Mark Feinsand has been a trusted name to Yankees fans for many years. He was on the team’s beat while working for The Daily News and co-authored Mission 27, a book about The Bombers 27th World Series Championship. Which classic Yankees Postseason victory had Mark fearing the press box would crumble in the old Stadium? Find that out and more as we ask Mark 10 Questions in Quarantine.
While stuck in quarantine, if you could only watch three movies, which three would you pick?
I’m not sure I can narrow it down to three, so here are five:
A Few Good Men
A League of Their Own
The Dark Knight
What is your favorite TV show of all-time?
The West Wing. I’m not a political person at all, but I’m a huge Aaron Sorkin fan, and this show had me hooked right away.
When I was on the Yankees beat, I used to have at least one season of West Wing DVDs with me on every road trip and I would have it on in the background while I wrote in my hotel. I would start with the pilot on the first road trip of the season, and by the end of the year, I had re-watched the entire series.
About five or six years ago, I had a chance to meet Richard Schiff, who plays Toby on the show. He’s a huge Yankees fan, and a couple guys from the beat and I met him for a drink after a game in Toronto, where he was shooting a show. We talked Yankees and West Wing for a few hours, which was amazing. We still keep in touch, which is kind of surreal for me since I still watch the show’s re-runs.
What is the best concert you have ever attended?
Tough question. I went to the Walden Woods show at Foxboro Stadium back in 1993 while I was in college, which had Aerosmith, Sting, Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, Don Henley and Jimmy Buffett. That concert was pretty insane. I’m also a huge Billy Joel fan, and I was at the New Year’s Eve concert on Dec. 31, 1999, at MSG. They released that show on CD and it’s fantastic.
But I’d have to say the best show I ever saw was at Jones Beach in the summer of 2000: Live and Counting Crows. I’m a huge 90s music fan (I think whatever music you listened to during your college years winds up being your favorite), and that show was incredible. It was the first time I had seen the Crows (who, despite my well-known fear of birds, are my favorite band) live, and they didn’t disappoint.
What is your favorite meal?
Chicken parm – and it can be from the local pizza place or the finest Italian restaurant in New York. A good New York steakhouse is a close second.
What was your first part time job?
I actually talked about this on Twitter the other day when people were listing five jobs they had before their first sports writing gig. I worked as a counselor for three summers at Camp Westmont, which is my favorite place on Earth. I also worked at a deli in New York one summer, and during college I worked at a store in Kenmore Square that sold fraternity and sorority gear, which was great since I was in a frat at Boston University and was able to get stuff at a discount.
Did you have a hidden talent you’d like to tell the readers about? If not, what is your favorite hobby?
Sadly, I have no hidden talents, unless you count being able to recite the entire Jack Nicholson courtroom speech from A Few Good Men.
My favorite hobby is golf, which I started playing in my early 20s, but had to give up during my 16 years on the beat. When you cover all of Spring Training, 130 games, then the postseason, you’re lucky to play once or twice a year. Having time off in January isn’t exactly great for golfing when you live in the northeast.
I started playing again after I left the beat and became slightly obsessed. I’m not very good – I typically shoot in the mid-90's – but I’m getting better the more I play. I even broke 90 last summer, which was a huge accomplishment.
What is your favorite sports moment as a fan?
Hmm. Tough one. The Redskins’ Super Bowl XXVII win over the Bills was pretty great, especially since the 28 years since that game have been pretty miserable for Skins fans. But like most games that season, the Super Bowl itself wasn’t particularly close, as Mark Rypien & Co. just steamrolled their way to the championship. Great day, but not an edge-of-your-seat moment.
I’m a huge Islanders fan, so the David Volek game (Patrick Division Finals Game 7 at Pittsburgh) is one of my favorite moments ever. The Penguins had won back-to-back Stanley Cups and were a big favorite over the Isles, who had lost their best player (Pierre Turgeon) the previous round thanks to a dirty hit by the Capitals’ Dale Hunter (I still hate that guy). But the Islanders won Game 6 at the Nassau Coliseum to force a Game 7 in Pittsburgh, then won in overtime on Volek’s goal. For a team that had won four Stanley Cups by the time I was 10, it was as big a highlight as any I had seen.
I also watched the entire “Easter Epic” game in April 1987, which I will never forget. Game 7 of the first round between the Isles and Caps at the Cap Centre, and Pat LaFontaine scored in the fourth OT to send the Isles to the next round. The game lasted more than six hours, finally ending at 1:58 a.m. I was so pumped up, I couldn’t fall asleep for another hour or two.
If you weren’t covering baseball, what do you think your career would be?
I initially wanted to be a film director when I went to college, so I’d have to think that would have been the path I took had I not veered into journalism. My first class at BU was COM 101, which introduced us to each aspect of the College of Communications. The film lectures bored me to tears, then Jack Falla, who used to write for Sports Illustrated, came in for the journalism lectures. I was enthralled by his stories, so I decided to major in broadcast journalism. Jack wound up being a great mentor to me, though he sadly passed in 2008. I had an opportunity to be a guest of the Jack Falla Speaker Series at BU a few years ago, which was a huge honor.
If you could interview one baseball player, past or present that you haven’t yet interviewed, who would you choose?
It has to be Babe Ruth, doesn’t it? He just seemed like a lot of fun.
Out of all the games you have covered, is there one that is most memorable to you?
I get asked this question all the time. I’ve had the good fortune of covering some amazing games, but the one that stands out above the rest is the Aaron Boone game.
Game 7 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox at the old Stadium, everything on the line – and at the peak of the rivalry. It could have been a dud the way Game 7 turned out to be a year later, but the 2003 game was special. So many twists and turns. Pedro, Giambi, Mussina, Matsui, Posada … and of course, Boone. I never felt a stadium shake the way it did that night; I was actually worried the press box might just crumble beneath us.
I was the beat writer for MLB.com at the time, and we used to pick a player to do an exclusive postgame Q&A or a first-person diary after every postseason game. Boone had been kind enough to agree to do it for the entire 2003 postseason, and even though he struggled through the playoffs, he hung around after every game to talk with me. Needless to say, that night, I had to wait about two hours to steal a few moments of one-on-one time, but I finally got Aaron and his wife, Laura, in a quiet corner after all the craziness died down. He had done a ton of interviews already, and yet he still didn’t really know how to put it into words.
You can follow Mark on Twitter @Feinsand
Stay tuned to our "Questions in Quarantine" as we have some great interviews being published throughout the next week!