Surf King Bunger Leaves in Style

It wasn’t a funeral , it was a party and a celebration of life. There wasn’t enough time in the day because there were just so many people that wanted to show thier love and respect to thier surf king Charlie Bunger. People came from as far as Hawaii to honor this terrific individual who exemplified to me how to properly live life.

There were politicians, film actors , stage and film producers , people just from all walks of life who had one thing in mind , to honor a really nice  man.

The party started at Boyd Spencer Funeral Home where the line to get in at 2 pm was almost immediate. I couldn’t give you an exact number of people there. I can only say that it was truly wall to wall.

There was music and cookies and drinks. That’s how Charlie wanted it. For me the funniest quote of the day was when an attorney friend of ours walked in and he said that he didn’t know he was attending a Beach Boys concert. Most people were dressed in flowered shirts and shorts. Most people had flowered lays around thier necks and most of the conversation centered around the fun and escapades of this life loving person.

After the afternoon session ended they took Mr Bunger to his home in West Gilgo Beach for a little party at the beach. Every one followed the hurst to the West Gilgo Inn for a few beers and more celebration of life. There were even more people there and we all started chanting Charlie Bunger, Charlie Bunger. Tons of pictures were taken and when we drove by his home there were surfers there holding their surf boards in the air as the long black hurst drove through them.

When we got back to the funeral home, the lines were already forming.

The evening session was even more crazier. You could of used double the space. I failed to mention that surf boards were lined against the walls and instead of signing the book as you walk in people got to sign the surf boards. One of the surf boards was even signed by President Trump.

I unfortunately have attended many funerals in my life. I must say that l have never attended a funeral like this and this was the opinion of most there.  I don’t know how many people say that this is how I want to go out. Well this is how Charlie wanted it and I have to give his wife Janet and his family credit for allowing Charlie to have one final dream come true.

This was who Charlie was. Even in death he wanted everyone else to have a great time.

I didn’t know it was possible for people to have a great time at a funeral, but leave it to good old Charlie to make that happen. Charlie even picked one final song that his wife and daughters  and family danced to, Some where over the Rainbow.

Charlie Bunger financially was not a wealthy man but at one point during her speech his daughter Theresa asked by a show of hands how many people at one point or another had worked for Charlie and the number was staggering. Some of these people are very wealthy and credit Charlie for giving them a foundation in life. Charlie was very proud of being a mentor to so many of these kids. I guess that made him a very rich man.

WOW  his dream really did come true!

Happy Birthday America

Today I wake up on the 4th of July and the first thing in my mind is naturally being a Yankee, that it’s George Steinbrenner’s birthday.

He would of been 88 years old. He is missed by so many. I can only imagine what his family feels. People that he didn’t even know in the Bronx were always touched by his surprise kind gestures. (That’s a story for another day).
I think of my father in law Charlie Bunger, the king of surfing. We lost Charlie on Monday because of Cancer. He died a multi millionaire not in money but in heart and soul.

I think of Billy Martin who to me was the best manager ever. This was without all the mathematical techniques that are used today. For me personally Billy thought me that it was ok to fight back. He was the first Yankee to tell me that he loved me.

I think of Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer. They were like brothers and they made this Puerto Rican boy always feel like a part of their family.

I think of my dear pal John Szponar who we lost last week. John was our Community director in Tampa. John had to deal with the most powerful owner in the history of sports (Mr. Steinbrenner). The Boss always had his hands in the community and when he had to sound off because he never felt like he did enough, John had to take the brunt of it. Like I said in the past he took it with dignity and always loved the Boss.

I think of my mom and step dad. They were born with two strikes against them but as long as they had a bat in their hands they always had a chance to get a hit, in more ways than one.
They are all gone now and I miss them so very much. It took everyone of these people and more to mold me into the person I am today.

The one thing that they all truly had in common was that they were so damn proud to be an American!

I am eternally grateful to them for imbedding that into my brain.

No matter how bad you may think these streets are(and they are) This is still the greatest country in the world.

Happy Birthday America, and the home of the brave!

“Batboy” Is An Enjoyable Take On The 1970s Yankees

By Joe McDonald

Ray Negron’s “Bayboy: A Yankee Miracle” debuted yesterday at the Argyle Theater in Babylon. The one-show, sold-out, engagement could have been called a test for a larger run later on.

Sure, there were some mistakes and some tightening up needs to be done. That was to be expected, but it’s safe to say, Negron has something here. “Batboy” is a very interesting lookback to the Yankees of the 1970s, when he served as batboy for George Steinbrenner.

The play is broken into a number vignettes about the top stories of the 1970s Yankees with Reggie, Billy, George and Thurman Munson taking center stage. Joseph Gian was exceptionally good as Munson along with Denise Cormio, who played his wife Diana.

Negron was narrator of the event, opening and closing it as a town hall event and then introducing each segment.  The Yankees are seen though his eyes, how they unfolded for a youngster in his 20s, who was thrusted into stardom with the rest of the team.

Because of Negron’s stature, there were a few notable cameos. Ciaran Sheehan, from “Phantom of the Opera,” played Bobby Murcer and former Yankee centerfielder Mickey Rivers, played the younger version of himself.

It was an enjoyable few hours on a Sunday afternoon, but again it was a work in progress and ultimately further showings in other venues will tighten up the hiccups in this first version.

The play is a must for all Yankee fans, baseball fans or those who want to be entertained. Hopefully there will be a longer engagement in the near future.

Ciaran Sheehan To Play Bobby Murcer In “Batboy”

By Joe McDonald

Ray Negron’s “Batboy: A Yankee Miracle” premieres Sunday at the Argyle Theater in Babylon and he is going to have some star power behind it.

Ciaran Sheehan, famous for Phantom of the Opera, will be playing Bobby Murcer in the play.

“As a Yankee fan, it’s an honor to play Bobby Murcer, who was one of my idols,” Sheehan said.

Dublin born Sheehan is an acclaimed actor, singer, voice healer whose performances have been said to warm the heart and touch the soul. There is an amazing quality to his voice and his ability to capture an audience is nothing short of remarkable. Sheehan has many professional accomplishments to his credit, most notably playing the role of The Phantom in “The Phantom of The Opera” for over 1,000 performances on Broadway and in Toronto. But perhaps of more importance than his accomplishments is his sincere desire to use his incredible talents to inspire others to look within themselves to discover their own inner beauty.

The play will open at 2 pm on Sunday June 24, 2018 and tickets are on sale at the box office or online.

Special Prayers for Surfing’s King Bunger

Charllie Bunger, the world renown King of surfing, is in critical condition at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Long Island. Charlie has been in remission from lymphoma, a cancer of the blood for the past three years. Sunday he somehow ruptured his spleen and had to go in for emergency surgery. He lost almost five liters of blood, which is almost unheard of. If you know Charlie Bunger at all then you know why he is still alive. Charlie is a lion on a surf board and the true heart and soul of the Bunger Surf and Sports shop in Babylon Village. Next to Plessers Electronics, the oldest business in Babylon Village.

The Surfing community worldwide has been calling texting and more importantly praying for Charlie Bunger.

Some people think that I have a special contact in my prayers to God, well I don’t. However if I did in some way then I’m gonna use up a few prayers to ask God to let us keep

Charllie around for a little while longer. This world is definitely not ready to be without him.

Charlie is a member of the International Surfing Hall of Fame and has proudly represented all fans of surfing in a wonderful and dignified way for over fifty years.

A long time Yankee fan, my father in law actually caught national attention when he dove onto the sacred old Yankee Stadium field chasing a foul ball during the playoffs in 2002.

Get well soon King!

Ray Negron’s Yankees Batboy Tales

Hank Swings for Kids. 

Hank Steinbrenner received an award from Bronx and Brooklyn youth organizations including Hanks Yanks in the Bronx and Quebradilla little league in Brooklyn. Ray Aguila, President of Puerto Rico USA Imports says that when you have someone the magnitude of Mr Steinbrenner behind you it gives our children incredible hope for a bright future and our parents can’t thank him enough for being behind our children.

Carlos Feliciano Who for the last 17 years has served as the President of the Quebradilla little league says that Mr Steinbrenner’s spiritual support means a great deal for the little league but it also means a great deal for the Bushwick community as well.

Ray Aguila who was one of the first responders in Puerto Rico during the hurricane and feed thousands thru his company (Puerto Rico USA Imports) has been supporting many City little leagues for the last 25 years. This coming Saturday will mark the opening of the Littleleague season in New York. If you don’t have tickets to the Yankee game then go to your local Little league
program and root the future on.

Batboy Tales Most Valuable Player.

My MVP award is based on the week starting Monday and ending Sunday.

That being the case I have to give this weeks MVP to Gary Sanchez. I’m not a giant analytics guy at all. I’m as old school as you can get. It’s about winning and losing. No in betweens. This is something that

Thurman Munson use to preach in the clubhouse all the time. This past week Mr Sanchez hit two giant home runs to win big games for our Bronx Bombers. Not to mention the numerous runs batted in. The thing I love about Gary is that with all his success he still makes all his friends that have been there since the Dominican Republic,feel like they are a big part of it.

Don’t change my friend!

Nine wins in a row.

The Yankees won nine games in a row in a total team effort. Someone once said that hitting is contagious. Well another wise prophet once said that winning is contagious. Dellin Betances who has had early season problems on the mound has had a couple of very good outings during the winning streak. When asked by a friend what’s the difference between now and then he said that baseball is a mind game and confidence is the key to anything in life. That being said ,I agree with Dellin wholeheartedly and must add that with his ability if Dellin is right there is no telling how far this team can go.

Mariano Rivera Gets Another Save 

Mariano Rivera was credited with another save when he appeared at the Smithtown  Gospel Tabernacle church in Smithtown Long Island. He spoke the word of the lord in such a profound way that many people suffering from their own issues really found comfort in the delivery of his words. There were people of all walks of life there. One person in particular was a young man by the name of Nick Singh from Suffolk Community College. Nick has had many personal issues and has had moments where he just wasn’t happy. I’m not going to get into any of the problems that Nick shared with me. I will only say that even though there were hundreds of people there Mariano made Nick feel like he was the only person in the room. I asked Nick what was the most important message that he got from Mariano and Nick said that he must trust the word of the lord. Nick said it wasn’t the words ,it was how he held my hand and looked into my eyes. At that point I really trusted the word of the lord. Now more than ever I want to be able to help thy fellow man.

Good job Mariano.

Good bye David Nelson. 

Former major league player, coach, broadcaster  David Nelson passed away last week. David was a young 73. I first made contact with David and when he was the second baseman for the Billy Martin managed Texas Rangers and I was the Yankee batboy. Billy always said that David was always one of the true gentleman of baseball. Billy considered him a true people’s guy. Billy also said that David was considered one of his team leaders. When the Rangers came into New York I would always take ground balls during batting practice with Lenny Randle and Dave Nelson. On several occasions Billy Martin would actually hit us the ground balls and you can’t imagine how great that felt. I will never forget that before one game David asked me if I was the bat boy that day or the ballboy down the foul line (the bat boys took turns ). I told him I was ball boy that game. He told me that if I wanted to impress the scouts that would be there that day to position myself in the front part of the tarpaulin not the back. This way the foul balls hit in my direction would come at me quicker and scouts would see some form of my ability.

Well during that game in the second inning Chris Chambliss hit a foul ball down the right field line that I made a terrific back hand play. I actually got a nice ovation from the crowd and when I looked over to David Nelson at second base he gave me a nice smile and a tip of the cap. The following year I was drafted in the second round by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Mr Nelson was one of the first to call me and congratulate me. If you didn’t know David Nelson than you missed out on one of the best people that Major League Baseball ever produced.

Negron Stadium Days

Cashman Likes Double play Duo’s Praise for Gleyber.

When I brought it to Brian Cashman’s attention the praise given to one of his star pupils, Gleyber Torres, from the greatest double play combination in the history of the game, Brian smiled and said,” they would know better than anybody. Between Roberto Alomar and Omar Vizquel you are talking about twenty gold gloves and a tremendous amount of knowledge of the overall game of baseball. That’s really something.” When I gave Gleyber the message from the dynamic duo, he smiled and said that he is truly humbled. By the way, congratulations on your first big league hit Mr. Torres.

Severino, a Jokester

Luis Severino has become a clubhouse leader in more ways than one. As a leader in the game, the Thurman Munson’s, Lou Piniella’s and the Ron Guidry’s knew when to be serious, and when to be funny or crazy with their team mates in order to keep the team loose. The other day when Gleyber Torres got his first major league hit off the Minnesota Twins, the umpire threw the ball to the Yankees dugout as a souvenir for the young rookie. Severino had a ball in his hand and as he was catching the ball from the umpire he acted as if he was throwing it into the stands. If you kept your eyes on Torres you would have seen a shocked look in his face. At that point Severino put up the real baseball and everyone in the dugout began to laugh.
Thurman would have laughed too!

Wells Bobble Head Big Hit With Kids


David Wells bobble head night was a great night for all the kids at the Stadium on Monday. Even though Wells didn’t reach home plate when throwing out the first pitch, the kids had a great time with the always so much fun Wells. When the kids got the figurine they couldn’t believe how the face looked so much like the real man. Even though most of the kids weren’t born when Wells threw his last pitch in the big leagues, they just couldn’t get enough of him up in suite six. I don’t think Wells has ever taken so many pictures. David by the way was wonderful to all of them.

YES Boss Checks In On Men

I got to see the big boss of the Yankees Broadcast team John Filippelli enjoying his broadcasters Michael Kay and Paul O’Neill doing their jobs. In between innings I asked the trio for a picture for their fans. I have to admit that even though I’m an old school guy who loved announcers Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer and Bill White, these guys are pretty darn good.

My Mommy the Yankee Cop

Vannessa Delossantos has been a police officer for quite a few years in the south Bronx. When not dealing with street thugs in the neighborhood, she gets a little down time protecting VIP suites at Yankee Stadium. On the night that they gave out the Wells Bobble heads her husband surprised her by purchasing two tickets so that her son could see the Yankees play and see mommy at work and get a bobble head.

WADO am Radio Yankees Spanish Station


If you don’t speak English then you’re listening to WADO. The broadcast team is led by radio legend Ricky Ricardo (no not Lucy’s husband) and Francisco Rivera.

The guy that makes it all happen is producer Rene Luna. I consider Rene an unsung hero. He is one of the most creative and tireless producers that I have been around. I have been around a lot of producers at ESPN Deportes and not too many can hang with this man. I learn by watching because a wise man once told me whatever you can learn at any major university you can learn at the University of Steinbrenner. Well Mr. Steinbrenner was pretty much always right about those things. I know he would agree with me that WADO radio and Spanish speaking Yankee fans are lucky to have Rene and his two legendary announcers.

Ray Negron’s Stadium Tales

On Friday night, the greatest second baseman of all time and Hall of Famer, Roberto Alomar visited Yankee Stadium.

Robbie actually saved me a ticket so that we could do what he loves to do more than anything in the world, talk baseball. We talked about his team, the Blue Jays and we talked about analytics in baseball. I’m going to let you in on a secret, since Robbie was a little boy and his father Sandy was the Yankees second baseman, he has been a Yankee fan. Since Robbie lives in Tampa we get to watch the Yankees when they play the Blue Jays during spring training. The one young player that caught his fancy is the young second baseman Gleyber Torres.

Robbie thinks that this kid is the whole package. The footwork, the hand eye coordination and he has power. The fact that Gleyber is a natural shortstop, Robbie feels that Torres is making the transition to second base very well. If anyone would know it’s the greatest of all time. I told Roberto that I had spoken to Omar Vizque l about Torres and Omar just loves the kid. When you can get such a wonderful endorsement from the greatest double play combination in baseball history I guess you’re doing pretty well and this officially starts the Gleyber Torres era.

A BRONX TALE!

Chazz Palminteri also visited the Stadium on Friday and couldn’t have been more excited. Of the Hollywood and Broadway stars that visit the Yankees I would have to say that Chazz has to be the most knowledgeable of the game and I will also add, the biggest fan. The one ritual that I love about this man is that on every visit he loves to go to the highest level of the upper deck and find a father and his child and give them a signed baseball. It’s a reminder of him and his dad.
Chazz let me in on a secret, his play A Bronx Tale, is going to be making a giant adjustment. Just what that is I will not say at this time or else I will have to deal with Sonny. Stay Tuned.

A SWEET HEART!

Our prayers go out to my wonderful pal and baseball great Cecil Fielder. Cecil is having heart stem surgery this week. If you know Mr. Fielder than you know that he is a real good dude.

THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE!

A special congratulations to Jordan DeLorenzo. Jordan has been serving our country in the United States Air Force and Friday he graduated from the Suffolk County Police Department. He will be joining his brother, my son Jon-Erik Negron, in the 6th precinct. Jordan’s dad Jerry is a retired NYPD. Naturally they are all big time Yankee fans.

THE PRICE OF FRIENDSHIP!

Carlos Beltran visited the Yankee clubhouse this past weekend. Throughout the years you have always heard about the class of this recently retired major league outfielder. One of Carlos’s best friends and a person that Carlos says is more like a brother to him is Portabella Clothing king, Joe Oks. When Carlos received his World Series ring, he had another made up for his longtime pal, Joe. He had an inscription made which reads SUPER JOE. I have heard Carlos say through the years that you cannot pay for that kind of friendship. A beautiful act.

 

 

Living the Dream

Don’t feel badly for Giancarlo Stanton. He may have been the only Yankee without a hit but on the field he has had good at bats and actually just missed hitting a tremendous homer that just went foul into the upper deck in left field. In the clubhouse, he stood in front of the press and handled some good and not so good questions. One of the questions that impressed me came from a writer from the New York Times. He asked Giancarlo if he felt badly for the Florida Marlon players. Stanton responded by saying, “Hey those guys are playing on a major league team and they are living the dream.” I thought that this was a terrific answer. Too many players forget this. Giancarlo also told reporters that the work ethic of Aaron Judge doesn’t surprise him and he was very positive about his other teammates. In talking to Don Mattingly, he says that Stanton is the type of player that will, at different times of the season, carry a team all by himself.

Another guy that has mentally worked hard to try to get his game going is Dellin Betances. Dellin has worked very hard in the bullpen with Larry Rothchild and he looked very impressive against the Marlins. This is a guy that, as we all know, has top closer stuff.

 

Reggie Jackson is recuperating in Tampa after extensive knee surgery during spring training. The Tampa medical staff has done a wonderful job at getting Reggie back on his feet. You would think that they were getting Mr. October ready for the season as if he was still playing. Reggie has spent his down time talking baseball with Yankee Co-Chairman Hank Steinbrenner.

Today I visited a house at 9 Meadow Lane in New Rochelle, New York. This was the home of the great Lou Gehrig, he had purchased the house in 1927 and kept it until his death in 1941. The house is pretty much the same way as Gehrig had kept it. I met the neighbor next door, who had just moved in from Mexico. He asked me the importance of the house and I explained who Lou Gehrig was and that he had lived there.  He looked over at the house and made the Sign of the Cross.  I could almost feel the spirit of the Yankee Iron Horse.

Finally, a special thank you to Music Icon, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Yankee fan, Frankie Valli. Frankie was performing at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut this past weekend. In order to help The Cristian Rivera Foundation, he entertained a small group that donated funds to the foundation.  The Foundation has been fighting for a cure for Pontine Giloma, an inoperable brain tumor located in the stem of the brain, ever since losing little Cristian. Frankie Valli and Maynard Strickland, from the Mohegan Sun Casino, should be commended because they understand what the parents of kids suffering from all forms of pediatric cancer must be going through. Frankie delayed an early exit from the arena after his show in order to be with his friends and supporters of this great cause.

Ray can be heard weekends on the #1 show on ESPN Deportes the World of The Big Leagues. His also writes a weekly column for NY Sports Day, Newsmax and Baseball America.

Like Giancarlo, They Booed the Mick and Ted Too

Ray Negron with Giancarlo Stanton

As hard as it is to believe, two of the most beloved players in baseball were Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams and yet at different times in their careers they were both booed by the fans. When they were asked by the press how it felt, they both responded with the same answer, “Today I stunk and I deserved to be booed.”

Giancarlo Stanton Giancarlo Stanton is the reigning National League most valuable player who, after an incredible first game where he hit two home runs, has had a couple of games in which he has struck out five times. Stanton has heard the booing from the Yankee fans yet just like the Mick and Ted Williams, says that he would have booed also. Stanton said after a game, “I hear them booing but understand the situation.” The one thing that we must remember about this young man is that he truly is a professional hitter. For that matter as Mr. October Reggie Jackson recently said to me, “Stanton is the whole package, don’t worry about him. He will figure things out when he has his rough moments.”  The major league scout that has seen Stanton as much as anyone is Atlanta Braves scout Tom Giordano. T-bone, as he is affectionately known, says that the Mets have had as good a pitching staff as anyone throughout the last few years and he feels that Stanton was always able to do some heavy damage against the Mets and there is no question about the damage that he will do in the American League.

Giancarlo Stanton asked Reggie Jackson, during a hitting session in spring training, if there was anything that Reggie saw that he felt he should work on.  Reggie told me that he told him that his work ethic is so strong and his concentration on the little things is so good. “I didn’t want to mess with him, even though Giancarlo is a power hitter like I was.”

It is also nice to see that the Yankees hierarchy has a full understanding and total support for Giancarlo. It makes the adjustment period that much easier for this very talented and good natured young man.  As I used to say when Reggie was “the man” in the 70s. “I’m just going to strap in and enjoy the ride.”