Baseball and women’s wrestling go together? No, not WWE Divas-type wrestling but the old school, roll around on the mat type, the Olympic type. That’s what we had this past week when the U.S. Olympic Women’s Wrestling Team, in town for a week of training and team building at Columbia University, took time out from their schedule to venture across the Harlem River and take on the Yankees-Athletics game as guests of the Bronx Bombers.
The group, which included world number one Adeline Gray, took in lots of sights around New York, even the Women’s World Cup Parade, in addition to their training, but a stop in The Bronx was a big, and unexpected highlight.
“I grew up a Diamondbacks fan but coming to Yankees Stadium and meeting Coach Girardi before the game on the field was very special,” said Gray, who this week is competing in the Pan American Games in Toronto in advance of September’s World Championships in Las Vegas. “I have been to New York many times, but coming to see the Stadium really makes it pretty special.”
The Steinbrenner family have long been supporters of all United States Olympic Committee athletes, and the visit was made possible by the Yankees Randy Levine after he received an outreach from Dr. Harvey Schiller, former head of YES Network and Executive Director of the United States Olympic Committee, who was notified that the Olympians were in town. The wrestlers even came up with some creative support for the Yankees on their own, purchasing Yankees pinstripes sweatpants and wearing them as a group during their Thursday practice at Columbia.
“We are always around elite athletes from our own sport, so to get to take a few hours out and actually see baseball players up close, especially watching batting practice from the field, gives us all an even greater perspective on what we can accomplish,” Gray added.
Several of the team members also dropped in on another baseball personality per se last week, with teammates Leigh Provisor and Helen Maroulis visiting Robert Wuhl’s radio show at CBS. Wuhl, famous for portraying both Arliss Michaels and the pitching coach in “Bull Durham,” made it an enjoyable experience for all.
Maybe baseball and wrestling do mix after all.