As the Yankees define it, HOPE stands for Helping Others Persevere and Excel. For the players, it also repesents their chance to give back this week.
Starting today, every player on the team will take part in at least one event away from the Stadium designed to recognize an individual, family or organization worthy of recognition and support. The team hopes their efforts will help raise awareness and funds.
Joe Girardi, Mariano Rivera, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera will be in Washington Heights this afternoon to recognize the work of Marco and Jennifer Chiappetta. In 2006, Marco started spending time in his local schoolyard, helping kids get involved in sports. Within a month, the Chiappettas were hosting children at their home. They eventually formed Patchwork Of Young Leaders Society.
The Yankees will distribute athletic equipment and food vouchers to the organization. The Chiappettas, some of the teenagers and a group of parents will take in the game tonight.
You can go to http://www.patchwork.bbnow.org for more information.
If you’re inspired to serve yourself, go to www.serve.gov.
You’ve probably noticed the Yankees being a lot more active in this sort of thing than they used to be. There has been more interaction with fans, more charitable appearances and now HOPE week.
George Steinbrenner wrote a lot of checks to a lot of worthy people and organizations over the years and that was great. But there is a lot to be said for ballplayers taking time to go shake somebody’s hand and provide the kind of support that comes from building relationships.
Kudos to media relations director Jason Zillo and his hard-working staff for organizing these events. It should be part of the standard player contract that every player from every team has to be active in the community and with fans. Many players are, some to extraordinary means. But many are not. This week, hopefully, will inspire all of the players to do some good beyond the ball field.