Results tagged ‘ MLB Fan Cave ’
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.
Erika Rech, a sophomore at the Villanova University School of Business, is the Yankees’ winner of Major League Baseball’s Honorary Bat Girl program that recognizes baseball fans – one for each of the 30 clubs – who have been affected by breast cancer and show a commitment to the fight against the disease.
Erika will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday at Yankee Stadium as well as bring the lineup card to the plate prior to the 1:05 p.m. Mother’s Day pairing of the Yankees and Mariners.
Rech was 15 years old when her mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Six months later, her aunt was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. A second aunt was diagnosed soon after. Erika wanted to make a difference to women struggling with breast cancer and, with her cousin, started the charity Breast Intentions. (www.breastintentions.org).
Erika has worked the past four years to build her charity and raise money for women who are struggling financially while at the lowest point in their lives. Her charity has raised more than $500,000, which has all gone back to patients in need. She has expanded her charity to New York, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois and Connecticut.
In 2011, Rech paid the following for patients in need: 13 mortgage payments, 8 medication payments,11 co-pays, 21 electric bills, 14 gas bills, 2 sewer bills, 8 phone bills, 7 cable bills, 4 water bills, 18 rent payments, 1 maintenance fee, 5 car payments, 1 car repair bill, 2 garbage bills, 2 tax bills, 2 health insurance premiums, 2 car insurance premiums, 1 MRI, purchased a wheelchair, purchased groceries/gift cards for 12 patients, purchased gas cards for 16 patients, purchased holiday gifts for 2 families, purchased college text books for 1 family, purchased a microwave for 1 family, purchased flowers for 1 family, arranged for lawn mowing service for 1 patient and provided transportation from surgery for 1 patient.
Erika is one of the 30 winners who will take part in pre-game activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony and receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game. Winners were selected by a guest judging panel that includes MLB players and celebrities in addition to fan votes casted on HonoraryBatGirl.com.
The panel included Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton, whose mom is a breast cancer survivor; Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, whose aunt passed away from lung cancer; Angels infielder Howie Kendrick, whose best friend’s mom is a breast cancer survivor; and Giants pitcher Barry Zito, whose mother was affected by cancer. Also on the panel was MLB Network host Chris Rose, who has several close friends who have been affected by the disease; international soccer star Mia Hamm, supporter of the Honorary Girl Initiative with her husband, former player and current ESPN analyst Nomar Garciaparra, whose grandmother passed away from breast cancer; actor James Denton of Desperate Housewives, who lost his mother to breast cancer.
Nine-time Grammy award winner Bonnie Raitt, who lost her brother and close friends to cancer, recorded a special video at the MLB Fan Cave to lend support to the Honorary Bat Girl initiative and the ongoing fight to eradicate the disease.
Also on Mother’s Day, hundreds of MLB players will use pink bats by Louisville Slugger stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. To demonstrate further their support for the breast cancer cause, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative dugout lineup cards also will be pink.
The Honorary Bat Girl contest was introduced in 2009 to raise awareness and support for the annual Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative created by MLB in 2006 and celebrated each Mother’s Day. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother’s Day games that are authenticated by MLB will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit cancer research.