Pinstripe Bowl Gets Some Weather Issues to Work Around for Inaugural Game
New Yorkers woke to a city blanketed in snow Monday morning, and many believe there's no better place during Christmas and New Year's than New York City for that reason and many others.
Yet, the unpredictable New York weather is already testing the inaugural New York Era Pinstripe Bowl by throwing it a curveball -- or should we say snowball?
While the heaviest December snowfall in six decades left travelers in the Big Apple and the northeast struggling amid waist-high drifts and blinding winds, officials with New Era Pinstripe Bowl quickly regrouped and rescheduled some of the day's events.
"We are doing great," Mark Holtzman, New York Yankees Executive Director of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, told FanHouse Monday afternoon.
"We've barely missed a beat with the snow. When you get 18 inches of snow, there are going to be a few challenges, but they were prepared for it."
Kansas State meets Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. It's expected to be sunny with temperatures in the mid-30s for kickoff -- downright balmy after what the northeast has dealt with the past few days.
The snowstorm, which whistled into New York mid-day Sunday, dumped between 18 and 24 inches of snow -- with 29 inches reported in parts of Staten Island -- and winds gusts up to 60 mph.
Kansas State arrived before the storm Sunday, followed by a 70-minute bus ride through New York City. Instead of practicing at Columbia University on Sunday afternoon, Kansas State was forced to hold a walk-through at the hotel where it is staying.
"We landed, but I thought we were still in the clouds," Kansas State long snapper Corey Adams said. "We didn't see the runway until we hit."
Syracuse's travel party of coaches, staff and about 20 players marked its arrival on Sunday by taking a train from Syracuse to New York City's Penn Station. Remaining players arrived on Monday.
"I didn't panic at all," said Syracuse senior defensive tackle Mike Holmes of his travel delays. "I was actually on a flight that made it halfway to New York and then turned around. Things worked out. The coaches did a great job of changing our itineraries and everything."
Holmes, by the way, arrived by rental car, driving 13 hours with graduate assistant Stephen Brown from Charlotte, N.C. Many of the roads were covered in snow so "we only were going 40 miles per hour sometimes, but I am here.," Holmes said.
The Wildcats held their first practice at 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Timex Performance Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., while Syracuse University held its first practice with whatever players it had available around 4 p.m.
Several events scheduled for Monday were rescheduled, but it appears that bowl preparations will be able to continue in a more normal fashion by Tuesday.
For instance, The New Era Pinstripe Bowl will hold its official kickoff event Tuesday at the Times Square Visitor Center. The event, which will feature Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, bowl and school officials as well as cast members from the five-time Tony-nominated musical Rock of Ages, was rescheduled from Monday.
Holtzman doesn't foresee any obstacles from the snow and wind in getting Yankee Stadium ready for the game, saying bowl officials were prepared for Mother Nature. While many might argue that bowl games are better suited for a warmer climate, New York City is back in the bowl business -- and proud of it.
"At the end of the day, there is no reason why this shouldn't be a big-time bowl in the New York metropolitan area," said Holtzman, who was born and raised in New Jersey.
"There are so many great events going on that it's going to be a very special week. The New York-Christmas week is a very special week."
While Syracuse coach Doug Marrone admitted it was difficult to begin bowl preparations without his entire team, he also is looking forward to Thursday's game.
"Everyone's safe. We know where everyone is and we have everything ready to go," Marrone said Monday.
"The game plans are already in. It's just a matter of making sure you refresh the game plans and build up to the game. ... I am not going to sit here and create excuses for why we're not going to be able to perform well. We're looking forward to going out and performing well, going out and executing, and winning the football game."
The Pinstripe Bowl will mark the first NCAA bowl in the Bronx since Nebraska beat Miami (Fla.) 36-34 in the Gotham Bowl in 1962.
Notre Dame defeated Army on Nov. 20, 2010, in front of a sold out crowd of 54,201 -- the largest crowd yet at the current Yankee Stadium. Additionally, the Stadium will also host a series of Army home football games vs. Rutgers in 2011, Air Force in 2012 and Boston College in 2014.
The Big East and Big 12 have agreed to participate in the Pinstripe Bowl through 2013.