There were trying moments early in the season, when Steve Melia would look at the Yankees calendar and say to himself, “Five down, 157 to go.’’
But over time he began to enjoy the journey and by Wednesday in St. Petersburg he was preparing to attend his 162nd and final game of the regular season.
Melia, 41, who originally is from Bethpage and lives in North Carolina, long had wanted to try something like this. In March he hit the road with a friend and fellow comic, Steve Marcinowski, working clubs along the way.
The other Steve left after 57 games and lately there have not been many gigs, but Melia stuck it out and intends to continue for as long as the Yankees are in the playoffs.
“I plan to write a book called ‘162,’’’ he said. “It wouldn’t make much of a book if I quit at the end of the regular season.’’
Melia has limited expenses by trying to stay with friends on the road and by staying at his brother’s place in Massapequa on homestands. He has bought most of his tickets outside stadiums, usually for far under face value.
Then there is what he calls perhaps his biggest accomplishment: He drove to the Bronx for every home game of the regular season and never paid to park. “No ticket, never broken into,’’ he said.
Somehow, it never got old. “It’s been so much fun,’’ he said. “As a fan I get this pump of adrenaline every time I go to a game. I still get it every day.’’