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New York Yankees legend Darryl Strawberry attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week at a new AT&T store at 205-14 Northern Blvd. in Bayside, which is about equidistant between Flushing, where he helped lead the New York Mets to their 1986 championship, and Douglaston, where he is part owner of Strawberry’s Sports Grill.
The store was decked out with the Bronx Bombers’ logo on balloons in the parking lot and inside the store, which manager Teddy Lee said is stocked with live display phones, meaning customers can try any feature on any device at any given time.
“Before this store opened, people in Bayside would have had to travel to Fresh Meadows or Great Neck to visit an AT&T store,” he added.
Strawberry assisted Lee in cutting a ceremonial ribbon and then signed autographs in a Yankees uniform.
“He won three championships with the Yankees and one with the Mets,” said Robin Verges, a representative for AT&T, which is an official sponsor of the Yankees. “We think he’s more easily identifiable as a Yankee. We welcome everyone to identify him according to their team preference.”
Outside the store, Yankees and Mets fans mingled as they waited for Strawberry to arrive, trading stats and reminiscing about the different sections of the old Shea Stadium.
“At the end of the day, he’s a part of New York baseball history, whether it was the Mets, the Yankees or the Dodgers, which is New York baseball history removed,” said Flushing resident Bill Tousius. “Nowadays, you have to go where the jobs are.”
Tom Tsounis of Whitestone, who drives the Q32 bus, said he rooted for both teams in order to double his chances of being happy.
“He was one of the greatest home-run hitters the Mets ever had, and he did good with the Yankees, too,” he said.
One Mets fan, Jennifer C., said she was only 4 when the Mets won their championship in 1986, but had been a fan ever since.
“I was [annoyed] when I passed by and saw the Yankees balloons,” she said. “This is Queens!”
On Aug. 6, Strawberry’s Sports Grill, at 42-15 235th St., will hold a street fair outside the restaurant for its one-year anniversary party. The event will include a barbecue with a pitching tent and batting cages.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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