Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Over the next several months, Bleeding Yankee Blue will be conducting interviews with my incredible writers.  It's something important that I've wanted to do for a while. So, please take the time and check them out when we release them. They'll be in the MEET THE BYB FAMILY series.  We start with Jeana Bellezza... thanks for being here Jeana...

BYB: Growing up, were you always a Yankee fan? What was the first memory that secured that fate?

Jeana Bellezza:  I wasn't always interested in baseball. When I finally understood it that is when I started taking an interest in it. When I was younger I have more memories of my dad cheering "Let's Go Met's Go!" through the house before any real game memories. 

My first Yankee memory is watching Mariano Rivera leave the mound and watching John Wetteland come in. I was watching on TV and saw a little boy holding up an "Ice Man" sign. I remember the crowd was going crazy. It's crazy to think about now because now I realize just how much I have seen in my lifetime. 

BYB: Did you always have a passion for writing and tell me about the writing jobs you've had in the past.  Also, tell the BYB audience how you stumbled across BYB and eventually became a writer for us.

Jeana Bellezza: I have always been interested in writing. I remember winning a poetry contest in grade school and reading the winning poem during a school assembly. I guess that is what started it all. My parents still have that poem somewhere. I guess my first gig came in High School when I joined the Yearbook staff. I wrote a few stories and became a copy editor. I remember reading BYB just in the beginning for fun when I found out one of my Facebook friends was a writer here. He knew I liked to read the stories and eventually he convinced me to work for BYB as a copy editor. I did that for awhile before I took a chance and wrote my own story for BYB on a whim. I never expected it to be published, though. I'm glad I took the risk.  

BYB: We know you like Mark Teixeira. But who is your all time favorite New York Yankee ever and why? 

Jeana Bellezza: This is a hard one. My favorite old school Yankee would have to be Yogi Berra. I love his yogi-isms and I actually like to relate them to life outside of baseball. He was talented as a player and with his words, and as a writer I can really appreciate that. 

My favorite modern day Yankee would have to be Derek Jeter. I have watched him from the beginning and now I know how special he is. He really is a leader, humble, and a class act. I would hope to leave the same impression on someone else in my lifetime. I really don't think there will be anyone else like him.

 BYB: Your father's a Mets fan. Your mother is a Yankee fan.  How did you become a Yankee fan?

Jeana Bellezza: My dad will tell you he is a "New York" fan but he always favors the Mets over the Yankees given a choice. I am surprised that I am not a Mets fan considering my Uncle Joe is also a HUGE Mets fan. When I was a baby the Mets were the team to follow, not the Yankees. I think as I got older and understood the game more the Yankees also grew into a dynasty team. I loved the history and hearing all of the stories about George Steinbrenner.

BYB: What is your all-time favorite memory of a Yankee moment?

Jeana Bellezza: This is an easy one for me. I live so far away from New York. I was born there, and I am a New Yorker at heart but most of the Yankee moments I have are from watching on television. September of 2011 I got to go to Yankee Stadium with our fellow BYB writer Erica Morales. After talking for a couple of years on Facebook I got to meet her face-to-face at a Yankee game....and our love for the Yankees was the whole reason that brought us together. It was fitting. Meeting some of the players was another nice bonus. 

BYB: You once told an adorable story about a little boy in a Dunkin Donuts and your conversation about David Robertson.  Remind the audience of that... 

Jeana Bellezza: This story still makes me smile. I met the most adorable little boy named Brayden. His jersey is what caught my eye because it was a homemade David Robertson jersey. We started talking and we bonded over DRob and even my favorite Mark Teixeira. Like me, he also has family members that are Mets fans so it was an instant bond. Just as I think our morning coffee date is over and I am getting ready to leave he runs up to me and tugs on my coat. He handed me this hot pink ring and asked me to marry him. It still makes me smile to this day. I actually ran into him again a year later. Now he is playing little league as an outfielder but he wants to pitch like DRob. I just hope when he becomes that big league pitcher that I will still be the "Coolest old girl in the world."

BYB: Do you think DRob will be back in pinstripes? What's your gut tell you?

Jeana Bellezza: I think DRob will be back next year. He proved himself as a closer this year and I think as good as he is, he will only get better. I think the combination of Dellin Betances and DRob works.....just like in the old days of Wetteland and Mo.   

BYB: 4 years later, BYB is about to hit 3 million visitors.  What goes through your mind when you look at all we've written about and the audience we've created? 

Jeana Bellezza: I feel very blessed. There are a lot of blogs out there. I know I read a lot of them and I know how important it is to connect with your readers. With 3 million visitors it tells me we are doing something right and that people appreciate what we do and that they look for us because they know we are going to have the information they want. It's nice to be a source for people and a way to connect with people who are just like me, huge Yankee fans! If it weren't for all of our readers I honestly don't think I would feel as fulfilled as I do on a professional level.

BYB: What's next for Jeana Bellezza? When you interviewed Meredith Marakovits you mentioned how inspiring she was because she was a female in the sports business... is that something you want to ultimately pursue one day?

Jeana Bellezza: My ultimate dream would be to get back to New York in the near future and be a female sports writer. I am fortunate to have BYB to still do what I love from almost 3,000 miles away. Writing for this site has motivated me to continue writing and continue working towards my goals. I do think interviewing Meredith taught me a lot. She worked hard for many years to get to where she is and I hope that one day I can have my own story and maybe share that with another female writer. Hopefully I can inspire her the same way she did with me. 

BYB: What makes BYB a creative and healthy work environment and why do you enjoy this gig? 

Jeana Bellezza: I cannot begin to explain to people why I am here and why I do what I do. A lot of people I work with at my job know I write on the side as well and they think I am crazy because that is a lot of extra work. The reason I do it though is because this is such a creative outlet and the exact opposite of what I do at my other job. That work is also fulfilling because I am helping other people, but it is also extremely stressful. Coming home and writing is a way to de-stress for me. I can share my ideas and experiences with people who have a common interest as me! A lot of people don't also get to see the great dynamic I think we have as a team. I feel blessed to have made such great connections with other writers like Mike O'Hara...who I love to debate with! We have such different opinions on things but the level of respect that we have for each other is great. Also, thanks to this site I have an extended family. 

I have been so grateful for the opportunity to meet fellow writers Ike Dimitriadis, Erica Morales and Rudy Laurens too. Now they are my family in every sense of the word. They have forever changed my life and I hope they know that. I also have so much gratitude to you as well Casey. You have always encouraged my work as a writer and you have stood by me. I don't think I can express my gratitude enough. 

BYB: Final question. We usually ask every person we interview if they read BYB. Since you work here... my question is simple... to your memory... what was the first BYB article you read.... and what do you remember about it?

Jeana Bellezza: The first story I read was called WHY IN THE WORLD? about Sergio Mitre. I remember laughing about the dialogue at the end and thinking how creative and still informative the entry was. Real fact and humor....it doesn't get much better than that.

Thank you Jeana for being solid all these years. You are a terrific writer, you write with passion and a desire and we love you here at BYB.  I personally appreciate your hard work.

I hope you enjoyed this ladies and gentlemen.  Who's next? Stay tuned...

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