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Batting Practice 101… With Mariano Rivera

This month, a group of sportswriters were treated to a private batting practice as part of a promotion for New Era’s new Diamond Era cap. The writers were to stand in a batting cage at New York’s legendary Yankee Stadium and take their turns swinging at pitches—surely they had all done this many times. It couldn’t have been too difficult, right?

The catch: the pitches weren’t thrown by a machine, but by a human. Not just any human, but Mariano Rivera, a man universally considered to be the best closer ever to play baseball. Of course the thirteen-time MLB All-Star Rivera won the day, but each of the sportswriters who took him on had a story to tell.

The Source’s Brandon Robinson looked at Rivera and asked, “You ready for me?” “I was born ready,” was the reply, and it was the truth--Robinson went 0 for 13.

Rivera laughed as the USA Today’s Ted Berg fouled off a pitch near his head. “Don’t touch that one.”

Perhaps the boldest hitter to face the great lifelong New York Yankee Rivera that day was Refinery 29’s Vanessa Golembewski. Her boldness stemmed most of all from what she wore—a jersey of her favorite baseball team and the Yankees’ hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox! Before taking her first swing, Golembewski pointed to her Red Sox shirt. As Rivera laughed, she poked fun at the struggling Red Sox, noting, “This may be the Red Sox’s only chance to get a hit at Yankee Stadium this season.”

BuzzFeed’s Matt Kiebus recorded his entire, stream-of-consciousness thought process as he took on the baseball legend, nicknamed The Sandman. “Should I trash talk?” Kiebus wondered. “How exactly do you trash talk the best closer of all time? I definitely should have gone to a batting cage before this.” Kiebus finally made contact with the last pitch Rivera tossed him—only to see it bounce harmlessly back into Rivera’s glove.

Indeed, Kiebus was right—these writers could have used some fun practice time in a batting cage, away from their desks and offices. Couldn’t we all? Wheelhouse has you covered. With over eight thousand satisfied customers, spanning all fifty U.S. states and many countries across the word, Wheelhouse Batting Cages is a brand you can trust. Whether you’re training your child for Little League, looking to relax with a healthy hobby, or preparing to face the New York Yankees tomorrow, you’ll be satisfied with your cage from Wheelhouse!

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