View Full Version : Corey Lidle and Tony Robles

10-18-2006, 04:01 AM
Tony sent me an email-he was friends with Yankee player Corey Lidle-one of Tony's friends wrote an article and I thought I'd share it with you-here it is:

If Cory Lidle wasn't at Yankee Stadium or in his 45th Street pad overlooking Times Square, it was a virtual lock that he'd be at Amsterdam Billiards on West 76th Street playing games of 9-ball.

He'd be there, when the Yankees were home, at least three times a week and sometimes four before games, after, on every off day, and even on the days he pitched, strolling through the twin doors of the place like most everybody else wearing jeans, T-shirt and a baseball cap.

But never a navy-blue one, never a Yankees cap.

When Lidle was in the poolroom, he never wanted to be Cory Lidle, Yankees pitcher.

Never wanted special treatment, or to be fussed over.

He was just Cory there. The way Eddie was Eddie and Tony was Tony and I was Mike.

Just one of the guys.

An admitted former pool bum, an admitted pool addict.

Shooting pool for hours on end, often until the 3 o'clock closing time, and shooting the breeze over coffee, Diet Cokes, and beers.

"It's a great escape from baseball," he once told me while hanging out there.

Amsterdam's, for the record, is not one of those snake-pit poolrooms with unscrubbed clientele but an upscale brick-interior walk-up with a bar, cushy lounge and a fireplace. It's a room where Seinfeld has played, as has Roger Clemens and Paul Sorvino, among many other celeb types. And for the two months Lidle played in pinstripes it was something of his social club though, if he could help it, he rarely talked about baseball or the Yankees.

"And when he did, it was always matter-of-factly," said one of Lidle's Amsterdam buddies, Jesse Rice, a 32-year-old real estate broker who added quickly that "Cory was still always very accessible, got along with everyone."

Indeed, in the short time Lidle was here, the guys in the poolroom developed an affection toward him as much as he developed one toward them.

"He wasn't full of himself," said another Amsterdam regular, Edward Igel, a financial adviser. "He came across as nothing but a plain, quiet, sensitive man. You wished all professional athletes could be like him."

"He was so unassuming, so unpretentious," said Amsterdam's owner Greg Hunt, "that you quickly forgot he was a major-league baseball player."

Lidle's steady playing partner was Brooklyn-born-and-raised Tony Robles, one of the best pool players in the world someone who can run nearly 300 balls without missing and one of my closest friends. In fact, I'm the one who connected the two back in August, and Lidle began taking lessons with Robles almost immediately.

One time in the Yankee clubhouse, I remember, Lidle waved me frantically over to his locker. I thought he was going to tell me something juicy about the Yankees.

Instead, he pulled out his little portable computer, flipped open the screen and showed me these various pool table charts. "How cool is this, Mike?" he said. "Tony sent all these to me. It's all about how to play position and systems on how to bank balls."

"He had such a passion for pool, like few people I'd ever met," Robles told me on Saturday in Amsterdam's. "And he had a lot of natural ability."

Robles recalled playing Lidle one night just before the playoffs, beating up on him for hours. "I was on fire that night," Robles said. "I lost only two games the whole time." Still, Lidle called him the next day, eager to play again, saying, "I want to show you what I'm made of." Robles giggled at the memory of that line. "But do you know what he did that day?" he said. "He beat me four out of the first six games. And I wasn't holding back. That's what a great competitor he was."

He also remembered the time when they were practicing together and someone recognized Lidle and went over to say hello and tell him that he was a big Yankees fan and that it was a pleasure to meet him.

"Cory had just pocketed a ball and was ready to shoot again," Robles said, "but he put down his stick on the table, went over to shake the guy's hand and had a two-minute conversation with the guy before he went back to shoot again. That's how genuine he was."

On Monday night, two days before he died, Lidle came into Amsterdam's around 6 o'clock to pick up his two-piece, bird's eye maple stick with the diamond inlays that he stored in the back office within a black-and-gray leather cue case.

He told everyone he was heading back home to California and that he couldn't wait to finally spend time with his wife, Melanie, and 6-year-old son, Christopher. He also said that he had a great time in New York and thanked all the guys in the room for being a big part of that and that before he flew out, he wanted to have one last get-together with everybody over lunch.

For some reason maybe because Lidle was too busy with having Melanie and Christopher in town, or was simply too busy packing the lunch never came off.

And that Wednesday, when the guys in the room found out it was Lidle in the plane that crashed into the high-rise on East 72nd, they couldn't stop themselves from crowding around the bar, staring open-mouthed at the big-screen TV that flashed the horrible, fiery footage.

Nobody could say a word. Almost all had tears in their eyes.

Robles grabbed his cell phone and dialed Lidle's number. Got Lidle's voicemail, left a message: "Hey, buddy, it's Tony. I'm calling to see that you're all right. I heard it was your plane that crashed. Just call me as soon as possible to let me know that you're OK."

But not long afterwards, it was confirmed that Lidle was in the plane, that he and his pilot instructor had perished.

"I couldn't believe it, I still can't believe it," Robles said in a voice that was ready to crack, with eyes ready to well up again for the umpteenth time. "I knew him for only two months, but I felt like I'd known him for 10 years. That's how much he opened up to you. That's the kind of guy he was. I felt like I was right on the verge of having a great friendship with him."

As did so many of us up in that poolroom that was Lidle's escape from it all, where he was always just one of the guys, where he was nothing but plain old Cory.

Michael P. Geffner's column appears regularly in the Times Herald-Record.

Brian in VA
10-18-2006, 04:46 AM
Thanks Carol. That put a smile on my face despite being such a sad occurrence. Stay well.

Brian in VA

10-18-2006, 07:29 AM
Great article.


10-18-2006, 07:44 AM

Very sad but the story is uplifting as it tells you a lot about Corey........and Tony.

I guess we will never know exactly what happened but it is always a shame to hear about a young person with a family that is cut down when they are just getting ready to enjoy their life and family.


10-18-2006, 08:48 AM
What a great article. Me being a Yankee hater, I didn't give the news of the crash much attention. This story really does transcend past sports and shows what a class act Corey really was off the field. Thanks for the read!!

9 Ball Girl
10-18-2006, 09:19 AM
Nice story.

I still don't understand why someone with log hours below 100 was allowed to fly in inclement weather.

Brian in VA
10-18-2006, 10:29 AM
9 Ball Girl said "I still don't understand why someone with log hours below 100 was allowed to fly in inclement weather."

No one there to stop him and he was accompanied by an instructor. A good bit of general aviation is unregulated and to some degree it's not unlike a person under the influence getting behind the wheel of a car. The driver takes that risk when they start the engine. I understand that his instructor hadn't completed his check out in this model of aircraft either. We may never know who was at the controls and what happened but, to me, this is an example of risk taking and losing.

My heartfelt sympathies go out to all his family and friends who are feeling the loss.

Brian in VA

10-18-2006, 11:43 AM
I still don't understand how the aircraft was in NYC airspace non-detected,hmmmm-makes you wonder!

10-18-2006, 11:45 AM
My heartfelt sympathies go out to all his family and friends who are feeling the loss <hr /></blockquote>


10-18-2006, 11:46 AM
ha ha ha-a Yankee-hater-I don't watch baeball,but like you said,it shows what a class act he was-and your welcome!
Stay well!

10-18-2006, 11:47 AM
You stay well Deeman!
Thanks for reading it!

10-18-2006, 11:50 AM
Hey Duane,
I concur-:):):):):)-150 days to Superbilliards:):):)

Send my regards to Mary,please!

10-18-2006, 11:52 AM
That put a smile on my face <hr /></blockquote>

These things are good-smiles are contagious-you take very good care!

Carol /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

10-18-2006, 12:41 PM
Will do. We're looking forward to seeing you again.

Duane /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Harold Acosta
10-18-2006, 02:59 PM
Carol, I understand there was some type of sight-seeing special route that was allowed for small planes and helicopters, at least 700 ft above ground.

What I read was that the plane lost height on the turn-around which made the plane take a wider turn than expected, thus crashing into the building, plus the low height of the plane made it lose contact with the tower.

Now all this is being reviewed, and now no small aircraft below 1500 ft will be allowed to fly in that zone.

10-18-2006, 03:04 PM
No planes are allowed to fly over NYC, per the FAA.

Small craft have a few loopholes. There are two routes we are allowed to take; up the East river and up the Hudson. The maximum height is 1000 feet with good visability. You don't have to OK your flight route with the FAA nor maintain contact.


10-19-2006, 12:28 AM
Very nice read Carol, thanks for the post.

10-19-2006, 02:16 AM
Hi Nick,
I hope to see you soon and quoting Tony in his email:

"I hope that you are all doing well and that you all remember just how precious life really is. Give all your loved ones a big hug and tell them how much you love them.

May God always Bless you all. Take care and thanks for being a part of my life."

Carol /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

10-19-2006, 02:19 AM
Hi Harold,
I think it had to do with visibility ,too-Im not sure,but ,now, No small aircrafts are allowed,except helicopters-I think its just a damn shame!


10-19-2006, 02:22 AM
You don't have to OK your flight route with the FAA nor maintain contact.
<hr /></blockquote>

Well, they better fix that loophole,unbelievable-
You know what I think is amazing? The people in the apartment were not harmed-could you imagine sitting in your apartment and a plane crashes through your window-I can't-someone was looking down! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Take care Eric!

10-19-2006, 08:30 AM
Here's a little bit of trivia; the woman's apartment that the plane hit? She's the same woman that sustained head injuries in the 97? Macy's parade when the float hit her!


10-19-2006, 08:42 AM
Hey Eric,
Here's another eerie trivia my nephew told me:

The pane hit on 10-11-06-
Turn it upside down-09-11-01



10-19-2006, 08:57 AM
I'm putting my foil cap back on...


9 Ball Girl
10-19-2006, 01:59 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Eric.:</font><hr> Here's a little bit of trivia; the woman's apartment that the plane hit? She's the same woman that sustained head injuries in the 97? Macy's parade when the float hit her!

Eric <hr /></blockquote>Geez! This woman can be the plot for Final Destination 4!

10-20-2006, 02:44 AM
Im crcaking up-well...while you have that foil cap on, if you get any signals, let me know

Stay well,Eric /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Carol~would LMAO to see Eric in a foil cap /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

10-20-2006, 09:18 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote CarolNYC:</font><hr>
Im crcaking up-well...while you have that foil cap on, if you get any signals, let me know

Stay well,Eric /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Carol~would LMAO to see Eric in a foil cap /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Toots! YO!!! lol I'm always the last in line to say hi. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Wonderfull read it was. Great whole thread too! That's why we wubs ya. hugz. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif St.

10-20-2006, 10:51 AM
Yo,Yo Stretch,my kuuipo /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
and I wubz you right back!

Carol~misses Sretch /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif