Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yankees give plenty of reasons to HOPE

In sports, there are plenty of reasons to be cynical. This is one of the rare weeks to be hopeful.

The New York Yankees kicked off the second annual HOPE week, a time when the Yankee players reach out to their most disadvantaged fans. Yesterday, many of the Yankees, most notably Mariano Rivera, attended a pool party for Jorge Grajales, a 13-year-old from Panama who survived a life-threatening condition by having his arms and legs amputated. Imagine the thrill of having the Yankees hang out at your house for a pool party and then going to a baseball game that night to throw out the first pitch, which looked pretty good to me.

But the Yankee players looked like they got just as big a thrill from visiting the youngster as he did in meeting them. Young Jorge cracked the players up on more than one occasion, recounting stories that reminded everyone he is just a normal teenager.

The players obviously love HOPE week, the brainchild of public relations director Jason Zillo, who deserves a lot of credit for carving out special time for the team to give back to those who are much less fortunate than they are. It's a real chance for the Yankees to connect with people they wouldn't normally come in contact with, a chance to receive as much hope and inspiration as they give.

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