There are the ladies who lunch in Manhattan, and then there is the guy who lunches with Derek Jeter.
A self-professed, lifelong Yankee fan, New York City police officer Chris Moroni lived out every sports fan’s ultimate dream Friday – taking his son, father and brother to meet The Captain for lunch, taking a tour of Yankee Stadium, and the four watching the Bombers play the Blue Jays from Jeter’s private suite.
Not a bad day for the scrapbook.
“It’s incredible,” Moroni said as he took in batting practice near the Yankees dugout, his 6-year-old son Tyler, father Albert and brother Brian nearby. “This is really all for my son. For the rest of his natural life, if anybody tells him a baseball story, he wins. He’s got ‘em beat.”
For Moroni, who lives in Yonkers but works in East Harlem’s 25th Precinct, it all started about a month ago, when he heard a promotion being offered through Jumbow.com: donate to Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and get a chance to spend the day with the retiring shortstop, lunch included.
“Unfortunately, I was only able to afford $100 (donation),” Moroni said. “Fortunately, for me, that’s all it took.”
Jumbow.com’s founder, Billy Ceisler, said when it was time to tally the winner, a computer randomly selected one name. Turns out it was Moroni, a 34-year-old father of three. Tyler is his only son, and the father has already converted his son into a diehard Yankee fan.
There were no limits on questions they could ask Jeter at lunch, but Moroni did steer clear of a few topics.
“I did not ask him when he was getting married. I figured it was a little too personal,” Moroni joked. “I asked him what his favorite world championship was, who was his favorite teammate he played with (Jorge Posada), and the craziest fan story. I don’t feel comfortable talking about that one.”
Jeter said they ate at midtown’s Chin Chin, which Moroni called “very good Chinese cuisine.”
“It was a cool experience,” Jeter said. “He had a nice son, his brother, and his dad.” Jeter said he has done similar types of lunches or meetings with fans over the years, events that were connected with Turn 2.
When Moroni, a six-year NYPD veteran, got the call from Ceisler Monday, he at first thought someone was pulling a prank of All-Star proportions. Then reality set in.
“I said, ‘Get outta here,’ and I’m pretty sure there was a bad word in there,” Moroni said. “I thought somebody was pulling my chain. I still couldn’t believe it. I live in a big house of Yankee fans, so it’s pretty incredible. A forever memory and then some.”