New York Yankees COO Lonn Trost has been a part of the Organization for parts of 43 seasons. Before that way back in 1963 he sold ice cream as a vendor at the fabled and original Yankee Stadium. Like just about every kid in the city he loved number seven Mickey Mantle. As the team chief operating officer He is careful with the Yankee brand to a fault. His enthusiasm when he talks about the team must be applauded because after so many years he still acts as if he he just got here. After sitting with Lonn and earlier this spring with team President Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman, I have to say that the Bronx Bombers and the Steinbrenner family are going to be a strong force for the Yankee fans for years to come. I hope you enjoy my Q&A with Lonn Trost.
Negron: New York Yankees Lonn Trost. Lonn, how are you number one?
Trost: Doing well, couldn’t be doing better unless we sweep tonight. If we sweep tonight I really will be doing well.
Negron: Now Lonn you built the scenario of this stadium, you’re the architect. How do you feel eight years later after getting into the new building?
Trost: Well fortunately eight years after getting into the building I was really happy, but now since it’s our tenth year, I’m even happier. We came in here in 2009 of January and ‘18 will be starting our tenth year.
Negron: Has this always been your dream to see the New Yankee stadium flourish and championship ball clubs come in and all?
Trost: Well it’s interesting, great question. I have been working for the Yankees for many years, but my first job here, you may not even know this, was selling concessions in the upper deck in left field. I specialized in hot chocolate and ice cream. And fortunately I didn’t do it at the same time because it wouldn’t have worked. But yes in 1963 I started selling concessions.
Negron: I’m going to assume that Mickey Mantle was your favorite player.
Trost: Was there anyone else? Absolutely, absolutely. He in many ways was like Aaron Judge. If he was going to get up sometime within the next inning, you did not go out; you did not go to a restaurant. If you had some place to go, you stayed home until he has his at bat.
Negron: Now I got to ask you the magical question, when you finally met Mickey Mantle how was that experience?
Trost: It was mind-bending. It was an honor, it was an excitement, and you know he was getting honored for years. But meeting Mickey, as well as Whitey and Yogi and the players of that time were very intriguing and I have to say especially Yogi because everything you heard about Yogi and the Yogi-isms. I’d sit with him and we’d watch the game together and I’m listening to real life Yogi-isms. And I said “Yogi, could you believe they called that a strike?” He’d said “looked good to me,” which is the truth with Yogi as people know he was the best bad ball hitter almost anywhere.
Negron: Besides the fact that you work for this magical brand, you were at the old stadium I’ve heard you talked about the spirits that were always there. How do you feel when you see the old park?
Trost: One of our employees and staff members said “we’re taking the spirits with us,” but it’s still an honor to look out here and look at the location where the old park was and know that the children from the neighborhood and the adults from the neighborhood are still using it. They played here where we are; we’re in the park they played, and we’ve just turned it over. We’ve made a beautiful park for the residents and they use it and we can look out there and know that they’re playing on the hallow grounds where not only Mickey and Yogi played, but Joe D was there and Babe and Lou Gehrig. So it’s a marriage that was made in heaven as they say.
Negron: You’ve worked at different law firms and you’ve worked for some incredible people throughout the years. Dumb question, is this the magical job?
Trost: I don’t know how anyone can consider it anything but magical. It’s a job that truly people don’t understand how great it is to be in and honored to have a position such as this, but at the same time you have to function and treat it as a job. I can’t allow the history of the Yankees, the fandom that’s within me. Having worked with the Boss, having spent so many years with him, I’ve started working with the Boss in 1975 and it’s an honor. It’s more than that, I treat that honor with knowing that I get up every day and spend fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, eighteen hours a day here working to make sure every fan that comes in here is treated properly and get what they deserve.
Negron: How do you feel that the fact that you’ve seen the George Steinbrenner kids grow up and essentially they’re your Boss? How do you feel about that?
Trost: Well that’s true. I’ve known Hal since he was a young child and that’s fine I respect him. He is my boss, he is the managing general partner, and age doesn’t matter. He is the boss.
Negron: Last question, a gentleman that I have great respect for in the entertainment business is a gentleman by the name of Mr. Frankie Valli. His guy says that Frankie is the first guy that is always there and he’s always generally the last guy to leave. Now I come into the building you’re always the first guy here, during the game you’re always in your paperwork, you’re always still going at it like a mad man, like a professor trying to get to that next experiment going. Is that how it is?
Trost: That’s how it is, 24/7, 365. This is not a job, this is not a lifestyle, this is my life, and fortunately after 58 years with my wife she understands it. So even if I’m not here, I’m working. And it’s an interesting analogical reference to Frankie Valli who I also know and he’s very close with my wife’s cousin so we’ve had many interesting conversation and I’ve think I’ve seen Jersey Boys more times than he has.
Negron: Could you possibly close this interview with a greeting in Latin, because I know you know some Spanish, so a little something for the fans of ESPN Desportes?
Trost: Que pasa? Do you like that?
Negron: Mr. Lonn Trost, thank you so very much.
Trost: Thank you and I’ll say that in Spanish, merci. Or is that French?
Negron: That’s French, but that’s okay. Mucha gracias.