Anyone who knows me can tell you I am a Yankees fan, and anyone who really knows me can tell you I have a Yankees obsession. I won't get into that, but I did meet Joe Torre yesterday. If you're from the New York City area and have any kind of sports pulse, I'm sure you've heard that Torre wrote a book. It's called The Yankee Years and chronicles Torre's 12 seasons as manager of the New York Yankees. The book has gotten much press for a few of its less than discretionary statements and stories, but the book alone is not what this post is about. As I said, I met Joe Torre yesterday.
Of course, along with the release of a book comes book signings. Torre was scheduled for a few signings around the city in the last couple of days, so I planned to attend. My first effort on Tuesday was highly unsuccessful. I rushed over to Barnes and Noble on my lunch break 1 hour prior to the start of the signing only to be met by a line of hundreds and a sell out of books. Needless to say, I didn't get a book signed on Tuesday. I decided to try again the next day, but this time I would be a little more prepared.
Torre was scheduled to sign books at a Borders store downtown yesterday at 1 PM. To ensure I would get a book or two signed, I arrived at 8 AM. Yes, I was willing to wait 5 hours. Did you not hear me when I mentioned that Yankees obsession? When I got to the section of the store where the signing would take place, I was met with about 15 others who had arrived before me. This being my first book signing, I learned that most of the people ahead of me were 'pros'. People who have made it their career, passion or favorite pastime to attend any and all high-profile book signings and get as many copies as possible only to turn around and sell them online for a profit. One of these gentleman asked literally every person in line how many books they were having signed, and if they had less than the maximum of 3, he would purchase additional books for them to hold during the signing and then collect the signed copies afterward. I'm sure he walked out of the store that day with at least 30 signed books.
Naturally, there were also other die-hard Yankees and baseball fans in line. The time went by fairly fast. Swapping baseball stories and learning about these professional book signing line stander profit making people persons was great entertainment. As the time passed, the line grew and grew. Around 12:30, the store announced that there were no more books in the store and that the line was being cut off. I felt bad for the people who suffered the same fate as I had on the previous day.
A few minutes past 1, Mr. Torre arrived. A swarm of press descended for their photo-op, and I managed to get a few nice shots as well. The line moved quickly. I mean, how could it not when I was so close to the front to begin with? As I approached the table, I told Torre that it was nice to meet him and we exchanged a few words as he signed my books. I left the table excited that I had gotten my autographed copies, and the 5 hours sitting on the floor of a Borders bookstore in downtown Manhattan was well worth it.
The whole experience was great. Now it's time to read the book. Check back in a few years, when Derek Jeter writes a book, to hear the story of how I waited in line for 10 hours to meet the Yankee Shortstop.