious.

A storm in Indy delayed the plane that was picking us up at LaGuardia. I jetted off to the Delta Sky Club.

Hashtag delayed.

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But we eventually were en route, flying through a gorgeous sunset.

#TheRealMVP is tonight's sunset as I fly west to Buffalo, from about 20,000 feet up. #RalphieTonight

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You don’t need to see any Saturday night photos, but know that Sunday started off in grand fashion, and before noon to boot.

Vacation vibes.

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THIS FOOD OVER EVERYTHING.

Today, was a good day.

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The cot my parents have on their back porch is the real MVP.

Vacation vibes continued.

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Yeah no complaints.

This vacation is the real MVP.

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I think I’ll be heading back home for Labor Day.
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All I remember reading in the email I received from Amy Freeze was that we were running through Citi Field and it was for charity. I’m a huge baseball fan (diehard member of Yankees Universe) and so I was in. The event – a Spartan Sprint – was a week before the Billboard Music Awards. As with most award shows, I usually switch up both my workout regime and my diet a few weeks prior to the event, so that I’m in good shape come time to be in front of the camera for a few days straight. So this was perfect – a combination of working out, raising money and awareness for a charity and doing so in Citi Field, all while wearing Yankees gear from head-to-toe.

If you’re familiar with what a Spartan Sprint is, then you know that those two words should have immediately caught my attention. They didn’t. Freeze asked me to bring gloves, and also told me we were doing the 3 mile route. I run 4 miles on the regular. I got this! Gloves? Well that’s a little strange but sure, I’ll pack them before I take the 7 out to Flushing.

I did not fully realize what I signed up for until we were approaching the starting line. Before the start, we had to scale over a wall erected in one of the corridors that leads up an upper level of the stadium. And this wasn’t even a part of the course that was timed!

Thankfully, I was surrounded by a great team. Freeze is a meteorologist for Channel 7, and she recruited fellow forecasters Audrey Puente from Fox 5 and Stephanie Abrams of The Weather Channel. Rounding out the group was Gabe Boyar, Amanda Marasco and fitness guru Tom Holland. We had a fun group and when we needed help climbing a wall, thankfully Tom was there to lend a hand.
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The course was equally excruciating and exhilarating. Bear climbs up ramps and stairs, carrying jugs of water and sand bags around sections of Citi Field’s upper level, push-ups in the visiting team’s clubhouse, climbing up a net that extended from one side of the center field wall to the other… when I wasn’t praying that I wouldn’t be too sore the next day, I was taking in the views and counting my blessings. Thank goodness I’m in good health, and I get to experience something like this.

Sore the next day? I was sore for the next week.

But it was all worth it. I made some new friends, had a great time and most importantly, helped out The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. After we completed the course and I partook in a celebratory beverage, Freeze told us about the great things that The MMRF does. The research and efforts of the foundation have led to the FDA approval of seven drugs for multiple myeloma in the time it would normally take for just one drug to pass.

Another great attribute of The MMRF, especially as the son of a two-time breast cancer survivor: They use their research to help other cancer studies as well.

Corporate donors cover overhead costs, so every dollar I donated to The MMRF went right to the cause. And the volunteers couldn’t have been more helpful, especially in encouraging the members of “Team Freeze” to keep fighting.

I’m sure glad we did, but I’m more thankful for the work they do… and the fact that for once, I “blindly” walking in to something was actually a positive.

It was a busy Saturday in New York before the NBA All-Star Game. We caught up with Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Jill Martin and others at the Wade Bowling Classic. The event at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square benefited “Game Changer,” a new partnership between Wade’s World and the Sandals Foundation.

After Saturday’s festivities at Barclays Center, it was off to the Bric Arts Center in Brooklyn where Spike Lee held his “Spreadin’ Love is Da Brooklyn Way” All-Star Weekend Sneaker Jam.

He came in to “Music’s Biggest Night” with six nominations and surrounded by high expectations. In his debut GRAMMY Awards, English singer Sam Smith did not disappoint. The clear winner of the evening took home four gramophones, including two of the biggest awards for Record and Song of the Year thanks to his smash hit, “Stay With Me.”

In the press room after the telecast concluded, Smith effortlessly fielded questions from the media. It seemed as if he had to focus more on the four awards he held while he answered (“f—king heavy!” he exclaimed) than on the responses themselves.

“A boyfriend would be nice,” the artist responded when asked what could top Sunday night. Another reporter inquired what Smith is looking for in a partner. “Someone who could clean these every day for me,” he said, before looking down at his awards. The press room cracked up again.

“I do not know what I’m looking for,” he said on a more serious note. “I think the minute I start looking, it’s not going to come my way.”

In addition to winning the aforementioned categories, Smith also took home hardware for Best New Artist” and “Best Pop Vocal Album” thanks to his debut LP, In The Lonely Hour. Speaking with the press, Smith confirmed he is already working on the follow-up.

“I feel like I have a title and a concept to the record,” the UK singer noted. “I’ve already started writing. I’m living through it now. I’m trying to kiss as many people as I can so I can write some new music.”

Certainly it will be different to draw from these experiences now that Smith is an international superstar; less than a year ago he was relatively unknown in the U.S. But Smith told me one thing he’s learned in his interactions with other celebrities is that they’re all human, just exceptionally talented.

“It’s incredible,” Smith responded when I asked what it was like to have everyone from Paul McCartney to Rihanna vying for his attention on the floor at the Staples Center. “I’m a huge fan of pop culture. As a 22 year-old boy, I’ve grown up watching E! News and being obsessed with celebrity culture.”

Perhaps he didn’t need Sunday night for this, but Smith is now cemented in that culture. Naturally, he planned on celebrating his big evening by partying.

“I’m going in,” Smith said before adding, “I need to go to In-N-Out Burger though because I’ve been drinking loads of green juice recently so it’s time to ruin that.”

Some sights and sounds from day 2 of “Ralphie Tonight” at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Westwood One’s “Red Carpet Radio” at The 57th GRAMMYs. The busiest of the two days saw GRAMMY nominees, pas winners and more stop by to chat with “Ralphie Tonight.”