But that is not to say that some of the people on line didn't have other agendas besides meeting Torre in the flesh. Newsflash to journalists - if somebody is buying five copies of "The Yankee Years," they might, oh I don't know, be selling the books on eBay or something!
Then there's this "fan" quoted in today's New York Post:
I recognized Packer's name right away, and it wasn't for being a Yankee lover - it was the fact that this guy is well-known for being quoted in the media as a typical "man on the street."
One devoted Torre fan, 45-year-old self-proclaimed retiree Greg Packer of Huntington, even stood in freezing temperatures from 3:30 a.m. on to get the first spot for the afternoon signing - and that was after standing in a long line the day before at a Midtown bookstore to get Torre's signature, too.
"It was worth it," Packer said. "I wish he was still the [Yankees] manager. With the talent we have on this team now, we'd be guaranteed to get to the World Series with Torre in charge."
Packer is famous - make that infamous - for showing up at celebrity signings and news events and getting his name and quotes in the papers, mostly for being the first in line at such things. He's been quoted hundreds of times in the press over the years.
He was the first in line when the iPhone went on sale in New York - Packer waited 110 hours in line for the opportunity. Wikipedia notes that he's been quoted as being both a lifelong Steeler fan and a lifelong Giants fan. This lifelong Yankee fan also showed up for Game 5 of last year's Philles-Ray World Series, and stayed in Philadelphia for the parade. Naturally, he was quoted in the New York Times about making the trip down from Long Island.
So infamous is Packer's hobby, that he's been profiled by National Public Radio, Editor and Publisher, the New York Times, Columbia News Service, and the Wall Street Journal about his exploits. He even has his own Wikipedia entry detailing his quotes, and brushes with fame.
In 2003, the Associated Press issued a memo to its reporters warning them about quoting Packer. Six years later, he's still frequently interviewed by journalists.
This professional line sitter admitted to Editor and Publisher in 2004 that he sometimes makes "stuff up to get in the paper," and said "at times the media can be gullible." You don't say.
"I do not think members of the press are pansies," Packer told Editor and Publisher, "but there are times when I go home and laugh because I can't believe that I made the newspaper pages again."
Guess he's having a giggle reading his quotes in today's papers about his love for Joe Torre.
As Sheryl McCarthy of Newsday once wrote in a column, "The fact that Greg Packer's quotes have turned up everywhere suggests that man-on-the-street interviews are worthless."
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