Everyone has a sports story. As part of my mission to create peace in the world between sports fans and non-sports fans, I am doing a set of interviews of people on both sides of the line. Whether you’re a die-hard fan with their favorite player’s face tattooed onto their body or someone who is not a fan but whose life intersects with sports in some way, you have a valuable story to tell. Sign up today to tell your story on our easy to use booking page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Craig Caruso. A VoIP employee during the day and a mobile app designer by night, Craig finds time between to follow his home town teams — or at least three of them. Staten Island born and bread, Caruso has his choice of the New York teams and some choice words about the rest. In his photo, Craig is wearing a the bacon logo of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs on his hat and a shirt that supports New York Yankees third baseman, Alex Rodriguez. You can read a synopsis of our interview below or listen to it in full here.
Name: Craig Caruso
- New York Yankees
- New York Jets
- New York Rangers
Born and lives in: Staten Island, NY
Do you have any sports superstitions?
No, not really. I try to wear my jersey when I can, just to be in the spirit with the team.
What is your earliest sports memory?
It’s funny, I’m a Yankees fan but my first game that I ever went to as a kid was a Mets game. It was at Shea. My Dad’s union took everyone at the shop out for a day out at Shea — there was probably a hundred of us — and my dad was like, “Okay, let’s go to your first baseball game.”
Were you a Mets fan at the time?
I really didn’t have a team alliance, I would say, I just went because… at the time I didn’t know better. And then I got into sports and I started growing into certain teams, and liking certain players. I have a superstition — my favorite number is 23 — and then I started watching baseball and I started liking the Yankees and I started liking Don Mattingly and all of a sudden… I started watching baseball a lot.
What did you like about Mattingly?
Just how he led the team. He wasn’t really the captain but… how he led the team, how he played first base, how he commanded himself on the field, the things he did for the Yankees. It’s kind of funny, he never made a World Series championship but they made it the year after he left and the year before he came to the Yankees — they were World Series championship teams.
What do you think sports adds to your life?
Excitement. When you have something in common with a lot of people, you can go to work, you can talk sports with someone, even if you’re not a Jets or a Rangers or a Yankees fan, there’s always that commonality with people about what teams they like. I work in NJ and there’s a lot of Philly fans — it’s that commonality you have: Did you see the game last night? Did you see the hit? Did you see the pass? Who are the Phillies playing tonight? It’s the commonality that really brings people together.
If it wasn’t sports, what would our common language be?
Probably technology. I think we would be talking more about coding, design, UI, and UX. You know, all the other crazy things we do at work. And I think that would probably connect us more than sports — love of technology.
Do you think you miss out on anything in life because of sports?
No. Am I sitting in front of a game every night? No. I think with the day and age that we live in, we’re always somewhat connected to our phones or Apple watches. Life is more important than one game. Baseball is 162 games, I don’t have to watch every single one. I think some people over-obsess about sports. You know, “I gotta watch the Yanks, I gotta watch the game.” No, you have to prioritize your life on what really comes first. If it’s Game Seven, Stanley Cup, and the Rangers are in it, that takes a little priority but you don’t have to watch every Yankees game.
On going to Jets games with his father:
He’s a football fan, not necessarily a Jets fan or a Giants fan. He’s a football fan. If he could get the NFL package wherever he was, he would watch every game, every Sunday. But he goes with me because he knows I enjoy it, we enjoy it together, and seeing football live is more fun than watching it on TV.
What is the best part of seeing football live?
The atmosphere, the environment. People laugh — Jets fan, Jets fan — but there’s nothing more exhilarating than seeing that Jets chant live with Fireman Ed, and getting the crowd really rowdy, and not rowdy, but in your face. And the opposing players know you’re in Met Life stadium. You know you’re in the home of the Jets. I’m a Yankees fan and I go to maybe 10-15 games a year. It’s not like that. It’s two different sports but — I’m a Bleacher Creature, I do roll call, I sit with the Yankee fans in the outfield — but there’s nothing more exhilerrating than being at a Jets game and hearing chants going for four quarters.
I dropped basketball completely many years ago, I don’t even watch it anymore.
Why did you stop watching basketball?
What was it about Jordan?
Everything. The shots he’s taken — just seeing a player like that, working with the Bulls, passing to Pippen. He used his weapons and he could always count on his weapons. If it’s a pass to Pippen, he knows Pippen is going to get it in. If it’s Rodman defending… Luc Longly. All those players. And they know if they have the ball, they know they can pass it back to Jordan to make the shot. Just seeing him running up and down the court, back and forth. And hustling, not giving up. There’s no player that hustles like Jordan or hustled like Jordan.
What would you like non-sports fans to understand about sports or sports fans?
We have a passion for a lot of things. Come to a game with us. We have a passion for our teams and there are times you have to — if you’re a non-sports fan — you just have to get into it a little bit to cheer your team on, even if it’s the Rangers or the Jets or the Yankees or even the Mets who are doing excellent this year. Just embrace it, and try it, if you don’t like it, great, sure, no harm no foul, but give it a chance. Embrace your team, embrace your city. You don’t have to fall in love with the Yankees. Embrace the city and, especially in NY — NY goes crazy when our teams start winning. Embrace it — be happy for everyone else.
What is your favorite stadium food?
I actually have to admit — I do go to some Mets games and I think the Mets have the best collection of foods — and [the best is] probably Shake Shack. It’s funny — I’m a die hard Yankees fan and I always will be, but I’m rooting for the Mets this year. Listen, Yankees stadium will always be Yankees stadium but I think Yankee stadium was built as more of a memorial and a museum to the older players. You go to Citi field and it’s like an amusement park. If you want Chinese, sushi, pizza, you have your options. I feel like Yankee Stadium does not have enough food options or variety. Even across from Shake Shack, there’s a Mexican place that’s amazing.
If you could be any type of professional athlete, what would it be?
I think my favorite would probably be a defensive end or a center, like a Nick Mangold center. You have the upper body strength, yeah you have the weight to you, but you have the upper body strength and the lower body strength to run through a brick wall.