Adam Ottavino has made an early impression by mowing down all the hitters that he’s faced in spring training so far. The Brooklyn born Ottavino walks on the field with this quiet confidence that says “give me the ball.” One of the newest Yankee relievers has stirred this strong excitement with the fans at the park and I continue to hear many of them ask, “Is Ottavino throwing today.”
In one breath I see a guy that’s ready to come into a game like Sparky Lyle or Mariano Rivera and just put everyone away. Later that evening, I see a very nice gentleman that enjoys his time with a bunch of kids that live in some of the best and worst areas of New York and Connecticut. We all shared a wonderful dinner together and told some very cool stories. The kids felt like they were a part of the Yankees because of the way Ottavino treated them. Whether he realized it or not, he really helped lift their self esteem and made them feel good about themselves.
Being a major leaguer is a great honor, however being a Yankee is the highest honor that a big league player can achieve.
I remember Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar once telling Yankee owner George Steinbrenner that his only regret during his wonderful big league career was the fact that he never got to play for the Yankees. That being said, Ottavino is now a “Superman” to these kids and to kids all over the Yankee Universe. I’m really happy that I got to have dinner with Ottavino and all these kids because it showed me that the Yankees got themselves a terrific pitcher and a very fine young man while New York kids got themselves someone that they can really look up to.
Gleyber Torres has picked up where he left off this past Christmas.
During the holidays Torres arranged for hundreds of kids, that he didn’t even know, to get Christmas gifts. Today he was sharing himself and his heart with kids that need it the most. He spent his afternoon with kids from New York who usually would not have had an opportunity to meet their idols and get to sit with them and find out that they are regular people too. That was the message that Gleyber Torres gave to all of these wide eyed kids.
Gleyber’s message was very simple. Respect your parents, respect your family and coaches and do not be afraid to follow your dreams. Gleyber explained that to achieve goals in life you must be willing to sacrifice. He also told them that school and baseball go hand in hand. As much as you give the game of baseball you must also give to your education. He explained that he would not be where he is today without the love and support of his parents. Gleyber told the kids that his parents had to make a number of sacrifices for the success that he has achieved today.
Gleyber was very positive with the kids and showed them proper fielding techniques. Of course there were plenty of photos and autographs. As much as the kids loved this great opportunity, I think the parents loved it more because of the beautiful and positive message that Mr. Torres delivered. The best moment for me was when this little boy just kept staring at Gleyber. I asked him why he kept his eye on Torres and he said because I never thought I would ever meet a Yankee. “From the mouth of babes.”
Thank you Gleyber and the Yankees for always being there for the little guy.