Results tagged ‘ HOPE Week ’
The Yankees concluded HOPE Week 2012 Friday by celebrating the Children’s Alopecia Project (CAP) and the group’s founders, the Woytovich family. The Yankees’ contingent that surprised the CAP kids at a picnic at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx featured manager Joe Girardi; pitchers Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, Rafael Soriano and Cory Wade; outfielders Andruw Jones and DeWayne Wise; third baseman Alex Rodriguez; bullpen coach Mike Harkey; former Yankees players Darryl Strawberry and David Wells; former Rutgers football player and HOPE Week ambassador Eric LeGrand and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
Events included face- and head-painting, a scavenger hunt, lunch and games. After the picnic, CAP kids and their families were invited to the Stadium for the game against the White Sox. The Woytovich family and the children of CAP watched batting practice from the field and were part of pregame on-field ceremonies. Madison and Jeff threw out the ceremonial first pitches.
In October 2003, while Betsy Woytovich was undoing the braids of her 5-year-old daughter Madison, hair began coming out in clumps. A doctor confirmed that Madison had alopecia, an auto-immune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, leading to hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere in varying degrees, a condition that affects approximately four million Americans.
Madison’s father, Jeff, searched for a support network, but learned that there was no organization that focused on children with alopecia. Betsy and Jeff wanted to make sure that Madison and children like her maintained their confidence and self-esteem heading into their teenage years. So in August 2004, they created the Children’s Alopecia Project which focuses on three goals: to build self-esteem, provide support and raise awareness.
There are now 15 CAP Kids Support Groups around the country working with families from 30 states. Additionally, there are associated groups in Hong Kong, Canada, South America and Russia. More than 1,000 families are registered members of CAP, while at least 10,000 families have received information or been counseled by members of CAP.
Pitchers David Robertson and Cody Eppley and outfielders Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner surprised the GlamourGals group at one of their events at the East Haven Nursing and Senior Rehab Center in the Bronx Thursday as part of the Yankees’ HOPE Week celebration.
The players participated in the makeovers of the senior citizens residents. Volunteers and GlamourGals founder Rachel Doyle were special guests of the Yankees for their 7:05 p.m. game against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium. They observed batting practice from the field and were honored during pre-game ceremonies during which Doyle threw out the ceremonial first pitch after she got to listen in on the conference behind the plate among the umpires, Yankees first base coach Mick Kelleher and White Sox manager Robin Ventura. GlamourGals volunteers also took part in the roll call with the Bleacher Creatures
Rachel Doyle was a sophomore in high school when her grandmother passed away in a Nevada nursing home. To honor her memory and create a bridge between the generations, Doyle, then 17, created the first chapter of GlamourGals in 2000.
The organization is comprised of male and female high school and college-age volunteers who give manicures and makeovers to the elderly at senior homes. The organization’s goal is to foster self-esteem and mutual respect while building meaningful relationships. Many seniors in nursing homes do not receive frequent visitors. GlamourGals helps to fill that void.
More than a decade after her first makeover, Doyle serves as chief executive officer. Her vision and dedication have been responsible for the organizations growth to approximately 1,300 volunteers in more than 62 chapters spanning 13 states, along with a chapter in St. Andrews, Scotland. The organization just expanded to the Bronx in April of this year.
For more information, visit http://www.glamourgals.org.
Wednesday was supposed to be a feel-good day for Andy Pettitte. The lefthander was to spend some time with 5-year-old Andy Fass, a legally blind fan whom Pettitte met at a Double A game in Trenton back in April, as part of the HOPE Week celebration.
Pettitte didn’t feel very well in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game when Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman drilled a liner just above the pitcher’s left ankle. Pettitte tried to tough it out and stay in the game, but one pitch later Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided to take him out and Andy limped into the dugout.
X-rays revealed a fractured fibula, which will sideline Pettitte for at least six weeks. He was on crutches and wearing a large boot after the game. Surgery will not be required, but the recovery period, especially for a 40-year-old, will not be brief.
The injury came on the same day that the Yankees placed their other left-handed starter, CC Sabathia on the disabled list due to a strained left adductor muscle near the groin. In less than 24 hours, 40 percent of the Yankees’ rotation was in sick bay.
“I know CC felt bad about going on the DL,” Pettitte said. “I think I made him feel better when I told him I’ll be on there a lot longer than he will.”
“A bad day for lefthanders,” Girardi called it. “It’s not what you’re looking for, but no one is going to feel sorry for us. We have been a resilient team. It’s what you have to do.”
General manager Brian Cashman said there is no need to go into panic mode. He does not expect Sabathia to be gone longer that two, perhaps three, starts, and there are some pitching resources within the organization to offset Pettitte’s loss before looking elsewhere. You can be sure that Cashman will get plenty of phone calls Thursday from general managers trying to stick him with overpriced and ineffective pitchers. Did someone say Carlos Zambrano? Yikes!
For the short term, the Yankees will cover the rotation holes with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Adam Warren, who will start Friday night against the White Sox, and Freddy Garcia, who was the winning pitcher in relief of the Yanks’ 5-4 victory Wednesday, Monday night at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Garcia was originally penciled by Girardi to start Friday night but after losing Pettitte and with Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada having control issues Garcia was summoned to keep the Yanks close, which he did with 2 1/3 hitless innings with two strikeouts. Girardi reasoned correctly that you can’t worry about Friday’s game when you trying to win Wednesday’s.
Don’t forget that Garcia began the season as the Yankees’ fifth starter and has considerable experience to help them whether this storm. Freddy has done a solid job in long relief (2-0, 1.56 ERA) in 10 relief appearances spanning 17 1/3 innings to lower his season ERA to 6.39.
The other important aspect for the Yankees is that remaining starters Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes don’t go out of their way to “step it up” with Sabathia and Pettitte out. Girardi was asked about that and made it clear that none of those pitchers can replace a Sabathia or a Pettitte.
“I’m going to tell them to just be themselves and we’ll take care of the other two days,” Girardi said.
Pettitte had hoped he would be able to continue. He is used to balls being hit back to him and has the shin bruises to prove it.
“That’s what I thought it was at first,” he said. “I figured once I started throwing the pain would lessen the way it did with my shins. It was bothering me in my warm-ups, but when I threw that first pitch [after play resumed] there was an awful lot of pain. It’s frustrating because I had been feeling good. It’s time to put on the pom-poms and be a cheerleader.”
Garcia, Robinson Cano and Eric Chavez came to Pettitte’s rescue as the Yankees ran off their fifth straight victory. Cano put the Yanks ahead with a two-run home run in the sixth off Ubaldo Jimenez, one of the second baseman’s three hits in the game. Chavez drove in three runs with a two-run double in the fourth and an RBI single in the eighth for a crucial insurance run that loomed large when Rafael Soriano gave up a run.
It could have been worse, much worse, but Soriano got a huge strikeout of Johnny Damon with the bases loaded in a confrontation that pleased the Yankee Stadium crowd of 45,099. A walk pushed in the run, but Soriano got Asdrubal Cabrera on a fly ball for his 17th save.
The Yankees will have to do without their staff ace for at least the next couple of weeks. CC Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday reluctantly. Sabathia, who took part in a HOPE Week celebration in a suite at Yankee Stadium before Wednesday’s game against the Indians, did not want to go on the DL but accepted the Yankees’ cautious approach.
The lefthander, who has a 9-3 record with a 3.45 ERA, has a strained left adductor muscle, which is near the groin. General manager Brian Cashman said that Sabathia likely would not have been disabled had the injury occurred in a September pennant stretch but at this point in the season “it is better to be safe than sorry.”
Sabathia soreness in the area during his past start Sunday night against the Mets at Citi Field when he failed to pitch into the seventh inning for the first time this season. He did not tell Yankees manager Joe Girardi or pitching coach Larry Rothschild of the condition because he did not consider it serious. Sabathia did a full bullpen session Tuesday and still felt discomfort, so he finally told the Yankees about it.
Sabathia’s next start was to have been Friday night at the Stadium against the White Sox, an assignment that was to go to Freddy Garcia. The righthander began the season in the rotation but was sent to the bullpen April 29 when his record was 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA. Garcia was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in nine relief appearances spanning 15 innings to lower his season ERA to 6.91.
But Freddy had to pitch Wednesday as Girardi was forced to go to the bullpen early after starter Andy Pettitte came out of the game in the fifth inning after being struck in the leg by a line drive. Another option for Friday night might be righthander Adam Warren, who is 5-5 with a 3.55 ERA at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“There is no doubt we are going to miss him,” Girardi said of Sabathia. “We have a pretty experienced club. We lost the greatest closer of all time [Mariano Rivera]. We were able to respond. We lost our setup guy [David Robertson], and we were able to respond. We were without Alex [Rodriguez] for the first couple of months a couple of years ago and were able to get through that. We just have to fight through it. Our belief is it is only going to be two starts.”
Jill and Marc Fass came to Yankee Stadium Wednesday with their 5-year-old son, Andy, to watch another Andy pitch. Andy Pettitte first met Andy Fass at a Double A game while the lefthander was pitching for the Trenton Thunder to prepare for a return to the Yankees.
When the Fasses entered Suite 4 at the Stadium, they were greeted by pitchers CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Clay Rapada as part of the HOPE Week celebration that was just the beginning of a fruitful afternoon for the family from Hamilton, N.J.
After Wednesday’s Yankees-Indians game, those three pitchers, shortstop Derek Jeter, catchers Russell Martin and Chris Stewart and coaches Rob Thompson and Mick Kelleher joined Andy Fass for a private tee-ball lesson and other games with kids who also have Andy’s condition of albinism at the MLB Fan Cave in Chelsea.
A chance encounter gave Andy Fass a new goal and hope. As someone who has a condition called oculocutaneous albinism, which affects approximately 40,000 people around the world, Andy is legally blind and without pigment in his skin, forcing him to avoid long exposure to the sun. Though Andy has always gravitated to people and many individual activities, he was told baseball would never be an option due to the contact and the chance of injury due to moving objects.
All that changed, however, April 25, 2012, when Pettitte, who was making a start at Trenton, gave little Andy the baseball he was using to warm up. Encouraged by the gesture, little Andy – who was attending his first-ever professional baseball game – was immediately inspired to sign up for tee-ball and take on the challenge.
“Andy is legally blind, but he can make out some shapes and forms,” Jill Fass said. “He will be playing tee-ball with an orange ball to see it better. We didn’t find out about this until we got to the parking lot. What the players are doing is really fantastic.”
Starting pitchers normally do not communicate with anyone before the game the day they start, but Pettitte chatted briefly with young Andy next to the dugout before his new fan threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“Andy Pettitte is my favorite player because he is the best player in the world,” Andy said.
HOPE Week will return next week for the fourth year of the Yankees’ unique involvement in community service. Originally launched in 2009, HOPE, which stands for Helping Others Persevere and Excel, Week brings to life five remarkable stories intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities.
Each day during HOPE Week from Monday through Friday, the Yankees will reach out to an individual, family or organization worthy of recognition and support and attempt to connect personally with individuals in the settings of their greatest successes or at locations that honor the spirit of their endeavors.
Every one of the Yankees’ players and coaches as well as manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman, the franchise’s minor-league affiliates and front office staff will participate.
The Yankees first recognized the return of HOPE Week with a pregame ceremony March 23 at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, prior to their spring training game against the Twins. The Yankees were proud to host this ceremony jointly with the Twins, who have embraced the HOPE Week concept by holding their own HOPE Week in each of the past two seasons.
At the conclusion of HOPE Week 2010 and HOPE Week 2011, the Yankees and the Steinbrenner family were honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, given “in recognition and appreciation of commitment to strengthening the Nation and for making a difference through volunteer service.”
The awards were bestowed by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in conjunction with the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Yankees were also twice honored during the recent offseason, receiving the DMF Champion of HOPE Award from Daniel’s Music Foundation Nov. 8, 2011 and the “Just Cause” Award at the PromaxBDA Sports Media Marketing Summit Nov. 15, 2011.
The Yankees’ five minor-league affiliates will present their own community events throughout the season as an extension of the franchise’s HOPE Week in 2012. HOPE (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) Week is in its fourth season and will take place on the major-league level June 25-29.
In following the model established in 2009, the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the Double A Trenton Thunder and the Class A Tampa Yankees, Charleston RiverDogs and Staten Island Yankees will reach out to individuals, families and organizations worthy of recognition and support, recognizing honorees with a day celebrating their accomplishments. With outreach often taking place away from the ballpark, Yankees minor league players, coaches and staff will be able to connect personally with participants.
“As an organization, we have seen firsthand the positive impact HOPE Week has made in our community,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “We have found that giving back is contagious. One of the goals of the initiative has been to inspire others to follow in our footsteps, and I’m proud that our affiliates are expanding this tradition by joining our efforts.”
The Tampa Yankees will be the first club to host HOPE Week in 2012, as they will highlight their five stories from June 4-8. Events are scheduled for Trenton June 19-22 and June 25 and for Charleston June 25-29. Dates for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Staten Island are to be determined.
The Yankees announced before Friday’s Grapefruit League game in Tampa that HOPE Week will return in 2012 for the fourth consecutive season. HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) is a social program that illuminates five stories intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities. HOPE Week 2012 will take place in New York from Monday, June 25, through Friday, June 29.
Each day over the five-day stretch, the Yankees will reach out to an individual, family or organization worthy of recognition and support, surprising honorees with a day celebrating their accomplishments. Outreach will often take place away from Yankee Stadium, allowing the Yankees to connect with individuals in settings that highlight their greatest successes.
HOPE Week is rooted in the fundamental belief that acts of goodwill provide hope and encouragement to more than just the recipient of the gesture. Fans can learn more about the initiative and nominate inspirational individuals for HOPE Week recognition by visiting the official website at hopeweek.com.
In the spirit of the initiative, the Yankees honored Tampa Catholic High School baseball player Owen Sarwatka, 17, who as a sophomore in 2010, was inspired to create “Everyone Can Play,” a nonprofit, volunteer-run, baseball skills clinic for children with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.
Owen, his parents, Suzanne and Frank, along with participants and volunteers from “Everyone Can Play” were guests of the Yankees Friday at Steinbrenner Field prior the Yankees’ game vs. the Twins. The group took batting practice on the field, followed by an on-field ceremony in which disabled players and their mentors stood side-by-side with Yankees players during the national anthem. Owen delivered the Yankees’ lineup card to the umpires and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Owen first became interested in helping disabled youth while watching highlights of major-leaguers giving their time in support of Little League Baseball’s Challenger Division. Some of Owen’s goals in launching his project and supporting the Challenger ideals included promoting acceptance and inclusion for all members of society, eliminating the bullying and exclusion of those least able to defend themselves, improving the health and fitness of those with disabilities, and providing young mentors an outlet to give back to their community while developing mentoring skills.
To get his idea off the ground, Owen chose to forgo Christmas presents in order to receive donations for his project. After hundreds of hours of planning devoted to his mission, the first “Everyone Can Play” event took place Jan. 15, 2011, at Bloomingdale Little League in Valrico, Fla. The festivities brought together a diverse group of over 300 individuals, including his teammates, other high school athletes, community volunteers and 40 special-needs children, 16 of whom had never before played baseball.
Owen’s vision and determination were validated when, as a result of their experience, all 40 of the special-needs children who attended his clinic signed up to play baseball in the spring. Recently, Owen held his second clinic Jan. 14, 2012, at Tampa Catholic, drawing 450 people, including 60 special-needs children. Planning is already in the works for another Challenger event Jan. 13, 2013.
To remind participants of the importance of giving back to others, the uniforms of all players and volunteers in “Everyone Can Play” were emblazoned with a “GMS” patch, honoring the humanitarian efforts of the late Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner.
Owen’s accomplishments have come in the face of his own challenges. Despite having been born with a malfunctioning kidney that has necessitated multiple surgeries and caused chronic pain, he remains focused on improving the lives of disabled children in his community.
Equally significant during HOPE Week is garnering publicity for the highlighted causes and organizations. The greatest challenge facing many not-for-profits is generating interest, awareness and funding for their missions.
At the conclusion of HOPE Week 2010 and HOPE Week 2011, the Yankees and the Steinbrenner family were honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, given “in recognition and appreciation of commitment to strengthening the Nation and for making a difference through volunteer service.” The awards were bestowed by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in conjunction with the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The Yankees were also twice honored during the recent offseason, receiving the DMF Champion of HOPE Award from Daniel’s Music Foundation Nov. 8, 2011, and the “Just Cause” Award at the PromaxBDA Sports Media Marketing Summit Nov. 15, 2011.
Had Friday night’s game been rained out, it would have cost Ivan Nova a start. The Yankees have penciled in Nova to start the night portion of Saturday’s split-session doubleheader after Bartolo Colon starts the afternoon game.
Nova is technically on the roster of Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he is expected to be recalled to make the start. Thunderstorms pushed back the starting time of Friday night’s game against the Orioles to 8:50 p.m. Had the game not been played, A.J. Burnett would have been held back to Saturday with Colon, and Nova would have headed back to Pennsylvania. I have a feeling Nova is going to be an important pitcher over the final two months for the Yankees, so I am glad to see him back and starting a game for the big club.
Let me share a story about Burnett that is worth telling. Thursday was an open date on the schedule for the Yankees, a rare off day that players truly covet. This is HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere and Excel), the week-long community program involving each player on the roster.
So the players assigned to the block party Thursday on Staten Island for Megan Ajello, 17, who has cerebral palsy and scoliosis yet is a committed social activist, were giving up their off day to make this a special day for her and her neighbors.
Burnett was among the group that went to Staten Island, along with fellow pitchers Boone Logan and David Robertson, infielders Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez, outfielder Andruw Jones, coaches Mick Kelleher and Rob Thompson, video coordinator Charlie Wosnowicz and general manager Brian Cashman.
It was quite a scene. The players and coaches mingled with the fans, had pictures taken with them and made generous donations to Megan’s lemonade stand, which was constructed by Yankee Stadium carpenters and presented to her by them and Cashman. The GM was also a good sport in being the first volunteer for the dunking tank. Jones, Logan and Robertson also did time in the water.
As the hours went by, there was no Burnett, however. Players came separately in transportation donated by a local car service. Unfortunately, the driver taking Burnett and his sons to Staten Island from his residence in Scarsdale got lost. A drive that normally might take an hour and a quarter took close to three hours.
Burnett would have had every reason to ask for another car to take him right back home. The event was winding down at that point anyway, although there still was a large crowd. A.J. got right into the swing of things by signing autographs and having his picture taken with fans.
One woman told me she was happy to meet him because she had arrived late and the other players, who were on site for more than two hours, had already gone. She said that A.J. had graciously agreed to sign several items for her grandchildren.
It was an impressive showing by a player who certainly understood the spirit of HOPE Week.