Whether or not you recognize the name Bald Vinny Milano, you're likely familiar with his work if you've attended a game in the Bronx in recent years — either in the form of the first-inning roll call that he led, or the T-shirts he sold prior to the game on River Avenue. But there will be a changing of the guard in the Yankee Stadium bleachers next year, as Milano says in a post on his blog that he won't be returning to Section 203 in the right-field bleachers in 2012.
We'd encourage Stadium regulars to read all of Milano's post, but here's an excerpt:
The biggest reason for me to not return is the lack of stability my chosen career path affords. When this business began, I was single and living alone. These days I have an amazing wife by my side and two of the most beautiful children one could lay eyes on. It is simply impractical for me to continue under my current set of circumstances. I can not rely on the weather to cooperate or for the Yankees to win in order to bring home a paycheck. That was acceptable in the past, but my priorities have changed. I need to take care of my family.
He goes over everything that factored into his decision, talking about how his lack of licensing limited his T-shirt business, or how his year spent on the YES's Ultimate Road Trip reality show almost crippled him financially. But like we said, you can read the whole thing on his blog.
If you're worried about the future of the roll call, however, don't be: Filip Bondy — the Daily News columnist who wrote a book on the Bleacher Creatures a few years back — reports that the tradition will live on. From Bondy's blog:
Tina Lewis, queen of the bleachers, sounds a lot like Joe Girardi in October when she says she will appoint a Roll Call leader "on a game-to-game basis."
"We'll see if Vinny comes back, but eventually I may have to name a successor," Lewis said Tuesday.
If you've never seen him up close, here's Milano in action, leading the roll call at the final game at the old Yankee Stadium. And yes, that's Spike Lee in front of him, filming it all.