NEW YORK - The "Big Apple" was officially "Wabashed" today as K-State's Marching Band provided the atmosphere in a packed pep rally in downtown (or is it uptown?) Manhattan.
The crowd of a couple thousand had its patience tested as the team was snagged and snarled in NYC traffic as the normal 45-minute trek from Yankee Stadium took 1:20 to get to the rally located a couple blocks from the Sheraton Hotel.
In addition, the team has been here four days and three of its practice sessions originally set for nearby Columbia University were staged in a Sheraton ballroom, the Giants' indoor facility, the Jets' indoor facility before today's final walk-thru at Yankee Stadium.
By the way, this "House That 'Jeter' Built" is pretty dang cool, and being a life-life-long Yankee fan, it was cooler than cool to stand in the center field grass, and even peak through a fence into Monument Park. The downer was the fact I couldn't quite reach out and touch "The Mick's" place in Yankee history.
K-State took time to take a team picture on the rather shabby sod of the stadium that will be a neat keepsake. The sod, which had inches ... no, scratch that ... feet of snow left on it, was clear after workers shoveled snow out of the stadium.
"As soon as the snow stopped, we had crews in clearing the field," said Lonn Trost, Chief Operations Officer of the Yankees Monday night. "We're putting it into trucks and taking it to the river about a half-mile away, so if you see the river rising, that's why. We're working around the clock and the field will be clear."
The team had breakfast at the Hard Rock Café, but as boys will be boys, one Wildcat on the bus in the afternoon uttered the famous words as we puttered past some Golden Arches, "Man, that looks good. I can't wait to get back to Kansas so I can go to McDonald's."
One milling about the lobby Wednesday morning was Kansas State President Dr. Kirk Schulz, with his wife Dr. Noel, and sons Tim and Andrew.
Of this experience for the team, the Prez offered, "The chance to be in the biggest media market and in one of the classic cities of the world is a cool deal for the team. I've talked to several of them and they've talked about the bus rides and just experiencing the sixth largest snow storm, so it's been a great experience in New York City."
As for him, Schulz said, "I enjoy the hustle and the bustle, although I miss trees and the wide open spaces. This trip has been rather busy, but we'll be back and experience the Broadway plays and some of the other attractions."
Wednesday night two sides of the Empire State Building were lit in K-State Purple and White, while the opposite sides in Syracuse Orange and White.
Well, we're finally only hours away from what bowl officials are billing as "The Rumble In The Bronx." That's Kansas State vs. Syracuse in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium at 2:22 (Kansas time) on ESPN. (By the way, New Era is a company that makes all of the Major League baseball caps.)
The Wildcats' day starts with a 9 a.m. wakeup call followed by a quick 9:15 breakfast, and later in the morning a pre-game meal.
The players will have a brief team meeting at 12:15 before departing for Yankee Stadium at 12:45, which is said to be 45 minutes away ... yeah, right!
The Pride of Wildcatland will have a busy day as bands from both schools will play at Babe Ruth Plaza outside the stadium starting at 12:15. The band will also give a 10-minute program prior to the game.
That's all ... cheer hard!
P.S. - Some won and some were defeated in their travels to NYC.
Cathy Schroeder reports that after lengthy stays in two airports, and she and her husband decided just to return to their Kansas home.
On the flip side, the traveling family of Warren, Gisela, Cameron and Brianne Kennedy of Bonner Springs persevered.
After a KCI to Newark flight was cancelled, they booked another excursion on Monday that took them from Kansas City, to Milwaukee ... oops ... back to Kansas City, to Atlanta and to Rochester, where they rented a car and drove the final seven hours to NYC.
Here's a tip: Don't travel with the Kennedy's. Warren reports for the 1997 Fiesta Bowl they ended up flying into Mexico, and then driving north to Phoenix. That trip was made with a 3- and 1-year old, plus a mother-in-law. "Sports Extra" is not asking why, but Warren says the Fiesta trip was more stressful.
P.S.S. - Ran out of space ... flip the postcard over.
This bowl business is an exact science: (All Central times)
1:53 - K-State band performs
2:03 - SU band performs
2:13 - Presentation of Colors by the New York fire department
2:13 - National Anthem by Mitchell Jarvis of Rock of Ages
2:15 - K-State video and 'Cats take the field
2:17 - SU video and Orangemen take the field
2:19 - Coin toss
Oh, the game could be moved back to 2:27 pending the completion of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Halftime - Cast of Rock of Ages
End of 3rd quarter - Michael Minarik, "God Bless America"