Thursday, August 16, 2012
Woodson mixes it up with Creatures
By Ian Begley
Mike Woodson had a unique New York experience on Wednesday night.
The Knicks coach spent part of the evening hanging out with the Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures, participating in the fans' roll call.
Mike Woodson and "Bald Vinny" Milano
Woodson says he has been a Yankees fan since 1980, the same year the Knicks drafted him. So it was "great to be back" at the Stadium, he told the Yankees' in-house reporter.
The coach had plenty of vocal support in the bleachers. Fans cheered his name and asked for autographs and pictures. One shouted, "I didn't want Phil Jackson either!"
The Knicks essentially felt the same way, choosing not to reach out to the Hall of Fame coach before signing Woodson to a three-year contract.
Another fan approached Woodson and said, "I'm a huge Knicks fan, but I'm not a Carmelo Anthony fan."
"I don't like when the ball stops," he told Woodson.
Gotta love the brutal honesty of New York fans.
Woodson and assistant Darrell Walker waited out a 1:45 rain delay on Wednesday.
Once they arrived in the bleachers, longtime Creature Vinny "Bald Vinny" Milano showed them the ropes. Milano has also hosted Nets coach Avery Johnson and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the stands this summer.
Milano commended Woodson and Walker for waiting out the rain delay to partake in the roll call.
"I thought there was no way in hell this guy's hanging out here. Why would you sit around and wait in a rain delay to come scream with a bunch of Yankee fans?" Milano said. "But he stuck it out. That was pretty cool."
Milano also noticed the Creatures' outsized reaction to Woodson. He said the crowd was much more vocal in its support of Woodson than it had been of Johnson, the Brooklyn Nets coach.
"I've learned over the past couple of (weeks) where the allegiance lies with the rest of the Creatures," Milano said. "l think Section 203 (where the Bleacher Creatures sit) is definitely a Knicks section."