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Two Decades After Running Amok At Shea Stadium, I Add Another Memorable Experience, At Travelers

 As I stood about five feet from the hole on the 18th green soon after Fredrik Jacobson won the Travelers Championship Sunday night, I made sure to take a moment and soak it all in. After all, who gets the chance to go under the ropes and onto the perfectly manicured green after a PGA Tour golf tournament had just finished? Yet there I was at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. Obviously a perk of the job.

This wasn't my first foray onto the field at a professional sporting event, however. Way back when, when I was 9-years-old, I hopped the field wall (illegally I'll proudly admit) after the Jets played their final game ever at Shea Stadium before they moved to the Meadowlands a couple decades ago. Me and my dad jumped the fence and ran onto the stadium grass, joining the masses that were looking to create mayhem after the Jets lost big to the Steelers. (No wonder I hate the Steelers - read more about that here).

Yankees Pitcher Phil Hughes Holds Press Conference After Rehab Start With Trenton In Double-A

Here is more of our coverage of Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes' rehab start for the Trenton Thunder in New Britain Friday night. We have full coverage below this post and in the pages of the New Britain Herald, but here is the entire press conference following Hughes' start against the Rock Cats.

Yankees Pitcher Phil Hughes Happy With Rehab Start For Trenton In NB

Phil Hughes during his start for Trenton. (Mike Orazzi photo)
Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes said his rehab start with the Double-A Trenton Thunder against the New Britain Rock Cats was a step in the right direction Friday night. Even though he had better numbers during his first rehab stint for Staten Island in A-ball, Hughes was positive in the progress he's making.

"The biggest thing was I felt good," Hughes said after pitching 3 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run, three hits, two walks and striking out three. He hit 92-93 on the New Britain Stadium scoreboard. That is down from the 95 he hit in his first rehab start.

PGA Tour's Travelers Championship An Awesome Event To Experience

Joe Pesci at celebrity event. (Evan Macy)
There's not a whole lot left on my checklist of professional sports that I've witnessed in person as a spectator. I've knocked off the usual suspects, games played in minor and major league baseball, the NFL, NBA and NHL. I've also crossed off several that might be considered rare, as in soccer, boxing, wrestling and lacrosse. So, it's always a big thing for me when I can experience something new in sports.

And that was exactly the case Wednesday when I attended my first PGA Tour golf event, the Travelers Championship Pro-Am in Cromwell. Luckily I had a press pass, as I obviously was working for our papers and websites, so I got to parts of the course that the typical fan will never see. But even with that perk, the best time at the event was walking the course with the players and fellow fans.

I would never believe I would actually enjoy walking huge distances up equally huge hills and inclines, being told to be quiet, being stopped from walking, not to mention being in the pouring rain and humidity-based heat that was outright brutal. But guess what? I loved it. My first experience on a golf course with some of the best pros in the business was simply awesome.

Phil Hughes To Pitch In New Britain

It didn't take the New Britain Rock Cats long to start the hype machine on their website for this Friday night when the Trenton Thunder arrive in town. Why the hype? Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes will be on the mound for the Thunder Friday night. Hughes will be making a rehab start in New Britain.

Playing Mets And Cubs Is Great, But The Rest Of Interleague Play Is Boring

Curtis Granderson at Wrigley Field. (AP photo)
For the first time since the early years of interleague play, I actually found myself glued to the television for a series that didn't involve the Yankees and Mets. Of course, it was special circumstances as the Yankees were in Wrigley Field for a series against the Chicago Cubs.

That series, which the Yankees just finished off winning two of three, and the opening series between the Yankees and Mets has renewed my interest in interleague play. But the fact the Yankees beat the Mets two straight to win that series, the finale of which I was sitting behind home plate for, and playing in a historic ballpark against a historic team is not lost on me.

Snakebitten QB Chad Pennington Went From Savior To Cast Off For Jets, But His End Set Up Their Future

At one point, Chad Pennington was the Jets' savior.
At one point in the tumultuous history of the New York Jets, Chad Pennington was the team's savior. Pennington, who took over as Jets quarterback during the 2002 season after two years sitting behind Vinny Testaverde, was the player that would finally bring the Jets a Vince Lombardi trophy that many fans had become to believe was simply a pipe dream.

Pennington practically owned New York, especially the football scene, in the early 2000's and was quickly considered one of the best, young quarterbacks in the game. He was so trumpeted that I remember to this day reading a story in either the Daily News or the Post (I can't remember exactly which one all these years later) that said, matter of fact, Pennington would win a Super Bowl with the Jets during his career. Truth be told, even then, I wondered how they could even write that, especially given the Jets history. It was a bold statement. But that was what Pennington brought to the Jets.

America Celebrates As Mavericks Beat LeBron, Wade & Bosh For NBA Title

It was perfect that the Dallas Mavericks wrapped up the NBA championship with a victory over the Miami Heat on a Sunday night. On this night, the Mavs and Heat had everyone's attention, so it was extra sweet to watch America's most hated team, the Heat, lose the NBA title on its home court in front of a big audience.

LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the trio that decided playing together to win an NBA title was better than leading their own team to the ultimate prize, have played the fool from the moment James decided to join the Heat all the way through these Finals. We all remember the terrible moment when James said he was taking his talents to South Beach during a nationally televised, staged event.

But it's way too easy to point that out as the reason to root against the Heat. It's the countless moments since the three came together in Miami that make it the most hated team in the league, and perhaps in all of sports at this moment.

GameDay Live: CIAC Class LL State Baseball Championship: Newington Vs. Southington

 Class LL State Tournament
Baseball Championship
No. 17 Newington 3, No. 7 Southington 2
Newington 020  000  000  1 - 3 7 3
Southington 010  000  100  0 - 2 7 4
WP: Cole Bryant. LP: Sal Romano.

Cole Bryant struck out Tyler Burns on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded and two outs to clinch Newington's first ever state baseball championship with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Southington Saturday night at Muzzy Field in Bristol. Newington, the No. 17 seed, won as the higher seed in each game it played in the Class LL State Tournament.

GameDay Live: State Championships: Terryville Softball, Newington Vball

Class S State Tournament
Softball Championship
Hale Ray spoils Terryville's shot at repeat championships
No. 2 Hale Ray 6, No. 1 Terryville 0
Hale Ray 000 231 0 - 6
Terryville 000 000 0 - 0
WP: Katelyn Nichisti. LP: Jamie Bridge.

GameDay Live: State Semifinals: New Britain, Southington, Newington Baseball; Central, Terryville Softball

Southington ace pitcher Sal Romano has just been drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, No. 715 overall. He has already committed to play baseball at Tennessee, but made sure to tell us he will listen to the Reds and could sign with the organization instead of playing college ball.

“I got drafted and it’s a dream come true for me,” Romano said after Southington defeated New Britain in the Class LL semifinals Tuesday night. “I have been waiting for that moment since I was playing little league baseball. Regardless of what round it was in, it’s still getting drafted by a Major League Baseball team. And I’m ready to talk to the scouts.”

New Britain's Springer Drafted By Houston Astros In First Round

New Britain native George Springer was just drafted with the 11th overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft by the Houston Astros. Springer is currently playing with UConn in the College Baseball World Series.

This Tuesday Could Be Greatest Area Schools Sports Day In History

This coming Tuesday could be the greatest single day in area sports history. Why? Well, in the Bristol Press and New Britain Herald coverage area, a total of seven teams will take part in six semifinal matchups in three different sports in one single night. That's simply insane.

In baseball, three of the four teams in the Class LL State Tournament are from our area - Newington, Southington and New Britain. No. 17 Newington takes on No. 4 Amity in one semifinal, while No. 7 Southington plays No. 6 New Britain for the third time this year in the other semi. New Britain has won both games so far between the rivals. Both games will be played in Waterbury.

GameDay Live: State Tournament Quarterfinals: New Britain, Berlin, Southington, Newington Baseball

Class LL State Tournament
Baseball, Quarterfinals
New Britain advances to Class LL state semifinals
No. 6 New Britain 4, No. 3 Brien McMahon 0
New Britain 201 000 1 - 4 8 1
Brien McMahon 000 000 0 - 0 5 3
WP: Albert Pienkowski. LP: Brian Daniello.

GameDay Live: State Tournament Quarterfinals: Central Softball; Southington, Newington Volleyball

Class LL State Tournament
Softball, Quarterfinals
Bristol Central will play No. 1 Westhilll in state semis
No. 4 Bristol Central 3, No. 5 East Hartford 0
East Hartford 000 000 0 - 0 5 0
Bristol Central 010 002 x - 3 7 2
WP: Emily Cintorino. LP: Megan Kennedy.

GameDay Live: Softball Tournament: Bristol Central, Goodwin Tech

Class LL State Tournament
Softball, Second Round
Bristol Central makes easy work of Simsbury
No. 4 Bristol Central 16, No. 20 Simsbury 1
Simsbury 000 01 - 1 3 3
Bristol Central 215 71 - 16 10 2
WP: Emily Cintorino. WP: Carly Williams.

GameDay Live: Baseball Tournament: New Britain, Southington, Berlin

Class LL State Tournament
Baseball, Second Round
No. 6 New Britain 8, No. 22 Conard 1
New Britain blows past Conard in Round 2
Conard 100 000 0 - 1 5 2
New Britain 201 041 x - 8 10 2
WP: Allen Nunez. LP: Zach LaRosa.