New York Yankee hits New Zealand home run
26 Jan 2011
It’s holiday time in New Zealand for New York Yankee major league baseball superstar Curtis Granderson.
The baseballer - who is in New Zealand to help Baseball New Zealand develop younger players - has taken time out with a couple of friends for a three-day break in Auckland and Queenstown.
Harleys, New Zealand wine, beer and food, and a couple of signature Queenstown adventure activities are all on the menu for the New Zealand visit.
Granderson’s game plan
Granderson began his three-day holiday today (26.01.2011) on the back of a Harley Davidson for a morning adventure riding along Auckland’s wild west coast - renowned for its surfing, beaches and rainforest-covered hills.
The trio then flew over the Waitemata Harbour to Auckland’s boutique wine region of Waiheke Island for lunch at Cable Bay vineyard, followed by a tasting at the popular Wild on Waiheke brewery.
The holiday game plan will move to the South Island during the next couple of days in Queenstown - New Zealand’s year-round alpine adventure hub - where jetboating and a trip down the world’s steepest flying fox at Ziptrek is on the schedule.
They will also enjoy arguably New Zealand’s best burger - the Fergburger, and should be blown away by the breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range from their luxury accommodation at - an exclusive five-bedroom villa on the hills above Queenstown.
Curtis Granderson has a strong following and is sharing his experiences in New Zealand with his large social media fan base (60,000 Facebook followers and 15,000-plus Twitter followers), as well as blogging every detail.
Blog comments include his impressions of the traditional Māori welcome that he received at Auckland airport: "I was greeted by a Māori traditional dance and song. It was so incredible to be a part of that. I guess they don't do those very often at the airport, so I definitely felt honored."
He has also picked up a new pre-game tradition to take back home - New Zealand’s famed Māori chant, the haka.
"This might be one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The New Zealand team walks across the diamond before the game starts and does a tribal dance ... Only this is more intimidating and includes a lot of heavy breathing, yelling and some pretty mean stares. Maybe we could do that in Fenway Park this year!"
Kiwi sporting stars
Granderson’s nine-day visit started holding coaching clinics in Auckland, and so far he has been impressed with New Zealand’s baseball talent: "... the teams seemed really prepared, and their athletic ability was even stronger than I originally thought," said Granderson.
The baseballer has also met some of New Zealand’s greatest sporting stars, including Blackcap cricketers Darryl Tuffey and Scott Styris.
Granderson’s visit is being followed by Yankees TV. Video footage of Granderson meeting New Zealand sport stars, friendly locals and his coaching clinics will air in the US once the baseball great returns home.
Background: Curtis Granderson
Curtis Granderson’s illustrious past includes signing a five-year, US$30.25 million deal with the Lakeland Tigers. He was selected for the 2009 All Star Game when he hit a triple in the top of the 8th inning, and eventually scored the winning run.
In December 2009, Granderson joined the New York Yankees in a three-team trade. He went on to hit a home run in his first bat for the Yankees, against the Boston Red Sox.
Granderson, who has been involved with a number of charities, has his own foundation - The Grand Kids Foundation, established in 2008, focuses on education. It aims to enforce educational initiatives in youth, and to help take the sport of baseball back into US inner cities. The baseball star is also involved in an anti-obesity effort sponsored by US First Lady Michelle Obama.
In recognition of his charity work, Granderson was chosen as the 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year by the Major League Baseball Players' Association.
Curtis Granderson’s blog
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