Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius takes to court at ASB Classic
New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius was guest of honour at the ASB Classic on Thursday, watching the all American clash between Steve Johnson and John Isner.
Gregorius is in New Zealand to host baseball clinics around the country, hoping to get more Kiwis involved in the sport.
He made the trip up from Christchurch to spend the afternoon watching tennis and got to see Johnson beat Isner 6-3 5-7 7-6.
After the match Gregorius went on court wearing a baseball glove and caught a ball served from Johnson.
"It's awesome," said Gregorius of his experience at Stanley Street.
"I've been to watch a game before so it's good to be here and a lot of fun.
"It's the first time I've been that close to it."
Gregorius was asked his thoughts on which sport was harder, a professional tennis player travelling the world for 10 months of the year, or an MLB baseball player playing a large number of games to play each season.
He sat on the fence, but hinted that he thought baseball was the more gruelling.We play 162 games in 180 days," he said.
"There's spring training with 30 more games, so you're up to 192 and if you make the playoffs you have 200 plus games, so that's a lot.
"In both (sports) you've got to work hard and I wouldn't say one is easier than the other, because it's not easy to do both."
Gregorius was the shortstop who replaced club legend Derek Jeter. The Yankees failed to make the playoffs last year, but did win 84 games and got rid of some veteran players on big contracts, like Alex Rodriguez.
They have also brought back Aroldis Chapman and signed outfielder Matt Holliday, so they could be contenders in the American League East this year.
"We have a really great team," he said.
"Last year we proved we can do it with all the young guys, including me.
"We ended the season on a good note and hopefully we can start the season on a good note.
"Then we've got our bullpen back and we've got Holliday who can help us on the right handed side."
Gregorius had a chat with Johnson after the match, where they talked about their respective sports.
Although Johnson, who is from Orange, California is a Los Angeles Angels fan, he says he does admire the Yankees.
"I grew up watching the Yankees a lot," Johnson said. "Just because Derek Jeter is one of my favourite athletes of all time.
"I wouldn't say I'm a Yankees fan, because I'm an Angels guy, but I respected what he did and I still do follow the Yankees."