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World Series 2001
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11/04/2001 02:10 AM ET
NY firefighters treated to Game 6
By Heather Reader
Left Field

Their mission was fairly simple, in theory. Go to the World Series in Arizona to root on their Yankees. Making the theory a reality by getting four firefighters out of the Bronx and into the BOB was made simple with a little unexpected help.

The ringleader of the operation was Michael Rynn, a stocky man with a quick a laugh and an voice reminiscent of Tony Soprano. His first plan of attack was to see if they could find a place to lay their heads. That's when he struck gold.

"I called up the Starwood Hotels because I first wanted to see if there was anywhere to stay out here and I knew they have a lot of places to stay," Rynn said. "The public relations woman there - Nadine Ayala - she heard that we wanted to go out and go to the game ... so here we are.

"We got free airline tickets from Southwest Airlines, free hotel rooms at The Phoenician Resort and then free tickets to the game from an agent. It's truly been a fairy tale."

In less than six hours the plan was set. Early Saturday morning Rynn, Tom Ward, Scott Samuelson and Ed Curry were on their way out of New York and into the Valley of the Sun, touching down in Arizona Saturday afternoon.

"He called me at nine o'clock last night," Ward said. "I was at work and he said, 'We're going.'"

In a firehouse full of Yankee fans it wasn't easy picking who would receive the golden tickets, creating a small furor back home.

"They hate us," Ward said. "They all wish they were here."

"It was all about who was available and who was off," Rynn said. "Tom and I've been friends for years. We grew up in the same neighborhood. We both started out as New York City policemen."

They stayed in their seats until they couldn't take anymore of the fourth inning when Arizona scored eight runs en route to the 15-2 drubbing. Dressed in NYFD T-Shirts, the four became an instant hit on the BOB concourse. One woman -- a Diamondbacks fan nonetheless -- came up and asked if they were indeed New York firemen. When they told her they were, she immediately squealed with delight and asked if they would sign her T-shirt.

"A ton of people have come up and said hello to us. They see the T-shirts and they just come up and say hi or thanks," Rynn said. "It's nice."

On the concourse they also ran into former NYPD and NYFD officers who have settled into retirement in the Phoenix area. They greeted each other like long lost friends, although they just met. They talked about the city and how much it has changed in the last few months. They talked about all that they have lost.

"Firemen don't like to admit this, but it's been very trying," Rynn said.

"It's been going down to the World Trade Center all the time and then going back to the firehouse and then on your off days going to memorial services," Ward said. "Every day that you're off there is a funeral to go to."

Except for Saturday when they were able to sit back and cringe over a Yankee drubbing. After the game they planned to retire to their five-star resort ("We'd never get a chance to stay at a place like that ever again in our lives," Rynn said.) and then get up on Sunday and try to continue the dream another day.

"We're supposed to leave tomorrow morning, but we're going to try to switch our flight and get tickets and stay for Game 7," Rynn said.

Heather Reader is covering the World Series for