HOPE Week continues this afternoon, and this time it’s the Yankees who are tagging along with a fan, not the other way around.
Joe Girardi, Joba Chamberlain, Chad Gaudin, David Robertson, Kerry Wood and former Yankee Tino Martinez have joined Morris Plains, N.J., resident Jane Lang, who is blind, for her trip to Yankee Stadium. Using the public transportation route Jane has followed hundreds of times, the Yankees will travel with Jane to the stadium where she will receive a private tour of Monument Park to feel the monuments for the first time. She will then go on a private tour of the Yankees Museum and feel the 2009 World Championship Trophy as well as one of Babe Ruth’s bats. Jane and her family and friends, as well as members from The Seeing Eye will then attend tonight night’s game. Jane will also be recognized with a special pregame ceremony.
From the Yankees, here’s Jane’s story:
Blind since birth, Jane Lang has been to hundreds of Yankees games. What makes her special is that she travels to the Stadium via public transportation on her own – walking to her local train station in Morris Plains, N.J., before taking two separate trains with her Seeing Eye dog, Clipper.
At age 5, her family enrolled her in the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., the same school that Helen Keller attended in the late 1800s. Though she learned as a young girl how to navigate around a city using a cane, she would eventually seek out the use of a Seeing Eye dog after a couple of key incidents left her stranded and helpless.
In June 1965, at age 22, Jane arrived at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, N.J., which is the oldest existing dog-guide school in the world. After four weeks, she finished training with her first dog, Sandy, and had met a new instructor at the school, Pete Lang, whom she wed just three months after their initial introduction.
After raising their three children, Sharon, Danny and Billy, along with owning and operating both a knitting business and a chair-caning enterprise, Jane decided to expand her life even further. In 2000, she and her guide dog Laramie learned how to navigate from their suburban Morris Plains, N.J., home to Yankee Stadium, solely using public transportation.
The trip begins with a walk to her local New Jersey Transit station, where they board the train for the 70-minute ride to Manhattan’s Penn Station. From there, they head up to the street and walk from Seventh Avenue to Sixth Avenue, where they descend underground again to catch the D train for the 30-minute ride to Yankee Stadium.
Prior to leaving the house, she places eight pieces of candy in one of her pockets. As the D train makes each of its stops along the way to Yankee Stadium, she moves one piece of candy to her opposite pocket. When there’s one candy left, it means the next stop is the Stadium. More than 250 solo trips to the Bronx later, the Yankees will join Jane in her trek to Yankee Stadium.