On April 11th, 1975, Steve Rosner was supposed to be in school, but the junior at Bayonne High School in New Jersey had other plans. Instead of going to classes, and without informing his parents, Rosner and a friend hopped on the 55s bus from Bayonne into New York City and then made their way over to Shea Stadium.
“A friend of mine and I decided that we were going to cut school and we’re going to make our way to the Yankee game,” recalled Rosner.
The Yankees were playing at Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated and it was in Flushing that year when Rosner began quite a streak. It was the Bombers home opener and the Yankees lost to the Tigers 5-3. That day was significant because it began a streak of consecutive Yankee home openers for Rosner that will stretch to 45 on Thursday when the Yankees host the Orioles in the Bronx.
Rosner is as pumped up for Thursday as he was for any of the 44 prior home openers that he’s been to.
“I’m always excited for opening day,” said Rosner, the Co-Founder of 16W Marketing and one of the sports industry’s top representatives for sportscasters. “For me, it’s come to be a big time tradition for me. Tradition is big for me. I’m a sports fan regardless of being in the business or not.”
45 straight Yankee home openers is a pretty impressive streak, but that’s not the only tradition that Rosner has been able to maintain. An avid Jets fan, Rosner has been to forty straight Gang Green home openers along with a thirty year run of going to games in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
After his Yankees streak started in 1975, Rosner skipped school again in 1976 to go to the Yankees’ first home opener in the renovated Yankee Stadium and for the second straight year, he didn’t tell his parents. Years later, as the streak began to grow, Rosner admitted to his parents just how the streak started.
“I had told them at one point when the streak started getting up there,” said Rosner. “I informed them that I did have a streak and it started in high school. I was a young adult by then so they couldn’t punish me.”
It should be noted that Rosner wouldn’t have been able to get away with playing hooky from school these days. Let’s just say if my son Bradley tried to pull a stunt like that when he gets to high school in a couple of years, my wife Sheryl and I will know about it because the school app on our phones will tell us he’s not in school and the Life 360 app on Bradley’s phone will tell us he’s at the ballgame.
So Rosner, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday, was able to get the streak started successfully without his parents knowing.
Rosner, who represents the likes of Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, Ron Darling and Bob Papa, will take his seat at Yankee Stadium on Thursday with his streak of consecutive home openers intact although the streak almost ended a few times.
In 1993, the Yankees home opener was on a Monday and Rosner was in New Orleans for the NCAA Final Four. He flew back to New York on Sunday night and then went to the Yankees home opener before getting on a plane back to New Orleans in time for the NCAA Tournament final which was the game when Michigan’s Chris Webber called timeout when the Wolverines didn’t have one.
The following year, it was a similar situation with Rosner attending the 1994 Final Four in Charlotte and the Yankees home opener again scheduled for Monday afternoon with the national championship game set for Monday night.
No problem for Rosner!
“I was in Charlotte and took a 6am flight (Monday morning) and went to the game and then flew back down,” said Rosner.
The third close call was in 2008 when Rosner was representing (and still does) Virginia defensive end Chris Long in his draft year. Rosner had to be at the NFL owners meetings in Florida for an evening meeting with Long and the Patriots. The problem was that the Yankees final home opener at old Yankee Stadium was scheduled for the same day at 1pm.
Rosner had only one option to take of business while also keeping his Yankees streak gong.
“The only way that I could get there was if I chartered a private plane which I ended up doing,” said Rosner.
As it turns out, the Yankees home opener was postponed because of rain, so Rosner headed down to the Florida for the meeting on that private plane and was back in the Bronx the next day for the rescheduled home opener. A lot of things have had to go right for Rosner to keep his home opener streak going and given how busy he is with his business you just never know what could come up.
So people recently started to make sure that he would be in the Bronx on Thursday.
“I started getting a lot of texts (Tuesday) with how many is this or tell my you’re going,” said Rosner. “All of my friends know about the streak so that makes it fun as well.”
Over the years, the Yankees have played some really memorable opening days that Rosner likes to reminisce about like the 1996 home opener in the snow with Andy Pettitte on the mound and the Yankees beating the Royals 7-3. Then in 1997, the Yankees won a 17-13 slugfest against the A’s. And in 2003, Hideki Matsui celebrated his first game in Yankee Stadium with a grand slam against the Twins in a 7-3 Yankees win.
This year, Rosner is hoping for another Yankees win on Opening Day to begin what is expected to be a season where the Yankees are one of the favorites to win it all.
“They’ll be in the mix,” said Rosner. “I have confidence in this management and ownership team. I think they’re really good. They have one of the strongest bullpens in baseball so the way this game is being played these days, that’s major.”
While Thursday marks his 45th consecutive Yankees home opener, Steve Rosner is not really that far away from trading in what would be a Sapphire Anniversary milestone for a Golden Anniversary celebration.
In five years, Rosner could be at his 50th consecutive Yankees home opener.
“I’m just hoping I’m here,” chuckled Rosner. “I take it a year at a time. Milestones are good things but it’s more about the totality of it than the individual number.”
Rosner’s streak of 45 straight home openers is very impressive and he’s certainly happy about it. But for now, Rosner has some other numbers and milestones in mind when it comes to the Yankees in 2019. 100 wins, an American League East title, a 41st American League championship and World Series victory number 28.