Probably more than anyone, Sweeny Murti appreciates the parallels between the New York Yankees and Penn State.
In October, Murti ’92 finished his 14th season as the Yankees beat reporter for WFAN, the biggest sports radio station in the country. He was the perfect guy, in other words, to pen a chapter a few years ago for The Great Book of Penn State Sports Lists arguing why the Nittany Lions and Yankees have the best uniforms in sports. Needless to say, when looking for someone who could explain just how cool it’ll be to see our blue and white on that famous field in the Bronx, Murti was the guy we called.
And yes, he’s excited.
“I’ve joked with Yankee people for years, even at the old stadium, ‘The New York Giants played here, the most famous game ever was played here, you should have an exhibition game. Joe Paterno’s a Brooklyn guy, you oughta get him out here,'” Murti says now. “And then the day the bowl ban was lifted, I joked with some friends of mine—’Pinstripe Bowl, here we come.’ And now, here it is. It’s pretty cool.”
There’s a lot that figures to make the Nittany Lions’ New York trip a special one, not least the presence of 32,000 Penn State alumni living in the NYC metro area alone. There’s also the fact of a game played in a famous city—at an iconic stadium that only rarely hosts (American) football—that neatly bookends Penn State’s season opener in Dublin. “It’s not a typical bowl trip,” Murti says. “It’s not a trip to the beach, and you can’t really tailgate. The way to do it is stay in the city, take the subway up. There’s so many great tourist things to do in New York, and around the stadium, you’ve got the neighborhood and all the old bars. It’s a cool place to be.”
More to the point, Murti says, “There are so many bowl games in some faceless corporate-named stadium, and you don’t even know where it is. This game, you know where it is. The setting just changes things. It’s a unique spot.”
Yes, he’s biased. The team he covers and the program he loves have a lot in common: famous home fields, a long winning tradition, and, of course, a taste for classic threads. For Murti, something about that last one rings especially true. “I heard a story once that Joe went to see the Yankees in the World Series as a kid, and he saw them come out in those uniforms, and that was the visual he had in mind for Penn State’s jerseys—classic and unique,” Murti says. “There’s going to be something very cool about seeing that uniform in that stadium.”