Living the Dream: Juju Plays Ball With A-Rod
Juju Chang spends a day at spring training with New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez.
May 3, 2010— -- For most Americans, baseball is a national pastime. But for Juju Chang, it's a family obsession, especially when it comes to the New York Yankees.
Every year, she and her family attend spring training in Florida, eager to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of the game before the season starts.
"I didn't start out wanting to like the Yankees," Chang said. "It really was that the guy that I was dating loved the Yankees. So I became one of those girlfriend of Yankee fans. It's really our annual rite of spring."
But this year, Chang got a lot more than that as part of "Good Morning America's" Living the Dream series.
In her dream-come-true, Chang spent a day with Yankee superstar third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Baseball isn't just fun and games in Chang's house, it's serious business. And for Rodriguez, the record-setting third baseman, the afternoon was spent with the demeanor of a parent: patient with little boys and mindful of their adoration of him. Rodriguez called them good-looking athletes and jokingly considered a set-up with his two young daughters.
"Do they like older men?" Chang asked.
"Not now," Rodriguez said jovially. "Maybe in like 20 years"
Before they could get started, Rodriguez received a scouting report on Chang from some very reliable sources, Chang's Little League, Yankee-loving sons Travis and Jared.
"She doesn't really know how to pitch," Travis told Rodriguez in the dugout at Steinbrenner Field.
But they say she can hit. "OK, so we've got something to work with," Rodriguez said.
Using a tee, Chang took a few swings at the ball, but the tee ended up taking the brunt of the punishment.
"I'll stop you right there," Rodriguez said after a few errant swings. "One thing all good hitters should always do is you should always put your knuckles together -- all eight of them -- should be lined up together that will create better whip and better bat speed."
The next swing? In Rodriguez's words, it was "perfect."
Once she got into the swing of things, literally, Chang said she really felt like she was living the dream.
"I was hitting line drives, and being a big hit with my boys," she said.
At the end of the day, Rodriguez said the boys' scouting report was a little off.
"You did actually very well," he said. "Your kids were very tough on the scouting report but I thought they shortchanged you a little bit. I liked the swing."
Encouraged, Chang asked the question she's always wanted to know, "Do I have a future?"
"Ah ... no," Rodriguez said.